Some electronics aren't built to last. Computers and mobiles, in particular, can become out-of-date — or obsolete — as manufacturer updates make in-built software redundant.
Before upgrading, check if the hard drive can be replaced. Ask a computer or mobile repairer.
Make appliances last longer
- Keep devices away from direct sunlight — overheating can permanently damage smartphones and computers.
- Make sure there's enough airflow.
- Regularly clean them — dust can reduce their lifespan and be a safety risk.
Dust + dirt + grime = shorter life
It is especially important to maintain appliances used for cleaning, eg washing machines, vacuum cleaners and dishwashers. Being constantly filled with gunk takes its toll. As does heating and cooling, filthy water and detergent.
Cover gadgets you don't use very often to stop dust getting in. Dust can cause overheating and significantly cut your appliance's lifespan.
- Run your dishwasher/washing machine on hot every few washes.
- Run cleaner or rinse aid through your dishwasher, on empty — use the pots and pans cycle.
- Vacuum the dust from the back of your fridge.
- Clean your keyboard with a clean soft paintbrush.
- Regularly clean your vacuum filter.
Always check the manufacturer's instructions before cleaning. Never spray cleaning products directly onto an appliance or device.
Computers, tablets and mobile phones slow down with age, but also when their memory is too full or they have a virus. Your device will run better for longer with regular maintenance:
- use anti-virus software to protect yourself from scams
- delete files you don't use anymore
- unplug your battery when it is fully charged
- disable programmes you rarely use
- clean up (defrag) your hard drive — Macs do this automatically.
Getting started with cyber security — CERT NZ guide
Don't assume you need to replace an appliance when it stops working. Electronics can be repaired. Well-known brands and more expensive models are often easier to fix.
Manufacturers should keep spare parts for the same amount of time the model is expected to last. It can be hard to get parts for appliances that have already been on the market for several years overseas.
Repair damage after normal use
If something isn't working as it should, call the manufacturer’s technical support line. It may save you time and frustration — or stop you damaging your device.