I never buy extended warranties. They’re pretty much useless since almost every device sold has a 90 day to 1 year warranty and the majority of failures happen during that 90-365 day period. The most egregious one is AppleCare, it basically covers nothing for a premium price.
A few weeks ago I noticed my touchpad was acting a bit strange on my Dell XPS M140. So my vast experience with computers lead me to Dell’s parts site, where for $43 I ordered a new Palm Rest assembly .
I should explain, I’m fearless when it comes to electronics. I have no problem diagnosing issues, opening up a unit, finding the defective or failed part(s), ordering replacements and then installing them to bring an item back up to 100%. I’ve done this with TV’s, amateur radio gear, computers, etc. right down to discrete component level.
One of my other habits is getting technical and service documentation for pretty much everything I buy. In the case of this laptop, Dell was nice enough to put it all on the web.
Got the replacement palm rest for my laptop in today and installed it. If you look at my Flickr photos on the right hand column you’ll see some pictures of the process. It involved about 30 screws, some ribbon connectors, miniature coaxial connectors etc.
Put it this way, for a 3 year service contract Dell wanted close to $400. I still want to replace the hard drive and the keyboard but that’s around a $200 setup. I’ve had the laptop for 2.5 years now and I’m fairly rough on computers so instead of plunking down another $1,000+ for a new laptop, I’ll keep this one running for another couple of years for relatively short money at which point I’ll have almost five years on it and I’ll more than likely freecycle it when I’m done unless I have some other pressing needs for it.
I’ve kept an Inspiron 4100 alive for damned near seven years now and it still runs. It’s main problem is the power connector, a very lousy design on Dell’s part.
I approach taking thing apart with this in mind: It had to be put assembled somehow which means it can be taken apart. I’m also a chea^h^h^h^h frugal type.
I used to practice that as a kid, I’d take everything apart. Now I’m much better at it since I can put it back together again.