Don`t Buy Used Refrigerators in Orange County (until you read this post)

Man is crashing the Kenmore fridge

Used refrigerators might seem like a good choice given their discounted price. However, controversially, buying used appliances, especially refrigerators, may result in wasting more money than you think. Here is one recent example from our appliance repair service in Orange County.

An Aliso Viejo resident bought a used Kenmore Elite refrigerator for $800. Then, after 60 days of the purchase, he called us for refrigerator repair because the unit stopped working. When our tech arrived, he found the unit running but not cooling at all. The very first disturbing sign was that the model number sticker was removed from the inside of the fridge. On these refrigerators, the sticker is supposed to be either on the right or left internal panel, but on this refrigerator, the panel was completely blank.

Kenmore Elite refrigerator in the kitchen

Why would somebody remove the appliance model number sticker?

The most common reason is when the appliances get salvaged by the manufacturer or reseller. Let’s say you bought a fridge and it broke during the warranty period. You call for service, and the service (usually after several repair attempts) says that the refrigerator is not repairable due to a major issue. You get refunded, or the seller supplies you with a new fridge. In any case, the old fridge remains with the buyer because it gets a salvaged title, and nobody is interested in it anymore. Well, almost nobody. Some shady companies get these fridges, try to repair them, and then resell them again. They remove the model number sticker so the consumer cannot trace the history of the unit and never know that it was salvaged.

Compressor swap

So that was the first bad sign, and it shows up in full. When the tech removes the cover of the technical compartment of the fridge, he sees not the original but the replaced compressor. Moreover, the compressor is not the right type. As we discussed already, Kenmore appliances are made by a variety of manufacturers, and the consumer doesn’t know for sure what he buys. This particular Kenmore was made by LG, and it should be supplied with the LG inverter linear compressor. These compressors have a very high failure rate, and that’s why the manufacturer covers them with a 10-year warranty, and that’s why we replace LG compressors in Orange County pretty often. But on this used $800 cost Kenmore refrigerator, the compressor was swapped for a conventional Embraco compressor. It’s not possible to install a conventional compressor just as it is because the electronics are designed to work with linear compressors that have variable speeds, while a regular compressor has just two modes – it’s either on or off. To suit the different compressors, so-called “repairmen” also messed with electronics.

Embraco compressor

Can we repair this Kenmore Elite refrigerator?

And, as we already mentioned, the refrigerator died after 60 days of purchase. The customer was very upset. He asked us if we could fix it properly. The answer is yes, but given the parts involved (compressor, main control board, probably evaporators), and the fact that the model number is unknown, the repair takes a lot of time and labor. The price of repair would be around $2000, which is, in our opinion, not worth it. Unfortunately, this Kenmore is not the only case with used fridges that we encountered. It happens often, and we don’t see that the trend is decreasing.

Tips for buying used refrigerators in Orange County

With all of that said, let’s talk about how to avoid disappointments like this. First of all, we typically don’t recommend buying used appliances, especially refrigerators. But if you’re going to buy it anyway, here are a few points that might be helpful:

  • Buy used refrigerators from proven sources. Don’t buy on the marketplace, especially for cash.
  • Check if the model number sticker is on the appliance.
  • Ask for the warranty; 6 months is desirable, but not less than 3 months.
  • Don’t buy used Samsung, LG, and Kenmore refrigerators. They are more prone to have problems with the compressor and all related stuff that is very expensive to repair.

Bought a new or used refrigerator and it broke? Call us at 949-419-6165, or book an appointment online for the best appliance repair in Orange County.


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