Frugal kitchen
Comments 14

Mend or replace a beloved appliance?

My food processor won't work without this tiny latching piece, broken off the lid

“Whoopee!” My twenty-four-year-old food processor broke. I get to pick a new, bigger one in stainless steel! Or maybe red. Definitely red. But hey, a tiny, critical, piece broke off the lid. The machine won’t work without that teensy wedge of plastic. That’s the only problem, except for a dull chopping blade and the yellowed plastic housing (once gleaming white). The most expensive part of the machine, its motor, is fine. Can I replace just the lid? Should I?

This little piece broke off the lid of my food processor; without it, the lid can't latch, and if the lid can't latch, the machine won't work

This little piece broke off the lid of my food processor; without it, the lid can’t latch, and if the lid can’t latch, the machine won’t work

After all, now’s my chance to get a brand new food processor. Bigger. Prettier. New. I love new. Still. Every day, one way or another, I work to reduce my footprint on the Earth, not just for me, but in hopes of preserving for my grandchildren and future generations a little of the good air, water and soil some of us on this planet are lucky enough still to enjoy. One of the ways I do that: Making my kitchen a little “greener.”

How irresponsible would it be to buy a new food processor just because I want one that’s a little bigger and prettier, when I can replace the lid with a few keystrokes? Cuisinart made it easy, by placing the lid’s model number right above the piece that broke off. Guess they knew this would happen eventually.

The old lid's model number is DLC-104

The old lid’s model number is DLC-104

Now the greenest, most responsible thing to do would be to order the part from a local appliance repair shop. But I use this food processor every day, sometimes several times a day. If I order online ($19), I can get it in just a few days instead of weeks. This time, I opt for getting it sooner. While I’m at it, I order a new chopping blade ($25). I’d say twenty-six years is a good long time for a chopping blade to last, wouldn’t you?

New lid's model number is a little different, DLC-104TX

New lid’s model number is a little different, DLC-104TX

The new lid’s model number is slightly different, but the company assures me it will fit. When it arrives, I find it does, though not as easily as the old one. I have to be careful, when I set the lid, that I get it just right. After a few uses, I make the slight adjustments with a flick of the wrist, hardly noticing I’m doing it.

Shiny new lid and chopper blade on not so shiny old bowl

Shiny new lid and chopper blade on not so shiny old bowl

Sure, I’d have liked a new, bigger, prettier (red) food processor with all the attachments. At $229 in the online catalog, it’s expensive, and I seldom need that large size, or all those extra goodies. This seven-cupper is the perfect size for the space I have. By replacing the old parts, I just saved our family $185, not including the tax. So many ways to spend that money!

What would you have done?

Would you take advantage of the opportunity to buy a new appliance? Or would you rather spend that money on something else? How does your sense of your ecological footprint weigh in matters like this?

14 Comments

  1. Easy on the Cook says

    Oh boy! Tough decision. I would have a really hard time not buying a new one! My food processor is a bit younger than yours. I think I’ve had it for 16 years. It’s showing no signs of slowing down but I dream about buying a fancy colored one (mine’s white). But like you I hate throwing things out and prefer to fix when I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The colored ones are so pretty, aren’t they? Did you see Leah’s comment below? When she couldn’t fix hers any longer, she bought a new one and found it to be disappointingly inferior to her old one.

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  2. I am old fashioned, I always repair rather than replace. First, the older models are often better built, second, it’s better for the environment if we don’t fill the landfills with stuff that still works, and third when it comes to appliance parts, http://replacementparts.com has almost every part for every small appliance, even many that are no longer manufactured. Besides tearing stuff down and putting them back together is fun especially when you finish and don’t have any parts left over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good points, all, Robert! Thanks for that tip on where to find replacement parts for almost any small appliance. That will come in handy many times over, I’m certain.

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  3. Lucky you, Grace, to find they still make the parts.
    I broke a small piece of plastic off the bottom of the small chopper; all the force of the chopping was held in place by that piece. And I had broken the handle off one of my favorite Mexican mugs. But I never throw anything away so kept the bits, and, eureka, I found a super glue that actually does work. Loctite liquid. The pointy black ridged lid keeps the glue liquid, which comes out in drops when needed.
    The chopper edge is a bit crackle-looking but holds well, and the mug even goes in the dishwasher. There is a small piece missing which I never found otherwise you wouldn’t know it had ever been broken. At first I was a bit apprehensive, but now I use both without thinking. Tried lots of super glues before, but Loctite has them all beat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the tip on a brand that holds, Barb. I looked it up and should be able to get some next time I have a problem like this one.

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  4. Well done, you! I did the same thing several years ago. I was quite happy when I was able to replace the lid.

    Then, a few years later, the shaft of the blade cracked. I went online again, but couldn’t replace it. I admit to feeling that bit of excitement at being able to justify buying the big new replacement. Guess what? I don’t like it. It’s too big for most applications and not nearly as powerful as the old work horse. I dearly wish I could have kept my ‘old faithful’ running. They just don’t build ’em like they used to!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leah, thank you so much for sharing your experience. That kind of reduced performance is one of the things I dread when it finally comes time to replace this machine.

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    • It might have been but my experience with various super glues has not been terribly successful with a part that is used multiple times a day as this one is. I am grateful to have found a replacement lid.

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  5. Sharon L. Grace says

    I really like the green message in this post, and how quickly and easily you were able to repair it. I especially like the dollar savings that you end on! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never had a food processor, and can’t imagine how you could use it at least once a day! I think you did really well to replace the broken part and buy a new chopping blade. It just shows how well things were made in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

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