Should You Repair or Replace Your Microwave?

Should You Repair or Replace Your Microwave?

Fix up the old, or swap for a new microwave?
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When deciding whether you should repair your broken microwave, or simply replace it, there are a few things to consider. Repairing your microwave can be a cost-effective solution, depending on the parts that need to be replaced, but the overall repair cost may be higher than simply replacing your microwave outright. We'll cover all of the possible questions about repairs you'd have, and help you make an informed decision if you decide to replace your microwave!

Old or Broken Microwave: Repair vs Replace

An age old debate; fix your broken or semi-working appliance, or make it easy and replace it? Let's break down the costs associated with each repair in terms of their difficulty, from easiest repairs which can be done quickly and require few tools, to most difficult, time consuming, and requiring the most resources:

Microwave Repair Cost Breakdown

If your microwave is broken and in need of a simple part swap or repair, we have the answers to help you make an informed decision about the cost of repair and the time it'll take to complete.

  1. Trays: $61.95 Average Cost and Low Level of Difficulty to Fix
  2. Filter: $36.24 Average Cost and Low Level of Difficulty to Fix
  3. Diode: $33.19 Average Cost and Medium Level Difficulty to Fix
  4. Fans: $44.90 Average Cost and Medium Level of Difficulty to Fix
  5. Fuses: $22.40 Average Cost and Medium Difficulty to Fix
  6. Door Switches: $41.77 Average Cost and Medium Difficulty to Fix
  7. Touch Pads: $192.79 Average Cost and High Difficulty to Fix
  8. Magnetron: $188.21 Average Cost and High Level of Difficulty to Fix

*Average part cost across PartSelect's OEM inventory of each part type.

Frequently Asked Microwave Questions

Whether simply about microwaves, or more specifically about repairs, longevity, and tips for your microwave - these are the questions that are most asked about microwaves!

Are Microwaves Worth Repairing?

Depending on the severity of the damage to it and the cost-effectiveness of its repair, fixing a microwave is very much worth it. However, if you still have an unclaimed warranty or RMA for your microwave and you're well within the time period to claim it, you absolutely can!

What is the Average Life of a Microwave?

The average lifespan of any appliance will always depend on its usage, but you can generally expect a healthy 10 years from your microwave, if not more. It all depends on how often you use your microwave, how often you clean it and take care of it, and whether it experiences any manufacturer defects. If you have several people a day using your microwave, you can likely expect less long of a lifespan around 4-5 years instead.

What are the Reasons a Microwave Stops Working?

Microwaves can stop working for a several reasons, and sometimes even stop working just out of sheer defects. However, this is a list of parts that, when they fail or short, will cause the following issues in your microwave:

  • Tray: Cracked or broken surface will cause an unstable laying surface.
  • Filter: Clogged filter will cause microwave to work less efficiently and appear dirtier.
  • Diode: Little or no heat produced (indicated by the lack of humming).
  • Fans: Caused by a clogged grease filter, will result in microwave components overheating.
  • Fuse: Microwave will only turn on for a short period of time, before shutting down completely.
  • Door Switch: Microwave won't turn on or start.
  • Touch Pad: Doesn't respond to any inputs.
  • Magnetron: No heat and shuts down consistently (may not power up at all).
  • How to Repair a Microwave

    If you're going to attempt a repair on your microwave, ensure you're using proper safety equipment like protective glasses, and electrical insulated rubber gloves.

    How to Repair a Microwave Tray

    If your microwave's tray is broken or needs replacement, it can simply be removed and disposed of, and replaced with a new OEM tray from PartSelect. If your tray was made of glass, ensure any and all pieces of glass inside the microwave are cleaned out.

    How to Repair a Microwave Filter

    A clogged microwave filter can cause more issues than most people realize, most importantly, problems surrounding the efficiency of the microwave itself, and grease buildup inside of it. If you still need a new OEM filter for your microwave, you find one on PartSelect. And here is a general guide on how you can replace yours today:

    1. Disconnect your microwave from its power outlet.
    2. Locate the filter on the microwave itself. This may be on the front, the side, or even the rear of the appliance.
    3. Unthread and remove the screws on the outside of the microwave to allow access for the microwave's internal components.
    4. Remove any covers or panels.
    5. Disconnect and remove the filter from the microwave, and install the new filter.
    6. Install the covers and panels again, if necessary.
    7. Thread the screws back to the outside of the microwave to secure it together.
    8. Connect your microwave back to power.

    How to Repair a Microwave Diode

    Microwave diodes will typically short after a long period of time and use, or if there is an electrical spike or manufacturer's defect with it, which typically results in a loss of heat being produced and food remaining cold after cooking. However, you can a new OEM microwave diode on PartSelect, and the guide to replace it below.

    1. Disconnect your microwave from the power outlet.
    2. Unthread any securing screws to the internals on the outside of the microwave.
    3. Remove any covers or panels near the control panel, and remove any mounting screws.
    4. Lift the control panel touch pad and pull it carefully away from the microwave.
    5. Unthread any screws securing the access panel to the diode.
    6. Remove the access panel.
    7. Dissipate any electrons left in the capacitor with a screwdriver by touching a screwdriver with an insulated handle across the terminals.Note: Do not touch the screwdriver blade.
    8. Locate the diode, and unthread its securing screw(s) and/or bracket.
    9. Use needle-nose pliers to remove the old diode from the capacitor.
    10. Install the new diode to the terminal on the capacitor and secure it.
    11. Replace the inner access panel and secure it.
    12. Install the control panel by lining up its slots and pushing it in carefully.
    13. Rethread the control panel mounting screws and any other screws on the outside of the microwave.
    14. Connect your microwave to the power outlet, and test it.

    How to Repair a Microwave Fan

    The cooling fan of any appliance is always going to have a lot of work to do, which is why it's important to replace yours if it's gone bad or shorted, which can lead to overheating and the microwave shutting down abruptly when in use. Fortunately, we have a wide range of OEM microwave fan assemblies at PartSelect, and a general step-by-step guide below to show you how to replace it.

    1. Disconnect your microwave from its power outlet.
    2. Unthread and remove the screws on the outside of your microwave.
    3. Remove the cover panel of the microwave itself.
    4. Release any potentially stored electrons with a set of rubber insulated needle-nose pliers, by touching each terminal.
    5. Remove the air inlet guide of the fan assembly with a Philips-head screwdriver.
    6. Once the air inlet guide is removed, remove the fan blade itself off of the motor shaft. Replace or clean this if necessary.
    7. Detach the fan motor power wires.
    8. Unthread and remove any non-fan related components secured to the fan assembly.
    9. Detach the fan housing and remove it.
    10. Unscrew the fan motor and replace it with the new one.
    11. Install the fan housing with the new motor to the microwave by securing it with its screws.
    12. Reinstall all other components to the fan assembly.
    13. Connect the power wires to the fan motor.
    14. Replace the fan blade to the motor shaft.
    15. Install the air inlet guide.
    16. Reinstall the cover panel to the microwave and secure it with screws.
    17. Connect your microwave to the power outlet and test it.

    How to Repair a Microwave Fuse

    A microwave's fuse is in charge of keeping the appliance operating under safe conditions at all times, so if you've accidentally overloaded the outlet or it's short circuited, your microwave likely won't start anymore. Good thing we have many different OEM microwave fuses, to fit any model you may have, and a general repair guide to show you how to replace it.

    1. Remove your microwave from its power outlet.
    2. Unthread and remove the screws on the outside of the microwave near the control panel.
    3. Lift the control panel and carefully pull it away from the microwave.
    4. Note the way the wires are installed for future reference, and disconnect them.
    5. Locate the access panel of your microwave.
    6. Locate the fuse and carefully pry it out of place. Note: This may require a flat-head or Philips head screwdriver.
    7. Install the new fuse.
    8. Reinstall the control panel and its wires harnesses.
    9. Thread any screws that were previously removed from the microwave.
    10. Connect your microwave to its power outlet, and test it.

    How to Repair a Microwave Door Switch

    Microwave door switches can fail for a multitude of reasons, and will usually cause your microwave to stop working entirely. Which is why they're usually inexpensive, and a new OEM switch is easy to find over at PartSelect. And just for you, a general how-to guide assisting you each step of the way.

    1. Unplug your microwave from its power outlet.
    2. Open the door and disconnect any screws on the top or near the control panel.
    3. Unthread and remove any screws securing the touchpad, and carefully lift it out of its slot.
    4. Take note of the wires installation, and disconnect them.
    5. Take note of the wires connected to the door switch(es), and disconnect them.
    6. Unthread and remove the switch/switch holder.
    7. If you have a door switch holder, use a screwdriver to depress and release the door switch.
    8. Snap the new door switch(es) into place.
    9. Secure the switch/switch holder with the appropriate mounting screw(s).
    10. Connect the wires to the appropriate terminals on the switch(es).
    11. Reinstall the control panel, by slotting it appropriately and connecting its wires.
    12. Rethread the screws around the microwave.
    13. Connect your microwave to power and test it.

    How to Repair a Microwave Touch Pad

    If your microwave's touch panel stops responding to most, if not all inputs, it needs to be replaced immediately. To find a new OEM microwave touch pad and control board, hop on over to PartSelect! And to replace your microwave's touch pad today, we have the following general repair guide to assist you.

    1. Disconnect your microwave from its power outlet
    2. Unthread and remove any and all screws around the touch pad.
    3. Disconnect any mounting screws attached to it, and carefully lift it out of its slot.
    4. Note the wiring installation, then disconnect each wire.
    5. Remove the touch pad assembly.
    6. Within the touch pad assembly, unscrew any securing screws, and uninstall any other wires or cables.
    7. Lift out the existing control panel board, and install it into the new touchpad housing.
    8. Take the new assembly and install it to the microwave, ensuring each wire is connected appropriately.
    9. Reinstall any mounting screws within the microwave.
    10. Ensure the microwave is fully reinstalled together, before reconnecting the microwave to its power outlet to test.

    How to Repair a Microwave Magnetron

    If your microwave is consistently shutting down and/or has no heat at all, it's likely that the magnetron has shorted or gone bad, whether from normal wear and tear or aging, to overheating and/or voltage spikes. But it just so happens that we have a wide range of OEM microwave magnetrons for any model you may have, and the following repair guide to assist you in your repair journey.

    1. Disconnect your microwave from its power outlet.
    2. Locate the magnetron in your microwave. This may require referencing a user manual, or simply removing the outer covers until you find an internal component that looks like a grapefruit-sized gray metal box.
    3. Remove all screws around the microwave cabinet.
    4. Disconnect and remove the cabinet itself.
    5. Release any potentially stored electrons from the capacitor using a rubber-insulated set of needle-nose pliers by touching each terminal simultaneously. Note: Do not touch any metal parts of it.
    6. Disconnect the wire connector on the magnetron.
    7. Unthread the magnetron mounting screws.
    8. Detach the magnetron itself, and remove any wires from thermal fuses.
    9. Unthread and remove any fuses from the magnetron, and install them to the new one.
    10. Install the wire connectors to the fuse(s), and thread the new magnetron in place.
    11. Connect the wire to the new magnetron.
    12. Reinstall the microwave's cabinet.
    13. Fully reinstall all screws back into the microwave.
    14. If any filters or other components were removed, reinstall them.
    15. Reconnect your microwave to its power outlet and test it.

    Should You Replace Your Microwave?

    If you've decided that a repair is too costly and/or time consuming, or if you're just looking to reinvigorate your kitchen with a new and working microwave, we've got the answers to your most frequently asked questions about the microwave purchasing journey!

    What's the Best Microwave?

    The best microwave is the one that works well and suits your needs, from typical countertop microwaves, to over-the-range and convection. Each has its own pros and cons that we've listed below for your convenience:

    • Countertop: Pros; affordable, easy to access and move. Cons; Less powerful than other alternatives and occupies counter space.
    • Over-the-Range: Pros; Frees up counter space, usually located around stovetop, and has vents for smoke and odors. Cons; Installation can be difficult, and there's typically less headroom below it.
    • Convection: Pros; More even cooking and browning, with more variety in cooking options (i.e. baking, roasting, etc.). Cons; Usually more expensive.
    • Smart Models: Pros; Integrated capabilities like remote control, voice commands and app control. Cons; Usually more expensive, and will exceed most people's personal uses.

    How to Recycle an Old Microwave

    If you've replaced your old microwave and you're now looking around at suitable places to dispose of your old and/or broken model, an electronics recycling plant is what you're looking for. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) says, "Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.", so simply throwing your used or broken appliance(s) in the garbage is not environmentally responsible.

    Which is Better? Microwave or Air Fryer?

    Air fryers are quickly becoming one of the most popular appliances in everyone's kitchens, but is it more or less usable than a microwave, and why would you want an air fryer versus a microwave, and vice-versa?

    Why You Want an Air Fryer

    Air fryers, just like microwaves, are renowned for their high level of convenience and efficiency, while also remaining somewhat compact and very affordable.

    Pros:

  • Makes things crispy and golden brown.
  • Healthier than deep frying with oil.
  • Quickly cooks food, and doesn't typically require any preheating.
  • Cons:

  • Smaller capacity basket(s) means limited cooking sizes, not ideal for larger meals or when serving more people.
  • Can be more expensive than microwaves.
  • Not two air fryer models cook the same, meaning some experimentation may be necessary to achieve desirable results.
  • Typically more expensive than a microwave in up-front cost(s).
  • Why You Want a Microwave

    If you've got an oven already, and you're looking for one appliance only with the cost and space-saving ideals in mind, a microwave is going to likely be what you want to purchase.

    Pros:

  • Quickly heats leftovers and frozen food.
  • Uses less energy than other cooking methods.
  • Generally smaller than an air fryer.
  • Cheaper than air fryers on average.
  • Cons:

  • May cook unevenly, leading to hot spots and dry food.
  • Instead of crispy, golden textures like an air fryer, this instead makes things soggier.
  • Typically more expensive and difficult to repair.
  • With all of the knowledge you now have from repairing or replacing your microwave, hopefully you're reading this with a fully working microwave, or air fryer perhaps. For all of our content, like home improvement guides and other appliance-related how-to guides, make sure to check out our blog center! And for any and all parts for the tools inside and outside of your home, PartSelect has you covered!

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    Content Team
    WRITTEN BY
    CONTENT TEAM
    The PartSelect Content Team has a passion for DIY and we pride ourselves on being a resource for quality, expert content to help you accomplish any DIY project. Alongside our expert repair technicians, our team of experienced technical writers works to provide safe and reliable information on all tasks and jobs around your home. We spend time learning about the problems and projects that our customers are working on, and we make it our job to answer key questions and provide resources for every step along the way. Repairs and DIY projects are what we do, and the PartSelect Content Team wants to help you do them, too.
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    PUBLISHED ON January 03, 2024
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