CHOICE membership

To repair or replace, that is the question



Counter experience, I recently asked Caroma ‘service’ what kind of grease is used in their soft close toilet seat hinges. Mine need a bit of TLC and it is a Very Simple mechanism, probably fixed up with a dab of ‘damping grease’ or whatever Caroma uses.

They refused to answer the question after multiple tries and gave me the part number to order new hinges ($60+).

After putting a few $1,000s Caroma’s way over a decade I am now putting Caroma products last on any list.


So did you buy the new hinges or wing it with the best looking grease you had to hand? For me I would have done it myself and if the grease I had didn’t work cleaned it out and tried one a bit stiffer/looser depending on how the failure went.

Veering slightly but still on topic for the thread, I had a problem with my fridge door. It doesn’t have a metal catch but a (magnetic?) seal, the handle operates a lever that prises the door open and breaks the seal. It started to malfunction with the lever not returning to the neutral position resulting in the door not closing unless you pushed it shut as the lever held it open. What to do?

  • Buy a new handle assembly (ouch $$) and instal it myself
  • Get a repairman out to the sticks (ouch $$$$)
  • Work out what was wrong first

I had a look at removing the handle assembly so I could see what was wrong and found it was slightly loose, so on a hunch instead I tightened the screws holding it into the cabinet. Problem solved, the slight misalignment was making the handle mechanism jam.

Was this just dumb luck? Not really as if tightening up did nothing I was no worse off and I could have then followed the opposite path to inspecting its innards for clues. Machines assembled with screws and or bolts are more repairable than those with rivets or push-fit or spring closures. The latter are called “jesus clips” for a good reason.


No user serviceable parts inside, one assumes …

I’d be thinking silicone damping grease would do the trick - probably similar stuff to what you recharge the fan hub on a landcruiser with, though that likely has a heat factor as well.

Bottom line, Caroma aren’t telling you because you can probably buy the grease from a number of places for a few bucks, or they can sell you new hinges for a (relative) fortune. Then theres liability - if the slow close fails who knows what you might slam in there !! :wink:



There are 2 user serviceable parts and two other parts. The hinges are essentially barrels with wiper inserts (2 custom parts). They don’t appear to be ‘wear items’ but if they did wear I admit it would be unreasonable to expect to buy them separately. In operation the wipers jam the grease under themselves which slows down its motion to soft close The 2 user serviceable parts are O-rings.:slight_smile:

The white opaque heavy grease could be almost anything and the most similar product operation I could think of is a damped camera lens, so I will order some lens damping grease from an ebay merchant.

PS. Some brands use oil not grease. Your alibaba link had quite a few toilet seat damper assemblies but none that look like matches to fit in my chrome surrounds, but thanks for that.


Or you could use bees wax. It works a treat for chain lube on my mountain bike - I’ve been using it for about 18 years now.


Wiper inserts? in your toilet seat? how advanced is this toilet seat of yours? I still rely on a roll of paper …


…about 40 years behind Toto :frowning:


Mine doesn’t even have a windscreen let alone wipers.


Looks like some momentum is growing for the repair movement:


but not here @BrendanMays :frowning:

Our Government seems to think that … You know, I don’t really know what they think about consumer rights. They certainly don’t actively support them like they support the rights of businesses, especially the big ones.


A major deterrent against repairs to my mind is the price of the replacement parts…unless the new laws make replacement cost effective most folk will just replace. The cheap white goods available today make this an attractive option, especially since however low the cost a warranty applies!


Perhaps there are other considerations?

For some items easily owner replaced, eg broken handles, knobs etc, there is every reason to expect they should be readily available at a low cost. To the owner direct.

For other items it may require specialist skills or knowledge to fault find and or repair.

The catch here is not only the cost of the parts. There is also the cost of the service labour! Worse, that typically for in home service repairs the repairer never never carries any replacement parts. Hence there are two house calls required.

The service labour and call out fee alone can add up to half the cost of a shinny all new replacement. One, the marketing promises is 100% better, and will also last a lifetime. Lifetime of the current marketing campaign perhaps?

Why, when you make the call,
say you have a brand XYZ product,
Provide the model no,
Provide the product serial no,
Describe the symptoms,

Can’t the service guy bring a kit of parts to suit, and do the job in one visit?
Having looked on line it is more alarming to find that for many everyday white goods there is only a short list of replacement parts available, hence solutions for repair! :shushing_face:

Something needs to change. The EU legislation may not be a solution on its own. Sorry, you cannot buy a new fridge as your old one is repairable! But the repair cost is more than a new fridge? Tough, them’s the new rules! :upside_down_face:

And for those of us with the skills to do some of the jobs ourselves, access to the source service manuals might help. It is worth pointing out Electrical Safety legislation in each state applies to any work or repairs on mains powered white goods, the same as for house wiring if anyone was wondering?


Yes, they can be expensive but …

They are usually expensive for two reasons, the replacement part is a genuine part made by the manufacturer and the part is sourced diectly from the manufacturer parts department.

If one buys non-genuine parts and also buys say from an online appliance parts specialist, then there can be considerable savings to be made.

If one buys boutique/less mainstream appliances, then likelihood of non-genuine parts at online providers diminishes, unless the part is generic across a number of brands.

Note. Doing one’s own repairs using non-genuine parts is likely to result in claims that the warrahty has been voided by the manufacturer/retailer. Products under warranty should always be repaired under the warranty by the manufaxturer/retailer to ensure there are no disputes.


Which makes a stronger argument in favour of longer statutory warranties for functional performance. That would reflect better the provisions of ACL that extend past the standard warranty period.

EG ten years for a fridge compressor and refrigeratant gas holding components?

Otherwise are we admitting how long an item lasts is just a lottery? Perhaps the manufacturers or importers could talk to Harvey Norman’s extended warranty provider and take out a product wide policy. It might do GH out of some profits? With a need to provide a built in premium, perhaps there would be less of the low quality rubbish in the market.

If you get 5 years warranty or even 7 yrs now on a car, why not a fridge?


We bought a new Dyson DC59 Animal Stick Vacuum from The Good Guys 4 years ago and the original battery failed 1 year ago so I bought a generic replacement on eBay which also recently failed.

It caused the motor to keep operating until I removed the battery, but as the motor is now also faulty, I have ordered a new main body from the UK and a new battery from Dyson Australia.

The genuine Dyson main body cost AUD $98.11 including shipping plus $9.81 GST (Thanks for nothing, Gerry Harvey). It should arrive this week.

My wife did not want to get another generic battery and wanted a genuine Dyson battery as she believed it had a 2-year warranty. The price including shipping was $85.00.

When I ordered it, I was told that Dyson do not provide any warranty for replacement batteries???

I dismantled the old main unit and the battery pack to see if anything could be repaired but gave it up as a lost cause.

However, I had expected the vacuum to be basically a motor and a battery pack, but much to my surprise, both the main body and the battery pack are bristling with electronic components as per the photo below.

We paid $510.00 for the DC59 plus an extra $85.00 for the optional cleaning head so we will hopefully have it as good as new for less than 40% of its original cost.


The PCB in the battery pack is what controls the charging of the Li-ion cells which are under that white plastic. There are a number of fix it yourself videos and sites on the web about these battery packs and they use Sanyo, Samsung, Panasonic or similar Li-ion batteries even in the genuine battery packs. The battery connections are easy to de solder and re solder in new ones at a much reduced cost than replacing with a new pack. It does require some effort eg buying the new battery cells, disassembly and reassembly so buying a new one just may be easier for about $40 more than repairing yourself. Getting some plastic spudgers to pry the case off is a very worthwhile effort as well to avoid breaking the locking lugs.

For one that shows the steps. It does go on to add bigger batteries but in your case just replacing like with like is easy:


Well done on the repair, can’t argue with those cost savings :wink:


My Siemens dishwasher needed a major part and the specialist serviceman said it could have been more than 20 choices, and he could not know until he took it apart and checked. Could have been self serving or dinkum, but he seemed dinkum, especially with the time he spent on the net with the Siemens databases and ordering system. It was obviously impractical if not impossible to keep them all in stock as a repair company, let alone carry them all in the truck.



This serves to illustrate part of the problem.

Should local service providers need to carry stock of an OEM suppliers spares? It would be an impost on any small business to expect them to do so at their expense.

The issue is the OEM spare parts supply chain, and indeed the whole approach and attitude to replacement parts. A plentiful supply of spare parts at reasonable cost may not be the best way to ensure future sales. The OEM should be the one required to hold suitable spare parts packages with their respective agents around the nation.

The alternative is we continue to accept the system as it is now. One that ensures two service call outs for most repairs and two time delays before the repair is complete. A delay waiting for the repair needs to be assessed, and a second for the parts/service agent to fit your job in.

My most recent experiences with F&P, Westinghouse and Panasonic spare parts have been successful. Yes, they have all come from centralised warehousing. The model and name plate serial no’s have proven adequate in each instance. Although with complex electronics such as controller boards, I have seen subtle changes evidenced by revision no’s. Some OEM’s may track and update their service reps with these changes more reliably than others.

For the service providers who are not official authorised, typically many smaller and regional operators, access to detailed service documentation can be difficult. Hopefully the ongoing debate about the right to repair will see that also change. It would go part way towards having confidence in which spare parts to take to a job?


To illustrate how poorly some companies operate, I have a KWC Ono tap circa 2011. The product was changed sometime afterwards, probably because the sprayer part was prone to problems, but without them changing the part number! The new sprayer looked like the original but instead of a trigger with 3 positions the replacement had only 2. We thought the replacement they drop shipped was broken but discovered it was not broken only when we described the problem to the importer service people who said it worked like their document described. We downloaded a new user document and saw that the instructions were revised from our original. Because the instruction document was numbered against the tap, the document number had not changed either!

The importer seemed unaware of the change until we pointed it out. No amount of supply chain or stocking can fix the over-employed who don’t even get the basics.