Social Question

ibstubro's avatar

If it's not broken, should you fix it?

Asked by ibstubro (18770points) February 2nd, 2016

Your 20 year old roof isn’t leaking, yet.
Your 5 year old car battery hasn’t failed to start your car, yet.
Your 2 month old relationship hasn’t blossomed, yet.

Do you wait until there is a problem, or do you preempt and risk creating one?

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20 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

My hot water tank is almost 35 years old. I’m not touching it. I did put a piece of plastic under it so if it does let go the water will drain into the French drain near the wall.

If the performance is still good and I can fix or replace it quickly I will let it go until it is broken.
It’s a bit like changing batteries in my GPS or TV remotes. Changing them early wastes money. It is more cost effective to keep using the batteries until the device is totally dead then replace them.

I hired a contractor to fix my ~25 year old roof when a small leak appeared in the attic. I figured it wasn’t going to heal itself so I’d better get it done before I had to replace a ceiling.

zenvelo's avatar

For the most part, nope, don’t fix what isn’t broken.

Don’t confuse that with not doing maintenance, though. Cars need oil changes, gutters need cleaning, houses need maintenance.

When I owned a house, we had a small leak in an over 20 year old roof. We called a roofer out to take a look. He was able to fix it, and said the rest of the roof looked to be in good shape. we didn’t replace it for five more years.

jca's avatar

Car batteries and tires I update without them breaking down as the thought of getting stuck on a country road in the dark is not very appealing.

What I understand about car batteries is that if the battery is old, the alternator has to work harder to alternate the current. Not sure how accurate that is, but I definitely have my logic for batteries and tires (see above).

I think when it comes to relationships, things are not necessarily black and white and I’d have to determine whatever according to the circumstances.

filmfann's avatar

I am a big believer in preventive maintenance. A roof leak can result in very expensive damages.
A stitch in time…

Cruiser's avatar

Yes, yes and YES! My 6 year old batteries in my battery back up were not up to the task when we were hit by a 100 year rain and I got seepage that caused damage to my basement that cost over $25,000 to repair. Thankfully insurance covered the repairs but it would have only cost me $250.00 for 2 new batteries.

But the true answer to this is it really depends. With new technologies some things are lasting longer than ever even a good quality car battery can last 8 years or more and are easily tested. Plus starting issues with your car are as often due to a bum alternator or starter. A roof that hasn’t been battered by severe storms can go over 20 years

JLeslie's avatar

For most things I go with if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

kritiper's avatar

No. Chances are you are no expert or engineer in that area or with that product and you’ll probably mess it up worse than it already is.
A roof usually is replaced before it starts leaking. It looks like shit, but the asphalt paper underneath is doing it’s job. You replace it when it looks like shit, not when it starts leaking.
If you car battery is almost to it’s due date, buy another and carry it with you until the old one craps out, then replace it. No problem.
If your relationship hasn’t blossomed yet, be patient. If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. Don’t push it!

SecondHandStoke's avatar

With technology absolutely yes. Test and modify, test and modify, test and modify.

My Integra has better throttle response. more balanced handling, better turn in response, better braking, better shifting than when in rolled off the line.

Intensely satisfying.

Soubresaut's avatar

I have no idea how old the battery in my car is—it’s not really my car, I’m still in school and driving my family’s pickup, but I think my ignorance is answer to the question anyway.

I am horrible about that sort of maintenance. The oil got so low the first time I started driving it (when I first got my license), it almost went empty…

Worse, when something does start to go wrong, I convince myself it’s something I’m doing. When its tires deflated and the manual turning got more difficult as a result, I figured I had just gotten weaker. When it started jerking and stalling because the u-joint was loose, I thought I had just forgotten how to shift. When it began braking less quickly and the break pedal started becoming stiffer because the brake booster was dying, I figured I was just not reacting to things quickly enough, or else had forgotten how hard I actually had to press on a brake pedal. It took a long trip on a highway, realizing I could barely press the pedal down, for me to believe that something was wrong with the car and not with me. I always assume it’s me.

I guess I approach relationships with the same mindset, but instead of simply driving along I’ll usually look for ways to preempt. While I can damage a car, I can’t hurt it in the same way I could a person. And a car can’t leave me.

Well, the pickup will leave leave me, when I get my own car—but it will never know.

somewomenarenicemaybe's avatar

If you have a lot of money then replace things before they break and make life easy. If you don’t have money you learn to make everything last until the bitter end.

Pachy's avatar

I’ve learned to follow my gut. Decades ago I was told I needed a second back surgery. A second opinion was that it was unnecessary and possibly risky. Boy, am I glad I listened to the second doctor.

Five years ago, after a hail storm, I was told my roof needed replacing. A second opinion was that the first opinion was a con job. Thus, the $4,000 I got from the insurance company went into savings rather than to the roofer, and nary a leak has ever ocurred.

Six months ago a plumber told me I needed to replace my water heater. $2200 to do the job. I ignored his advice and haven’t had any problems so far.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

No. I follow the ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’ line. However, like @Pachy, I seem to have a good gut instinct and I listen to my gut. You know when you suddenly think ‘that fridge is getting on a bit’. I might need to keep in mind I’ll need a new one soon. Then the next day it carks it!

ibstubro's avatar

I tried to get my roofer to replace my roof, and he said it really wasn’t critical. 5–6 years later we had an even bigger storm, and he thought it was time.

MY AC went out and ‘my HVac’ said ‘replace!’
Second opinion? Fixed and when I gave him the option to replace after the season, he said, “I’d wait until it quits.”

The hot water heater had a small leak, so we replaced it. The new one sucks. Water runs cool much too soon.

I’ve broken down and take the car in for oil change every 3,000. And I bought new tires before I destroyed the old ones/they were balloons.

My fridge was old when we bought the house, over 10 years ago. Possibly even Harvest Gold color (it has a false black front on it). Still chugging along, and I don’t know that anything has ever spoiled in it.

JLeslie's avatar

@ibstubro Do you have the water heater turned up to 120?

ibstubro's avatar

Yup. Electric water heater on 120°, @JLeslie.
I had it on 140° for a few days and that was too hot. I don’t have enough sense to not scald myself, I like hot showers that much when it’s cold.

I went from gas to electric, bah!

JLeslie's avatar

I kind of remember that now. A Q about it. I didn’t remember it might be you.

ibstubro's avatar

Honestly, I think part of the problem is that I installed a new, dual-head shower fixture and it sucks twice the water. But, shhhh. That ruins the fun of bitching about the electric water heater!

nightwolf5's avatar

If it’s not broken, by all means do not fix it or try to. Too many make this mistake, and it more often than not breaks things in the process. :(

Roofers's avatar

What’s there to fix if it isn’t broken in the first place? If there is no sign of issue or problem then don’t touch it. You might do something wrong and eventually ends up breaking it.

ibstubro's avatar

Just because it isn’t “broken” doesn’t mean people won’t assume they can improve it, @Roofers.

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