How to Assess Curbside Appliances
Should They Stay or Should They Go?

Have you ever driven by an appliance at the end of someone’s driveway and wondered if it still worked? Or perhaps you are looking for an inexpensive range or refrigerator for a camp or cottage! If you are wondering how to assess whether to snag that curbside appliance or leave it, we’ve put together some tips for how to make that decision.

Electric Ranges

Smooth Top

If it’s a smooth top range, one of the first things to look at is the main top. Check for any signs of breakage or cracks, and if you find any, you will want to let that one go.

Coil Top

Verify that all the elements are there, and the drip holes are in reasonable shape. Check the controls on the back panel and make sure they are turning easily and aren’t broken off. If you do find that they aren’t working smoothly or are broken, you may want to pass on this one.

The Racks

Next, you will want to open the oven and verify that the racks are still in place and in usable condition.

The Elements

Do a visual check of the broil element at the top and the bake element at the bottom. Some models have a hidden bake element, which can be difficult to verify on the spot.

Range Racks - Assessing Roadside Appliances


The Shelving

Open the refrigerator and make sure the shelving is still in place. Do a quick check of all the bins and drawers and make sure they are in good condition.

The Gaskets

Do a quick inspection of the gaskets and make sure it is still intact, and free from mold and mildew.

Keep in mind that shelving, bins, and gaskets are all components that can easily be replaced at a reasonable cost.

The Machine Compartment

You will also want to check the machine compartment of the refrigerator, which is at the back of the refrigerator at the very bottom where the compressor is located. You will want to look for a line tap valve, which is a device used to test sealed system problems. If the line tap valve is still attached to the tubing, you should take a pass. A line tap valve is used by refrigeration technicians to diagnose and recharge a sealed system. Once a repair has been completed, the valve must be removed. If it has not been removed this is a good indication that the repair failed, and they just left it intact.

Refrigerator Line Tap Valve - Assessing Roadside Appliances

Front-Load Washer

Door Boot/Bellows

Open the door and check the door boot or bellow. Check that it is in good condition, but don’t get too hung up on them because they are easily replaceable.

Inner Basket

The inner basket is the most critical thing to look at. Reach in, give it a spin. If it turns freely, that’s a good sign. If there is a clunking sound or excess movement, take a pass!

Washer Door - Assessing Roadside Appliances

Top-Load Washer

There is not much that can be inspected visually for a top-load washer; however, most components are easily repairable and readily available.

The Lid

Check for signs of rust around the lid opening at the top and base of the machine.

The Inner Tub

Use your hand to move the inner tub around to ensure the suspension is not broken.

Washer Lid - Assessing Roadside Appliances

Gas Range

The Racks

Open the oven and verify that the racks are still in place and check the bottom of the oven for any signs of excessive rust.

The Controls and Grates

Make sure all the controls and grates are still in place and in good condition, keeping in mind these are components that can be replaced at a reasonable cost.

Gas Range Grates - Assessing Roadside Appliances



Make sure there aren’t any signs of excessive rust along the base or front of the unit, and if there is, you may want to pass. Also check the top and back of the dryer. If you see any signs of scorching due to high heat, also take a pass.


Open the dryer and make sure the drum turns freely. Also, check the back of the cavity to ensure there isn’t any excessive chipping on the back bulkhead or the drum itself.


Check to make sure the baffles are still intact and in good condition, keeping in mind that they can be replaced.

Dryer Interior - Assessing Roadside Appliances


Dishwashers are most often thrown out due to a kitchen renovation, and the dishwasher no longer fits. This gives you better odds that a curbside dishwasher is in good working condition.

Lower Access Panel

Make sure the lower access panel is still attached or inside the dishwasher.

The Racks

When inspecting the condition of the upper and lower racks, look for signs of excessive rust or corrosion on the tines. Although they are replaceable, they can be quite a little more on the expensive side, so that decision is up to you and your budget.

Dishwasher Racks - Assessing Roadside Appliances

Next time you are scoping out an appliance left out on the curb you will know exactly what to check for. Do a quick scan of the parts outlined above to determine if you just snagged a good deal, or you should keep on driving. If you do decide to pick up the appliance, don’t forget that we carry millions of OEM replacement parts to make it look brand new again. For more helpful appliance-related tips, check out our YouTube Channel. Happy curbside shopping!