Repair or Replace? How Do You Decide?

Last Edited: September 3, 2018 | Published: December 15, 2015 by

Repair or Replace? How Do You Decide?

One of the great things about a desktop is how easy it is to customize and even repair if you do run into trouble.  Of course, this freedom brings with it its very own set of problems and decisions that will get you thinking.  If you have trouble with your desktop, you may be faced with a decision – do you repair it and turn it into a refurbished desktop or replace it.  Trying to decide when this is and is not a good idea can be a challenge, but you want to make sure that you choose correctly so you don’t spend more money than you should either on your old desktop or for a new one.

So how do you make this determination?  Let’s take a look at a few factors you should consider when faced with a potentially expensive repair that may, in fact, not be worth it.  While I can’t tell you a hard rule that will make it easy to decide, I can show you several factors that could make a difference.  In the end you have to decide for yourself, but my hope is that by examining these factors closely you can come to the best conclusion that fits your situation.

Type of Repair Needed

The first thing you need to look at is what type of repair you are dealing with.  Either troubleshoot the problem yourself or take it to a certified computer repair shop to find out what is going on with your machine.  In some cases, repairs end up being relatively small and easy to do, while others can be far more complicated.

For example, you could simply have a bad hard drive in your system.  Pop in a new hard drive and reload Windows and you are back up and running and ready to get back to work.  You may lose a few files but overall it is a pretty easy repair.  On the other hand, the processor in your machine could have failed.  This means that you will have to at least replace it and maybe even the motherboard as well if the processor you were using is no longer made or the processor damaged the motherboard in the process.  If this is the case, almost everything will have to be removed from your case just to replace these components.

Cost of the Repair

One of the biggest factors you need to look is the cost of the repair.  In most circumstances you will have to pay not only for the replacement parts, but also for the labor to repair the machine.  If you are doing it yourself this is no big deal, but if you don’t have that skill and must hire someone this can quickly drive up the cost of your repair.

Small repairs are normally very affordable while larger repairs that take some time to complete can get pretty expensive.  Not only are you looking at potentially high cost for parts, but also expensive labor bills as well.  Depending on how large they get, it could just make more sense from a financial point of view to begin shopping for a new desktop.

Can You Do It Yourself

If your repair is something that you believe you can easily do yourself, then it may make more sense to go ahead and repair it instead of replacing it.  Yes it will take your valuable time, but you won’t have to pay for someone else to look at.  This means that the only cost of the repair you will have is for the parts themselves, and that can make a repair look much more attractive than a replacement.

Just make sure you can actually do the repair yourself.  If you are unsure, I would recommend calling a professional, as you could end up making things much worse and costing yourself even more money if you don’t know what you are doing.  Remember, there is nothing wrong with calling for help when it comes to computers.  Not everyone is a computer expert, so it is nothing to be ashamed about.

Warranty or Out of Warranty

If your computer is relatively new, it may still be under warranty.  This means that often the repair can be done at no cost to you.  When this is the case, it is a pretty easy decision to make as a new system will cost you money out of your pocket.  You may have even chosen to purchase the extended warranty when you bought your system.  If you aren’t sure, you should definitely check before you pay anything out of pocket for those repairs.

Age of Your System

We all know that it doesn’t take long for a computer to be obsolete.  Of course, depending on your usage habits and what you do while you are on your computer you may get more out of your computer than others.  If you suffer from a major hardware failure such as a motherboard or processor and your system has some age on it, you may find it hard to get the right parts or you may find that those parts are pretty expensive since there aren’t too many of them left on the market.

You also have to look at whether or not it is worth fixing an old machine.  If your machine was already pretty ancient it may not be worth it to put any money in it.  The parts will not only be expensive but you have to look at how long you will get out of it before something else goes wrong as well.  In this sense, computers are much like old cars.  You can only put so much money into an old car before it makes more financial sense to buy a newer one.  The same goes for computers.  If a repair will only get you maybe a month out of it before it is either too obsolete to be effective or something else breaks down, it could be time to forget about that old machine and look for something new.

Type of System

When you are deciding to repair or replace your system, you have to pay careful attention to the type of system you own.  There are two main factors that you must consider here.

First, you need to look at what type of system you have, meaning do you have a basic business system or a complicated high end gaming system?  Basic systems are fairly cheap to replace making it very easy to just buy a new one instead of spending the money to repair it.  However, if you have a high end gaming system, these are often very expensive to replace making a repair to these systems much more attractive from a financial standpoint.

At the same time, you need to look at whether or not you are running a PC or a Mac.  Mac repairs are well known to be crazy expensive, much like the machines themselves.  That means that you could be facing a repair that is the same amount as a decent refurbished Mac on the market.  If that is the case, you may want to replace it.  If not, then you are stuck with the repair.  On the other hand, if you have a PC, these machines are often much more affordable and easy to replace so if you do have a major problem, your best bet is often just buying a new one.

Is It Time for An Upgrade

If you were already looking at upgrading your computer for whatever reason, be it your machine’s age or you are just wanting something new, and your machine goes down in need for repair, the time could have arrived to go ahead and get a new machine.  While I never recommend wasting your money, if you are already in the market for a new machine when yours gives up the ghost then there has never been a more perfect time to get a new one.

At the end of the day you will be much happier with a new machine.  So you should probably start shopping for the best choice so you buy the correct replacement and not some machine that won’t do what you need it to while you are using it.

Final Thoughts

Computer problems are just a part of life.  With all of the mechanical parts in these devices with electricity surging through it one day you will encounter an issue.  It is only a matter of time.  When that happens, you need to be able to decide whether or not it is worth fixing or if that time has come for an upgrade.  Knowing more about your system and the types of repairs needed is a great step in the right direction.

By comparing your system and current repair situation to the factors listed above, you should be able to easily discern whether or not it is worth fixing your desktop or if it is time to start shopping for a new one.  If you do shop for a new one, I recommend checking out our Buying Guides here to help you get a great head start.  If you do decide to go ahead with the repair, make sure you get good quality replacement parts and do not overpay on the labor.  If you do, you could end up spending way more than the repair should cost just to get it fixed.

In the end, it is up to you whether or not your buy a new machine or repair your old one.  Look closely at your situation before making your final decision and use this guide as a reference as necessary.  Our goal here is to help you with your desktop.  That means we can help you find a great desktop for a good price or we can offer you repair advice to keep your older desktop up and running for a just a little longer so you don’t have to invest in a brand new machine.  Whatever you decide, just make sure you are prepared to live with decision so you aren’t unhappy with the possible outcomes.

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