Sunday, January 27, 2008

She's back home at last!

My mixer is home again, and functional once more. I wrote before about how I broke the thing, and my intent to fix it. Apparently, there are either not many people who can break a Kitchenaid Stand mixer, or don't bother to repair them if they do. Given my ordeal, I can understand why.

We started out by looking up parts online and I found a description of what was essentially the same problem--the motor's running, but the beater's not spinning. They listed a part that was probably to blame--something called a "worm gear". Nowhere could I find directions on how to actually disassemble the mixer to view the gear in question. My husband tried, and could remove just about everything, except for the metal cover that hides all of the motor parts. I had no luck either. Short of a blow torch or a can opener, we were going to have to rely on a knowledgeable source for help.

I tried searching the phone book for mixer repairs in the St. Louis area. My search returned many appliance repair places, but they seemed to advertise fixing large items like washers and dryers. I supposed I could have called them all to see if they did stand mixers, but I didn't.

Next, I tried Sears. Their website offers that they fix a wide variety of appliances and tools (from fridges to weedwackers), and they sell Kitchenaid stand mixer replacement parts on the web. I brought my mixer to the local store, which used to have an appliance repair center right next to it (it's gone, but they still accept items for repair inside the store). The worker I talked to 1) wasn't sure what the thing was at first, and 2) couldn't figure out how to enter the info into the computer to even accept it for repair. He told me to call their 1-800 number. So I did, right there in front of him (hey, that mixer is heavy and I wasn't about to haul it back and forth to the car if I didn't have to). The phone worker assured me that they did repair mixers, and worked some sort of data entry magic, which he then explained to the local guy (via my cell phone), and I left after paying my $30 deposit.

About a week later, I got an automated call saying that my mixer was repaired and to come pick it up. I arrived at the store, and the lady who brought it out to me (nicely packaged in what looked like a sewing machine box), told me that they do not repair mixers, despite what the guy on the phone had told me. She thinks maybe they used to. She also wasn't going to refund my $30 deposit. It was called "non-refundable", but I argued that I would happily have left the money if the attempted and failed to repair the mixer. To accept my money, spend a week shipping the mixer around the country, and then decide that they're not going to even crack it open, is just not right. Luckily, she eventually agreed with me. I did get to keep the box and all of the nice cushioning material.

Finally, I found a place through the web in Kansas City who repairs the dumb things. For $70, they would do most repairs and ship it back to you. So, after about $90 (I had to pay to ship it to them) and a month of road trips, my mixer is now back home and functional once more. The whole process was annoying, but in the end it cost about 1/3 of a new one.

Oh, and if you knew that Charlotte had gone to Iowa with her daddy for a surprise party for his parents, and thought this post would be about her trip and safe return, sorry to disappoint. I"m sure I'll get to that next. She is back also, though, safe and sound (except for a bit of a stomach bug...for some reason travelling to Iowa seems to make her sick to her stomach!)


Amanda said...

I could say something about Iowa but I'll refrain. Illinois and Iowa have a thing. Glad the mixer made it home safe and sound. Oh and Charlotte too.

Garrett said...

You aren't alone. A lot of the kitchenaid stand mixers were/are built with a plastic worm gear.

If you knead dough, it is going to break on average about every 2 years. That is what I've read online, and that has been my experience with ours.

I'm very disappointed. We'd ordered a "commercial" model, only to find out it isn't even good enough to run of the mill home use.

I'm looking at other brands. I don't know if I can trust another Kitchenaid. Who knows where they will have cut corners on the new models?