Bite the Wax Motor!

A few years ago, we bought a Maytag Neptune washer because it was a front-loader and probably more water- and energy-efficient than a conventional washer. We had also heard that it did a good job of washing clothes. And, of course, Maytag had quite a good reputation for dependability.

Well, we were right on some counts.

  • The washer is a front-loader.
  • It does seem to be water- and energy-efficient.
  • Clothes come out reasonably clean (we have a teenage son, so our expectations here are moderate :-))

Dependability, on the other hand….

Early on, we had mold and mildew problems. A friend told us about the secret recall, and so we got the PHA Kit for free.

This week, suddenly the washer wouldn’t spin. I called Maytag’s “Priority One” service line, who referred me to the local Maytag dealer (once your warranty expires, you are no longer Priority One with Maytag). Today, the service guy came out to deal with the problem.

There’s a $25 “wax motor” on the washer which operates the door lock. It died, so the door wouldn’t lock, and the safety features on the washer wouldn’t let it go into the spin cycle. These things happen, and if that was all that had happened, I wouldn’t be too unhappy.

Unfortunately, when the motor died, it caused a resistor on the $190 control board to burn up (bad design — haven’t they ever heard of a fuse?). And the board can’t be serviced (at least not by a factory-authorized servicer); instead, it has to be replaced.

And of course, there’s labor, travel time, and tax.

So in the end, I’m out nearly $350 on a four-and-a-half-year-old washing machine. I decided it was worth it — this time.

The servicer left me the old control board, and I may just follow the instructions on this page to repair it so I’ll be ready in the event of a rerun.

I even have my choice of class-action lawsuits to join:

And there are probably others. But I really wouldn’t want to wind up with a coupon good for a discount on a new Maytag, unless it’s a 100% discount. With an extended warranty.