When to Repair a Microwave and When to Replace It?

May 16, 2019
Microwave Repair

Microwaves are a fickle appliance when it comes to repairing. It is not so much that microwaves are difficult to repair as issues can range from relatively simple to somewhat complex just like any other appliance. However, what makes them such a capricious target of repair is the cost. Unlike a refrigerator or an oven that can cost several hundred dollars to replace even the most expensive microwaves rarely cost over a couple of hundred dollars.

Unlike other appliances that you want to keep working for a long time through making repairs, sometimes it might be more cost effective just to replace a microwave instead of spending money or time making a repair to keep it going for a few more years. So if your microwave is manifesting issues, here are some tips in helping you decide whether you should make the effort to repair your microwave or if you should just replace it.

Initial Considerations

Before moving into which issues merit repair or replacement, it is often best to keep in mind what sort of microwave you are working with.

Cheap Models

If you are still using the microwave that you bought years ago for your first apartment or your college dorm, it is probably best to look into replacing it. During these times, it is more than likely you picked your microwave, not for any great features, but because it was one of the cheaper models you could get. The cheaper the microwave, the shorter its expected lifespan will be. Furthermore, with cheap models, keeping them on life support through repair may end up costing you more than the microwave itself.

Home Installation Models

If you have a microwave installed above your range or in any other area of your home rather than just sitting on a counter, this makes your microwaves a better target for repair instead of replacement. Microwave models run a gamut of various sizes. This means your new microwave may not fit in the space that your old microwave sat.

As microwaves that are mounted in your home are typically not the cheapest models, there is merit to repairing them. It is also important to consider that many microwaves installed over your range function as both microwaves and exhaust fans for your stove, so their function is tied into the exhaust system as well and you may not be able to simply replace them with any model of the same size.

Common Microwave Problems: Repair or Replace?

While it is important to keep both the initial cost of your microwave and the size of the microwave in mind when it comes to whether to repair or replace, what sort of repair you need to make will need to be taken into consideration as well. Some repairs can be difficult and/or expensive while other repairs are quick and easy to make. You will want to use your best judgment when deciding whether you should take it on.

Door Latch Malfunction

If your microwave does not start at all, one of the first things you should consider is a door latch issue. All microwaves are designed so that if the door doesn’t latch, the microwave won’t run. It is for your safety but can be annoying. As the door latch is a semi-exterior part, this is something that can be easy to repair. You may need to disassemble some of the door to replace it, but it is relatively simple.

Magnetron or High Voltage Diode Fault

If you run your microwave only to discover that your food has not been heated, it is either an issue with the magnetron or the high voltage diode. The magnetron is responsible for heating your food while the high voltage diode provides it with power, if either is faulty, your food will not heat. Unfortunately, as you would expect with such crucial parts, these can be very difficult to repair. They are not only difficult to get to, but magnetron replacements can be somewhat pricey. It may be better to consider replacement in the case of this issue.

Touchpad and Control Board Issues

If the touchpad on your microwave is being temperamental, it could be an issue of the touchpad membrane itself being damaged or the control board behind it being faulty. If you troubleshoot and discover it is the membrane, this is very easy to repair. However, the control board is another matter. You are essentially replacing the brain of your microwave and the control board can be somewhat difficult to reach. It may be better to replace the microwave.

Cracked Glass

Cracked glass on the front of the microwave seems like a cause for replacement, but it is actually quite easy to repair. Considering you can make this repair by only removing and disassembling the door of your microwave, it is not especially difficult. No need to throw your microwave out for this issue.

Turntable Malfunction

Turntable issues are usually something that a homeowner can repair. Sometimes it can be as simple as realigning the rollers underneath the turntable to get it rolling again. However, for more serious turntable issues, it could be the case of a faulty drive motor. While a motor can be difficult to reach, making repairs to it generally aren’t that difficult.

Excessive Noise

The most problematic thing about microwave noise is that you have to diagnose what is wrong with it before you can make any decisions. Drive motors, roller guides, magnetrons, cooling fans, and high voltage diodes can all manifest noise in a microwave. Obviously, some of these issues are easier to repair, like fans or roller guides, while high voltage diodes or drive motors may merit replacement.

When it comes to noise, if you can’t concretely pin down what is causing it, but want to keep your microwave, it is best to call a professional so they can efficiently diagnose and repair the problem. It will save you a lot of time and possibly a lot of money spent on unnecessary replacement parts.


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