/ Sustainability

New right to repair rules: what do you think?

New rules to make household appliances more sustainable have been announced by the EU, but will they end up benefitting consumers?

As part of a continued effort to reduce Europe’s carbon footprint and to make energy bills cheaper for European consumers, new ‘right to repair’ rules have been announced.

From 2021, EU firms – and any UK firms wishing to sell to the EU market – will have to make products such as refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and televisions longer-lasting.

Under the new standards, manufacturers will have to supply spare parts for these household appliances for up to 10 years.

The manufacturers must ensure spare parts can be replaced with the use of commonly available tools, without permanent damage to the appliance.

But under the new rules, only professional repairers – not consumers – will be supported by manufacturers to carry out the repairs.

Should we all have the right to repair?

Are the repair rules good or bad?

There’s been a long-standing view that new products just don’t last as long as they used to, with built-in obsolescence a growing concern for many.

As a result, the call for white goods to last longer than a couple of years is one which will surely be welcome news to most consumers.

But what about those of us who want to save time and money by purchasing our own spare parts and mending our own goods?

The pace of change in the industry, which now includes many products which have intricately mixed and increasingly complex digital and physical components, means many owners are usually either unable to source the right parts or repair the machines themselves.

Replace vs repair

Finding a professional repairer to carry out the fix at a decent price is often difficult. This means many turn to a replacement rather than a repair.

And we all know getting a replacement after a short while is just as wasteful from an environmental standpoint as it is a waste of money.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that warranties and guarantees can sometimes be more generous than your statutory rights, and give you an extra option to resolve problems with a product.

Ultimately the move to improve the longevity of white goods could be positive, but the monopoly on who repairs is a concern – especially if it’s going to become impossible for consumers to perform what would have been simple fixes themselves.

With all that in mind, what do you make of the new rules? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Comments

This doesn’t change anything, the cost of repairs from a trader are so high that it will probably still be cheaper to replace than repair.

you’ve totally missed the point.

The law is to prevent companies from modeling themselves on cheap throw-away products, it’s purpose is to break our throw-away culture we’ve developed for the past 30-40 years.

As an inveterate d.i.y.er, I do replace washer drum bearings, fix car brakes and other failed parts such as heater fans etc, so the move towards “sealed for life” items is not always to be applauded. I’m particularly opposed to the ” professionals only”. This is a juicy plum for a manufacturers distributors and risks taking us back the the situation Which (and others) fought against in respect of car repairs a few years ago. There has to be a balance of power between makers and menders otherwise we’ll be exploited to the hilt. I also fear a concomitant rise in off market parts suppliers to fill the gaps, not all of whom adhere to acceptable product standards.
Surely manufacturers can make products at minimal cost whilst retaining repairability?

In order to make their business case for parts and labour, they will become so expensive after a period of time that a repair will not be affordable and so a replacement will be purchased. They should allow the public to fix, its cheaper some people , like myself like that challenge & it is out of warranty. Roll on 3D printers

Rodney says:
11 October 2019

The first question would be correct if the symbol denoted greater than 5.
Em’s point on car maintenance is moot. Like wavechange, espares and their videos have come to the rescue several times.
Making parts changeable with standard tools then insisting that only professional repairers can carry out repairs is fairly contradictory. Surely that should include the caviat “without invalidating the manufacturer’s warantee”. After all, we are allowed to change electrical installations, such as sockets. We can even rewire our houses provided the works are inspected. I realise that the main cause of household fires is electrical appliance, especially in the kitchen, but I would guess that the % of these attributable to self repair would be vanishingly small.
No mention of how 3D printing could allow manufacturers to produce trim, knobs and similar parts to order without needing to maintain large stocks – could even sub out to regional hubs, saving delivery miles.

John Mabbett says:
11 October 2019

As an ex-service engineer I feel I am more than capable of replacing failed household equipment and the cost of parts should be reasonable. When we have to pay tens of pounds for little plastic parts is questioning our intelligence. However I was in despair when I read in this months mag regarding new TV’s the passage that stated; “the remote’s mute button doesn’t work anymore and the speakers whine like the Coronation Street theme if you push the volume past 14. You need a new TV”. No Martin Pratt we need to be able to repair the TV not subject it to another land fill site. Come on ‘Which’ you are supposed to be environmentally friendly.

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Looks like we need more organisations like this one:-https://www.swindon-makerspace.org/ where we can all club together and make stuff, or make bits to fix stuff with.

I agree with all the previous comments and as a diy repair person have fixed washing machines, carburettors, replaced car braking systems, replaced wooden framed and double glazed windows……
A toaster broke recently and I cannot get into it to fix it without damaging the item so an otherwise perfectly good device is now scrap!
An additional consideration is items run by or augmented by software. The problem with this needs to be considered too – updates not available after 3 years for example. I have a £1500 digital audio interface/mixing desk which works perfectly and has for several years. I now cannot update the software to cater with a new computer yet need to update as I need a faster computer with more RAM but cannot as the mixing console will not work with it.
I think industry and government have to make this move to longer life, easily maintainable products and have stocks of manufacturer components and/or pattern spares readily available at little more than cost price.
Hope it happens soon!

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Yes and my problem is not unique as an ex-student and now co-composer had the same issues with a Midas console – he has after a lot of forum ‘digging’ and through another sound engineer found a sort of solution by going through a chain of adapters and some s/w jiggerypokery to get a mostly useable but intermittently unstable signal flow.
Though the problem is essentially caused by Apple and dumping i/o’s for various perfectly good interfaces in the name of ‘progress’ – only have to look at the state of the planet to see where progress has led us!
Parts of the A/V industry was pretty underwhelmed by some new developments especially where Mac’s are involved.
It is an interface problem. The consoles and computers as they evolve, simply stop ‘talking’ to each other – ergo perfectly good O/B’s and kit has to be replaced.
Looks like you have an interesting history.
Regards

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Ron, the software problems you mention are a consequence of using closed source proprietary software. In practice, it is much easier to guarantee long term support for open source software, because any will individual or group can take on such tasks if the original developers stop supporting the software.

I used to own a media player that used an embedded version of Linux and third party upgrades were available from an enthusiastic owners group.

Thanks for your comments. I do understand this. But as with many negatives and admittedly some benefits, it’s the manufacturers that create the excessive – in many cases – profits basically to please their shareholders. Considerations for open source software will always challenge this. So unless globally, governments get the balls to force changes, nothing will happen and people like me and others, not just sound designers/engineers will end up with thousands of pounds worth of very technical kit being redundant or unreliable. This also ties in to the destruction of the environment for the raw material extraction and the resultant dumped, obsolete produce – double whammy!

Bob Alexander says:
11 October 2019

Its typical of the big companies to continually increase their profits at the expense of consumers. Only appropriate legal regulations will force them to abandon their greedy motives.

Too damn right!
We have all been deluded by the prevailing dogma that we have to throw away our ‘toys’ when they stop working or look tacky.
We are groomed by the adverts of greedy manufacturers who see consumers as cash cows by making their products almost un-repairable so that we have to buy new when items fail to operate.

Standard connectors should be just that. I had my tablet stolen, I couldn’t find an exact replacement even 2nd hand so I replaced it with the new model. They’d switched to a different USB. This has upped the number of USB leads I now need to 6. This is not my idea of a standard. If they really have to install a smaller socket there then they should supply an adaptor that will fit a standard cable.

Meanwhile, upstairs I have a RiscPC and laser printer both purchased in 1990 and both still working. Unfortunately the monitor has given out and guess what, new monitors don’t have the same connections. Downstairs my inkjet printer gave up the ghost after just one print. I’d love to replace it with the laser printer but… You know what’s coming next, don’t you?

In 1998 I built myself a PC and ran it with Linux. It too still works (But unfortunately also worked via the defunct monitor), and I haven’t had to keep buying new Windows which require updated computers to run them. I should be happy about this, but no, because every time I upgrade the computer to keep up with the speed and complexity of the internet (Yes, and games…) I find that the CPU has grown another leg or two so I have to buy a new motherboard as well, which then requires an almost complete rebuild. Why can’t the motherboard already have the extra leg holes in them? Until a major improvement is made in chip technology the manufacturers know exactly how their incremental improvements are going to go, why not future proof the motherboard?

Incidentally, if you think I’m going a bit overboard on the standards issue, my sister, who is far more courageous than I am, oh all right she knows much more about this stuff than me, frequently dismantles ‘phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, whatever, to fix what she considers to be substandard construction or mismatched parts, or indeed just to keep something going because stuff that costs this much should last a whole lot longer than just over the two year guarantee period, and you should hear her banging on about the lack of standards.

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From what I’ve seen of typical recent inexpensive laptops, it is very hard to repair or upgrade them, because all the major components are now soldered onto the motherboard. So the skills for board level repairs will become more important in the future. On YouTube, it is great to see folk like Jessa Jones and Louis Rossmann showing off the possibilities for carrying out repairs at that level, even if some specialist equipment is required. I doubt that many homes will end up with the sort of soldering stations (etc.) that are needed. But, as Jessa and Louis show, it makes great sense for community businesses and other local organisations to operate with such kit.

More traditionally fabricated computers are still relatively easy to repair and upgrade. In Swindon, their local charity Scrapstore includes Project Reboot (see:-https://www.scrapstore.co.uk/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=45:reboot&Itemid=215) which overhauls and resells donated computers.

Ian Birch says:
12 October 2019

While I’d like appliances to be easily repairable, and by me rather than a ‘professional’, I also wonder what the effect will be on the initial cost of the applaince and safety of a personally repaired item.
Manufacturers who can no longer snap an appliance together but must use standard fixing will inevitably incur additional costs that will be passed on to the consumer.
And I’m not sure that I want certain repairs to my neighbour’s electrical equipment to be done by an odd-job man just because he’s cheap, and take the risk of burning both our houses down.

Perhaps the way forward is to require all manufacturers to dispose of their appliances instead of local councils (Dispose not by dumping in landfill, but by recovering and recycling the appliance components). Those who create highly reliable appliances will have low recycling costs. Those who make their appliances easily repairable likewise (and this probably makes them easily recyclable too).
The consumer will inevitably pay for this in the purchase price – but we pay for this anyway via rates/taxes.

This approach may well give us more reliable and more repairable appliances as well as encourage manufacturers to get us to hang on to our equipment for longer.

Modifying assembly methods to ease repairability will add extra cost but I believe it should not be substantial; the benefit of being able to economically extend the life of an appliance would, I suggest, outweigh the initial cost, let alone the benefit to the planet.

Safety might be an issue for those less competent or careless but so is lack of maintenance, careless use of an appliance, and there are other diy activities that are potentially hazardous, including car maintenance. I doubt that the “normal” home repairs to an appliance would be a fire hazard if done incorrectly.

Companies do exist who collect and refurbish discarded appliances and this may be good for major rebuilds. The products are not cheap. Good to be able to resurrect your own appliance where possible.

Ewen Cameron says:
12 October 2019

It’s not just about immediate cash costs. We haven’t paid for the damage our lifestyles do to the environment for at least 80 years. We have all been using an “environmental” credit card for decades and we haven’t even been paying the monthly interest – we have just let the REAL COST build up and seem happy to leave it to our children and grandchildren to pay that whopping bill. This discussion is about sustainability and we have all – probably Which included – in obsessing with getting immediate costs as low as possible without much thought for the massive bills we are all running up. Time everyone woke and realised that bill are starting to come in and they will be big – – and we have no one to blame but ourselves for being so selfish and short sighted. No wonder young people like Greta Thunberg as so angry with us.

Lewis Jones says:
12 October 2019

I have no interest in supporting the EU’s scientifically illiterate war on carbon.

Many moons ago I can remember my grandad my dad and my mum going out to buy spare parts for their kettles,washing machines even the old type of electric cookers where the rings were easily available. I have always been concerned by our throw away society and parts not easily available because manufacturers don’t make products repairable. My parents kept their electric goods as long as possible anything up to 10yrs because spares were available. As far as I’m concerned the worlds manufactures should be forced to make products repairable and the general public encouraged to consider repairing their white goods instead of being able to buy a washing machine for less than £200 when if we went down the longevity/reliable/spares availability route it would go a long way towards conserving our earth’s materials, spending less effort and energy in collecting goods and using energy to recycle everything. No white goods mountains and less dumping. I’m as guilty as anybody in buying a throwaway product, I buy a £4.99 kettle but have to throw it away because the on/off switch doesn’t last much longer than the 12 month warranty even though the element is in working order, if a switch was available I’d be happy to buy a switch. If the kettle was a little more in price but they made the switch available I’d still buy it and I wouldn’t need to throw away plastic body and a working element.

Anyone who repairs or maintains products will be with ‘warranty void if remove’ stickers and other ways that manufacturers use to provide evidence that someone has dismantled a product. These could become illegal in the US: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43724348

I have mixed views on this. On the one hand it’s not fair that a company should have to pay for repairing a product that has been damaged by the owner or other DIY repairer but on the other hand it is not fair to void a guarantee or warranty in all circumstances. For example, if a microwave oven has been dismantled to replace a light bulb there is no logical reason why the guarantee on the magnetron (the expensive component that generates microwaves) should become void.

The EU managed to remove the requirement that cars had to be serviced by dealers to preserve the guarantee or warranty.

I think while a manufacturer’s warranty is in existence they have a reasonable right to decide the terms on which it is valid. Signs that the product has been tampered with may mean damage has been done and the manufacturer should not be liable under those circumstances. It must be remembered that the consumer’s tights are still legally protected but, again, I suspect signs of tampering could invalidate those rights. There has to be fairness to the manufacturer / retailer as well as the consumer.

I’d suggest that servicing a car is not the same as repairing a problem, which if done by other than the manufacturer’s agent who deals with warranty matters could invalidate the guarantee.

I mentioned the need for fairness. I’m not opposed to manufacturers using some indicator that shows that a product has been opened but strongly opposed to automatic voiding of a guarantee or warranty.

I believe that intelligent solutions can be found. For example it has been common for years to seal components that have been calibrated in the factory – for example in cars and electronic products. If we are going to have new rights to repair, this will need to be addressed.

The EU legislation that allows independent garages to work on cars without invalidating the warranty applies to repairs as well as servicing.

The point I was making is that when a product is within the manufacturer’s warranty then you would sensibly make them responsible for any necessary repairs. So no need to tamper with any seals. After the warranty has expired, if you wish to make a CRA claim it would also be sensible not to tamper while the opportunity exists for the retailer to resolve the problem.

As far as motor vehicles, the EU Block Exemption Regulations are designed to support independent garages using approved parts (not only OEM) carrying out repairs and maintenance without affecting the manufacturers’ warranties. They also require manufacturers to make necessary information available to these garages, for a fair price. All good.

I can, however, find nothing in a quick look through the regulations that says repairs of “faults” under a manufacturer’s warranty – i.e. free of charge – can be carried out by anyone, certainly not without authorisation. As far as I am aware, a claim under a new car warranty needs to be made through a brand’s dealer (or maybe an authorised representative). They need to assess the fault and seek authorisation for a free repair.

A warranty repair may well require that any prior non-dealer servicing is supported by not only the garage suitability but details of any parts and materials used to ensure they are of an agreed standard.

Other than convenience I’m not sure why you would want a warranty-covered fault remedied by anyone other than through an approved dealer, as it is free.

However, maybe this can all be clarified by providing a link to the appropriate information.

I have been looking for new LED ceiling lights to replace existing fluorescent lights fitted flush to the ceiling. All except 1that I have found have none replaceable integrated light components, which means that if the electronics fail a complete new fitting is required, that to many people requires an electrician.
I have just found 1 batten strip light by V-TAC where the tube (4ft) is easily replaced for £5.99 from Toolstation. Further it comes ready to convert an old Fluorescent fitting to LED in seconds without electrical knowledge. Now that is what I call ‘sustainable’. No scrapping of the old fitting and easily repaired without technical knowledge!! If you are capable of changing a light bulb you can do this.

Thanks Philip, and here is a link: https://www.toolstation.com/v-tac-t8-nano-plastic-led-tube/p79555 (Other brands and retailers are available)

There is a possible problem and to quote from the helpful Toolstation website: “These LED tubes are suitable for magnetic switch start ballast fittings or LED fittings only NOT suitable for fittings with electronic ballasts which would require re-wiring by a qualified electrician. Please follow installation instructions” I wonder how many know if their fluorescent light fixtures have magnetic or electronic ballasts.

You can take off the cover and it should be clear which is electronic. If the fitting is heavy it will be the old-fashioned inductive ballast – wire wound on a steel core. While simply swapping the fluorescent tube for an LED equivalent is one way, I would personally replace the whole light.

One of the reviews states:
“You need to bypass the ballast
These tubes are sold as a straight swap for fluorescent, complete with a dummy (short circuit) starter. When you read the (tiny font) instructions though you find that the warranty is invalid unless you bypass the ballast.” I have seen similar instructions when LED tubes first appeared, years ago.

Philip mentions having flush-fitting fluorescent lights and it might be difficult to find LED fixtures that will fit in the space vacated by the old fixture. An LED conversion can also be useful in the event of a failed fluorescent ballast if spares are not readily available.

One thing I hate about a lot of today’s tech is the dreadful excuses for “components” on electronic circuit boards, the dreadful micro surface mounted stuff, a lot of which cannot be replaced using a traditional soldering iron and solder sucker or wick etc., or worked on using an ordinary multimeter, and there’s the dreadful multi-layered circuit boards which have several layers of copper tracks hidden away inside and if they get damaged the whole board, or even the whole appliance is usually a write off. So a lot of home repairs are just not practical these days as the older more sensibly made circuit boards and components just became too expensive to mass produce. And with some things like plasma TV’s for instance the scan drive chips are usually sealed so they can’t be changed as the tolerances have to be all closely matched so if one fails the whole board has to be changed and the old one dumped or recycled if at all possible. These days you need all manner of fancy expensive kit and the skill to use it confidently to replace such tiny parts and of course you must like spending hours staring down a strong microscope and of course you must have really good eyesight. That’s why I stopped doing electronic repairs once the micro surface mount stuff and multi-layered boards took over. It’s not really a diy job any more to fix circuit boards unless you’re a real glutton for punishment, you need the skill of a watchmaker to fix them these days. And service manuals or at least circuit diagrams, as well as various parts are not available for a lot of stuff unless you’re in the appropriate trade. And a lot of equipment also needs purpose made test gear which once again is often only available to those in the trade and then only if they’re an authorised service agent who’s been trained by the manufacturers. And some test gear must be recalibrated every so often by the national laboratories which is expensive. And the cost of such equipment and recalibration is often just not practical unless you do the servicing for a living.

Brian Collier says:
10 December 2020

Repairing and/or replacing is a personal choice depending on one’s abilities and inclinations towards DIY and purchasing power as much as anything else. Personal choice should be respected in law and in all things.

I welcome the new rules to force manufacturers to have to make spares available for 10 years but requiring repairs only to be carried out by professional companies should be extended to consumers. There is and has been enough information on the web to enable most repairs to be carried out on the likes of computers hard drives, motherboard replacements, washing machines etc. and with some research, most spares can be found. However with regard to washing machines as an example of restricting cheap repairs, these have always been relatively easy to repair over the last 30 years but are becoming more difficult for example; where manufacturers now have sealed drums (costing hundreds) whereas in the past it was usually possible to change a seal and bearing, costing £20-£30.

I thought I’d share this experience I’m having problems at the moment with an 18 year old bosch washing machine. I got given this machine when it was only 3 years old because it failed but it wasn’t the machine’s own fault. The previous owner had had some work done in their kitchen which produced a lot of highly abrasive grit and some of it found it’s way into the motor and destroyed the carbon brushes, so I dismantled the motor and cleaned out the carbon dust and fitted new brushes and that got the machine working fine the last 14 years plus. That was until recently when it started making a loud screeching noise when spinning and I thought “I know what that is, a bearing failed”. And it was, it was the one that usually fails on hard working motors, the one at the business end, where the belt runs on the pulley. And changing such a bearing is usually a doddle, at least if you have the right tools, like a small gear puller, which I have, but there’s a serious problem with this one, the pulley is in the way and has to be removed before you can get the bearing off the drive shaft and fit a new one, and I’ve a selection of bearings that will fit it but the pulley has been shrunk on so ridiculously tight that to remove it you’d have to heat it so much that you’d totally ruin the armature’s insulation and/or the windings so the motor would be a write off, and a new motor for this model is a staggering £220! And this infuriates me, this looks like blatant entrapment to me. There is a video on you tube where a bloke removed a pulley on another motor which was fitted in a similar manner, and I’ve tried it with mine but it just won’t even begin to move so I had to leave it as I don’t want to ruin the motor, but it’s no good without a new bearing! So why should we have to accept such outrageous entrapment and waste an otherwise perfectly good reusable motor? They can be recycled but where do you take them? Do they get recycled if you take them to the local council tip? And why should you have to waste a motor with years of life left in it, if only you could replace the bearing?! This is common practice with european washing machine manufacturers and it should be BANNED outright! Why should we have to fork out so much for a whole new motor all because of a stupidly fitted pulley?! And apparently you can get a second hand motor for about £40 so I’m told, if you know the right folk or just happen to live near a washing machine scrapyard like the one near me. But there’s another problem there too. It’s not so realistically possible to check a s/h motor’s bearings unless you strip it down, which of course you won’t be able to do before buying it, so there’s still entrapment all because of this ludicrously stupid method of fitting the pulleys. They should be fitted with a grub screw or a split pin etc. but certainly NOT shrunk on so ridiculously tight.

I suggest that you take the motor to a specialist company that refurbishes motors, or perhaps to somewhere that repairs car starter motors and alternators. Applying heat with a blowtorch might help you do the job yourself but there is the strong risk that you would wreck the armature. The pulley has to be a tight fit to withstand vibration and frequent changes of direction.

Best of luck with getting this sorted at a reasonable price.

If you can get hold of a replacement pulley would it be possible to cut or machine the old one off? Taking care not to damage any splines on the shaft of course.

Sorry if you’ve done this already but have you tried introducing some penetrating oil between pulley and shaft?

Interesting suggestions, Phil. Here’s a video where someone has used heat and a small puller to remove a pulley from a splined shaft: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWPnYeaWxz8

I think that will be the video I’ve already seen, it worked for him but it won’t work for me, I’d have to get it so hot it would only destroy it, it would melt the shaft insulation and the enamel on the windings and totally write it off. And I wonder if the bloke on the video was working on an armature that was ruined anyway and he just wanted the pulley. And as far as I know the pulleys are not available separately, the only bits that are available to my knowledge are the brushes, so it’s another motor or nothing, just blatant entrapment. There’s no need for it. Why couldn’t they do what hoover used to do with theirs that they made in Wales years ago before they were bought out, and just machine the belt grooves into the motor shaft, that made the bearings nice and easy to change without the need for any brutal heat. And I can of course cut off the pulley but first I’d have to find someone with a small machining workshop who does small jobs and see how much they would charge to make me a pulley, but I reckon that option would be far too expensive too, especially as it’s design would have to be modified so it could be fitted with a split pin or something else, but not the way it is. I think the government need to act on this as it means having to waste an otherwise perfectly good expensive motor and we’re supposed to be trying to save the planet now and trying to cut down on waste. I wonder what Which? would have to say on this issue in their campaigning? And luckily I do have a friend who has lots of other friends in all manner of trades including household appliances so perhaps he can find me another good second hand motor, I’m not paying out a staggering £220 for a new one, that’s if they’ve not been discontinued, plus whatever the delivery charge must be for something so heavy, no chance.

It might be worth asking a specialist as I suggested above. The last time I needed help it was done free of charge.

The reason for using a splined shaft and pulley (or a keyed shaft) is to ensure that the frequent reversal of rotation does not cause wear. I doubt that a split pin would last long.

I agree about the need to cut down waste.

At least a split pin is nice and easy to replace and they’re dead cheap and easily available in big quantities. I could buy a bag of them and have plenty of replacements. And a keyed shaft would be much better, that wouldn’t have to be heated up to an insane temperature, I’ve removed loads of keyed parts from all manner of shafts, both on motors and on things like alternators and dynamos on vehicles and motorbikes. Fitting a such a ridiculously tight shrunk on splined pulley is just insanity. Keyed pulleys are usually held on with a nut on a threaded end on the shaft so no need for any heat, just lots of wd40 and carefully applied force with basic tools. I don’t know of any motor servicing centres where I live, they might be able to pull the pulley off if they have a mechanised puller with several tons of force, just like the presses used in so many manufacturing jobs.

Fewer components so quicker to assemble and therefore cheaper.

Cheaper and ever cheaper has become a driving force in appliance design.

In August, a friend bought a brand new washing machine for £180.

Back in 1987, an equivalent entry level machine would have been about £80. I actually paid about £120 for the Zanussi that I’m still using today.

In February 1982 I paid £202.74 for a British made Philips washing machine which I used for 34 years, though I had to fit a new motor after about ten years and a pump a year later. The motor cost nearly £100 and the pump about £35. Then, as now, spares were expensive and had I paid for two service calls the repairs would have cost as much as a new machine.

The Philips machine (without repairs) would cost around £710 in today’s money, and the Zannussi £340, so comparable to the range of current machines. I remember when the “normal” price of a tv was around £75, equivalent to about £1700 today.

If you simply look at costs it did not make much sense for me to have replaced a motor that cost nearly half what the machine had cost, since other parts might start failing as happened with the pump. There was an incentive to buy a new machine a remove the uncertainty. Nothing has changed.

Perhaps if tax was removed from spare parts that could help keep repairers in business and possibly encourage more people to repair their own products.

My entry level Sharp microwave cost £165 in 1985 but still works today.

My Philips M511 microwave oven cost £118.95 in January 1988 and is still in daily use, though I replaced a broken plastic peg with metal after about 15 years. In 2020, some of the Which? ‘Best Buy’ microwaves cost less than £100.