For some time now, all sorts of manufacturers have been conducting a secret dirty war against repairing anything. This is also aided by a jaded public who seems to be averse to even reading owners manuals, let alone try to fix something.
I just took apart our ailing Staples paper shredder. To it’s credit, this thing was built tough. No plastic parts in there. Also, no parts you can afford either. The rollers and plates and bearings that failed add up to more than the cost of a new one, so off to the landfill with the rest of it. It’s a shame too, as there is a certain joy or satisfaction gained from repairing something. Personally (much to the chagrin of my wife) I don’t let anything go till it’s reached it’s absolute bitter end. (She absolutely refused to drive that escort any longer, a shame really, it was a pretty good little car!)
The same thing is happening to cars too. Sure you can replace brake parts, rebuild engines and such, but after a car gets to be 10 years old, the manufacturers want to drop it like a hot rock. They also piddle around making parts available for them so that you are forced to look elsewhere it you want to keep it going. And where you really get into trouble is the cost of the failed subassemblies. Take your air conditioner in your car for example. The big failure rate includes compressors and evaporator assemblies. These things can be hugely expensive, and in the case of evaporators, aren’t built very well to start with. (You won’t get the manufacturers to admit it though.) Also, try and even buy a part for your home HVAC system, you won’t get many places to even sell you the parts.
But maybe this refrigerator mentality isn’t so bad. After all, it is spawning a huge recycling industry. On the other hand, the landfills around here are starting to look like little mountains. On a positive note, I fixed my toilet the other day, the handle wore out, and a replacement was actually available. Of course, the replacement was made out of plastic, and won’t last as long as the brass one I took out, but you take your victory’s when you can.