Washing machines: ‘They don’t make them like they used to’

Is there a Cliff or a Gordon out there for me? Linda Hayward's washing machine is still going strong

Is there a Cliff or a Gordon out there for me? Linda Hayward's washing machine is still going strong at 35 and her repair man reckons its worth fixing while he can get the parts as they don't make machines like they used to. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I should have known it. My washing machine, aged 22, is a mere baby compared to some out there.

After writing last week about my fears for the future as my machine, to which I am strangely attached, gets older and whether, when the worst happens, I should repair or replace, I was contacted by several readers.

Martin Newell felt my pain. His Hotpoint “died” at the grand old age of (almost) 32. He, like me, had grown very fond of his machine, bought second hand in 1999. His repairman, Cliff, nursed it through its final years but could do no more when the axle broke. Martin offered to put me in touch with Cliff to see if he could give my machine, which is very noisy on the spin cycle, more time. But as he lives in Colchester and I am in north Suffolk, I fear geography may put paid to that idea.

But where there’s life, there’s hope, as they say. And my machine is not dead yet. Linda Hayward’s tale offered me solace.

“I purchased my Phillips AWB090 in 1983 and it’s still going strong,” wrote Linda, who lives in Bury St Edmunds. “The programmes take longer these days but then so do mine and, like your machine, it is noisy when it goes into the spin cycle, but in the case of the old Philip we just shut a few doors. My repair man Gordon, still also going strong at 72, assures me while he can get spare parts all is well. His advice is to keep it going as they don’t make things to last these days.”

By my reckoning, that makes Linda’s machine 35, long past its use-by date, according to Mark Dowling, who worked on a project about repairability of washing machines for consumer organisation Which?

“An eight-year-old or older machine would be less energy efficient than a current model and is at the stage where parts start to fail - depending on how much use it’s had. So time for a new one,” he wrote. “Go for the best you can afford with the longest manufacturer’s guarantee. The longer the guarantee the more confidence the manufacturer has in their own products.”

Most Read

I’m sure Mark is right but my heart is with Martin and Linda. So, for now, I’m seeking a Gordon or a Cliff of my own, just a little closer to home.


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter