How Long Does a Washing Machine Last?

Washing machines are essential appliances in most homes today. With frequent use over many years, it’s natural to wonder – how long does a washing machine last? The average lifespan of a washing machine is somewhere between 8 to 12 years. However, with proper maintenance and care, you can expect your washing machine to last for 15 to 20 years or beyond. Let’s explore the factors that determine washing machine longevity and tips to maximize their lifespan.

What Impacts the Lifespan of a Washing Machine?

Many variables affect how long a washing machine will last. The major factors include:

Type of Washing Machine

The type of washing machine plays a significant role in determining lifespan. Top-load and front-load washing machines have different lifespans.

On average, top-load washers last 10-14 years, while front-load washing machines last 8-12 years. Top-load washers are simpler machines with an agitator and direct drive motor. The lack of complex electronics contributes to their longer lifespan. Front-load washers have more electronics and moving parts that are prone to issues over time.

Of the two types, top-load washers generally have a longer average lifespan. However, high-end front-load washers made by reputable brands can also last 12-15 years with proper maintenance.

Brand and Model Quality

Higher-end washing machines made by reputable manufacturers like Speed Queen, Miele, and Whirlpool last longer than cheaper budget models. High-quality machines are designed for longevity, with sturdy parts, advanced diagnostics, and solid warranties.

Cheap washing machines from lesser-known brands may last only 4-6 years before requiring repairs. Sticking to established brands with proven track records results in a longer-lasting washing machine.

Usage Frequency and Care

Washing machines designed for home use are generally built to handle a few cycles per week. Washing machines in apartments or laundromats designed for frequent use have shorter average lifespans of 5-8 years.

Regular maintenance and proper care also impact how long your washer lasts. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations goes a long way in extending the machine’s lifespan.

Quality of Installation

Improper installation can shorten the lifespan of any washing machine. Things like inadequate ventilation, kinked hoses, improper drainage, and unbalanced loads put extra strain on the washer and lead to premature failure.

A professional installation ensures proper setup for maximum washing machine lifespan. DIY installs often compromise longevity if not done correctly.

How to Make Your Washing Machine Last Longer

You can maximize your washing machine’s lifespan by following these tips:

1. Buy a High-Quality Washer

Invest in a high-end washing machine from a leading brand like Speed Queen, Miele, or Whirlpool. The higher initial cost buys you better quality parts, advanced diagnostics, longer warranties, and ultimately, more years of reliable service.

2. Follow Care and Maintenance Guidelines

Read your owner’s manual and follow all usage, care, and maintenance instructions. This includes cleaning the drum, door seals, and drainage filters regularly. Also, use the recommended detergents and run cleaning cycles as directed.

3. Install Properly

Get your washing machine professionally installed, especially if it’s a front or top-load unit. Proper levelling, venting, drainage, and hookups prevent abnormal strain on components.

4. Clean and Inspect Hoses/Seals Regularly

Check all rubber hoses and water inlet seals annually for cracks or wear. Replace damaged hoses immediately to prevent leaks and water damage.

5. Use Manufacturer Recommended Detergents

Using too much or non-recommended detergents/additives puts strain on seals and hoses over time. Stick to the type and amount recommended for your machine.

6. Clean the Drum and Gaskets

Remove built-up residue, mold and mildew by scrubbing the drum and cleaning door seals/gaskets monthly. This prevents foul odors and deterioration.

7. Leave the Door Open to Dry Out

Leave the washer door open after cycles to allow the drum to dry out and prevent musty smells and mold buildup.

8. Spread Out Heavy Loads

Don’t overload the drum with large heavy items like blankets or rugs. The strain of unbalanced loads impacts moving parts. Spread heavy items out over multiple cycles.

9. Level the Washing Machine Properly

An unleveled washer vibrates excessively during spin cycles, damaging components over time. Use the adjustable feet to level front load washers properly.

10. Upgrade or Repair Instead of Replacing

Consider repairs or upgrades like new hoses, seals, valves and bearings before replacing the entire washer. DIY fixes can add years of life at a fraction of replacement cost.

How Long Do Washing Machine Parts Last?

While the average washing machine lifespan is 8-12 years, individual components and parts have varying lifespans:

  • Motor – 10-15 years
  • Drive Belts – 5-8 years
  • Pump – 8-12 years
  • Shock Absorbers – 8-10 years
  • Hoses – 5-7 years
  • Seals and Gaskets – 4-6 years
  • Control Board – 5-10 years
  • Agitator Dogs – 12-15 years

Replacing worn parts as needed extends the life of your washing machine considerably. Diagnose problems early and repair or replace specific components instead of the entire unit.

When Should You Replace Your Washing Machine?

While most washing machines last 8-12 years, there are some telltale signs indicating when replacement is likely needed:

  • Leaking water from multiple points
  • Foul smells coming from drum/seals
  • Abnormal loud noises during operation
  • Machine shakes violently during spin cycles
  • Electrical shorts and burning smell
  • Steady occurrence of error codes
  • Deterioration of drum/tub from rust or cracks
  • Difficulty starting wash cycles

If your reliable washer suddenly exhibits multiple issues that recur after repairs, it may be time to consider replacement. Compare the cost of repairs versus a new machine before deciding.

How Long Do Washing Machine Brands Last?

There is variation in lifespan among different washing machine brands:

  • Whirlpool – 10-12 years
  • LG – 7-10 years
  • Samsung – 7-9 years
  • GE – 8-11 years
  • Kenmore – 8-12 years
  • Maytag – 10-15 years
  • Speed Queen – 15-20+ years
  • Miele – 15-20+ years

Top brands like Speed Queen, Miele, and Maytag are known for their long-lasting washers with lifespans exceeding 15 years. Budget brands like LG, Samsung, and GE have shorter lifespans of 7-10 years. Still, investing in their higher-end models can get over 10 years of use.

Troubleshooting Problems to Extend Lifespan

Some common washing machine problems can be fixed easily to prolong lifespan:

Washing Machine Not Spinning

  • Check drive belt for damage
  • Ensure the load is balanced
  • Test Lid Switch by bypassing it
  • Replace faulty Lid Switch if needed

Washing Machine Leaking Water

  • Check fill hoses and couplers for cracks
  • Ensure drain hose is kink-free
  • Replace door/tub seals if worn out
  • Check water inlet valves for defects

Excessive Vibration and Noise

  • Level washing machine properly
  • Ensure wash tub sits firmly on suspension
  • Check shock absorbers and replace if broken
  • Tighten any loose mounting bolts/fasteners

Error Codes on Display

  • Check error code meaning per user manual
  • Rule out electrical issues like shorts
  • Verify proper water supply and drainage
  • Replace faulty sensors and other parts

Early diagnosis and repair of issues enhance washing machine lifespan at a minimal cost.

Maintaining Top-Load vs Front-Load Washers

Top-load washers require relatively simpler maintenance:

  • Regular cleaning of the agitator
  • Ensuring tight drive belts
  • Lubricating gears and pulley bearings
  • Replacing worn out parts like lid switch and water inlet valve
  • Checking suspension rods and dampening springs

Front-load washers need more extensive maintenance:

  • Regular cleaning of drum, door seal, and drainage
  • Checking door lock and latch functionality
  • Cleaning sensors and heating elements
  • Ensuring shocks absorb vibration properly
  • Replacing seals, pumps, control boards as needed
  • Checking for leaks around inlet valves and tub

Due to more complex mechanics, front-load washers need more diligent maintenance to maximize lifespan.

Cost Comparison of New vs Repair

Before replacing your aging washing machine, compare costs:

  • New mid-range washer – $500-$800
  • New high-end washer – $1000-$2000
  • Component repairs – $50-$250+
  • Professional service call – $80-$150

Repairing a major component like the motor or pump may cost $250+. But fixing multiple minor parts may cumulatively cost less than buying a new washer. Evaluate the repair costs vis-a-vis a replacement before deciding.

Is Repairing or Replacing Better?

Whether it’s better to repair or replace depends on:

  • Age of washer and lifespan remaining
  • Cost of replacement vs repair
  • Availability of parts and skilled technicians
  • Type and extent of issues
  • Your mechanical aptitude for DIY repairs
  • Warranty status of the washing machine

For older washers with limited lifespan left, replacing may be better than repeated repairs. With complex issues in newer washers, professional repairs under warranty make more sense. Also consider your willingness and ability to attempt DIY repairs before replacing.

Maximizing Lifespan of a New Washing Machine

To maximize lifespan of a new washing machine:

  • Choose a high-quality unit from a reputable brand
  • Opt for basic models with fewer electronics
  • Stick to usage guidelines diligently
  • Clean and sanitize regularly
  • Inspect components and hoses annually
  • Invest in repairs instead of replacing the unit
  • Try DIY fixes before calling a technician
  • Consider an extended warranty for parts coverage

With proper care and maintenance, you can keep a new washing machine running reliably for 15-20 years.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Washer

Here are clear signs indicating replacement is needed:

  • Leaking from multiple spots
  • Error codes flash constantly
  • Burning smell from electrical issues
  • Wash cycles fail to start
  • Rusting and corrosion on drum/tub
  • Loud grinding or rattling sounds
  • Excessive shaking and vibration
  • Deteriorating seals and door gasket

Once fundamental components start deteriorating, repairs provide only temporary fixes. Recurring failure of main parts like motor, pump or control board also signals replacement time.

Disposing of Your Old Washer

When disposing an old washing machine:

  • Remove the door so kids can’t get trapped inside
  • Disconnect all hoses and electrical connections
  • Drain out all residual water fully
  • Transfer control panel to prevent accidental operation
  • Recycle usable parts like drums and motors
  • Contact your city about responsible disposal options
  • Ensure no hazardous materials are disposed illegally

Proper disposal prevents avoidable waste and accidents. Recycle or donate usable parts if feasible.

Finding the Right Replacement Washer

When buying a replacement washing machine:

  • Measure space dimensions for proper fit
  • Match capacity to your household needs
  • Compare reliability of leading brands
  • Weigh features versus pricing
  • Read reviews of specific models
  • Determine ideal loading type – front or top
  • Check warranty period for parts coverage
  • Consider smart options like WiFi controls

Take time to find the right replacement that meets budget, space, features, and reliability needs for another decade or more of service.

Is a Used/Refurbished Washer Worth It?

The pros of buying a used washing machine:

  • Lower upfront cost
  • Often machines refurbished by retailers
  • May find lightly used models in good shape
  • Basic washers tend to have long lifespans

The cons to weigh:

  • No or limited warranty coverage
  • Unknown maintenance history
  • Higher risk of early part failures
  • Harder to find spare parts
  • Could require repairs sooner

Inspect used washers thoroughly and evaluate repair costs versus new unit pricing when considering this option.

Common Myths and FAQs

Myth: The longer the warranty, the longer the machine lasts

  • Reality: Most warranties cover 1-2 years. Longer warranties don’t always mean longer lifespan from the manufacturer side. Focus on brand reputation over warranty period.

Myth: Using harsh chemicals improves washing ability

  • Reality: Harsh cleaners and additives wear down seals, hoses and parts prematurely. Follow manufacturer detergent guidelines for maximum lifespan.

Myth: Hand washing clothes increases washing machine lifespan

  • Reality: Modern washing machines are designed for frequent use. Hand washing saves water but doesn’t extend the machine’s lifespan.

FAQ: Should I repair or replace my 8 year old washing machine with issues?

  • It depends on the repair costs versus replacement price. For expensive repairs exceeding 50% of replacement cost, buying a new washing machine may be better value in the long run.

FAQ: How much does washing machine repair cost on average?

  • For minor repairs like hose and valve replacements, expect $100-200 in parts plus labor. For major work like pump, motor or control board issues, repairs can cost $200-400+ in total.

FAQ: What are the best brands for longest lasting washing machines?

  • Top brands renowned for longevity include Speed Queen, Miele, Maytag, Whirlpool, and LG. Avoid low-cost brands with lifespan under 5 years.


The average washing machine lifespan is 8-12 years, but well-maintained units can provide 15+ years of reliable service. Investing in a high-quality washer and following good maintenance practices goes a long way in maximizing lifespan. Know when repairing aging washers is better than replacement, and make informed decisions when buying your next new machine. With proper care and precautions, your washing machine can be a cleaning workhorse in your home for over a decade.