If You Try to Fix it and Fail, It’s Still Just Broken.

About three months ago, the right hinge on my laptop snapped. I wasn’t overly concerned until just recently when I opened the cover and suddenly discovered the screen had no support at all. The other hinge had snapped as well. Because I had never replaced the hinges on a laptop and had absolutely no idea where to begin, I decided that this was a job for the professionals. I hurried to my favorite computer store for an estimate. Without cracking a smile, the clerk behind the desk quoted a repair price of $400.00! I waited a moment for the punch line, but he wasn’t joking.
My Dell Latitude has been a good little laptop. It was a business computer. I bought it refurbished about three years ago. Because of its background, it was really decked out. The cover is custom made of metal, not plastic, and in spite of its age, my laptop is extremely fast, but $400.00 is a huge amount of money to put into a five-year-old laptop.
I had two options.

  1. Continue propping it open against a wall or books, or holding it open with rubber bands and string.
  2. Repair it myself.


Option one got old very quickly. So looking at the problem logically, I decided that if I didn’t do anything, my computer was broken. If I tried to fix it and failed, my computer was still broken, but if I tried to fix it and succeeded, my computer would be back in working order. I would be able to keep the machine I have become accustomed to, and save some money as well. I had nothing to lose but the price of the parts.

Not as complicated as it seemed!

I checked out Ebay and found that I could order both latches new, not reconditioned, for 2.99 plus 3.99 shipping and handling. I was willing to risk $6.98, but the low price made me suspect that this job was going to be a nightmare. I read over web sites and copied directions as I waited for the parts to be shipped from Hong Kong.

Back in working order!

Armed with far more tools than I needed, a digital camera, and a case of the nervous jitters, I began a job that I was sure would take me three days. Taking photos along the way, I began removing one part at a time, placing every screw on a piece of tape and marking where it came from. Once I got the machine open, I was amazed at how simple of a job it was. In a little over an hour, my laptop was reassembled and in perfect working order. I had even taken time to clean her up some while she was apart. My savings? $393.02.

The moral of this story is: If your computer is out of warranty, and the computer experts want almost as much to repair it as the price of a new computer, check out the tech sites, and the technical manuals offered on line by the manufacturers. Find a safe place in your home (free of pets and children), and try fixing it yourself. Just don’t forget the camera and the tape. They’ll come in handy.



Filed under Helpful Hints, Money Saving Tips

4 responses to “If You Try to Fix it and Fail, It’s Still Just Broken.

  1. jess

    so what room did you use? the parlor that you won’t let us in? hehehe! missed you all on sunday and i will see you this sunday!

  2. Guilty. It’s a cat free room with a lot of light.

  3. You are my hero! I’m the fix-it person around our house, but must admit to finding computers way over my pay grade. Perhaps there’s a little business on the side in the making here…

    • This job was a lot easier than it looked.
      I am seriously lacking in business skills and would probably do terrible at side business, but not being afraid to tear apart something that’s broken can pay off in other ways. A friend of mine knew that I wanted a digital camera, so he gave me his and announced, “If you can fix it, you can have it.” There was glitter in the USB connection. I cleaned it out and years later it’s still working.

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