Sunday, April 12, 2009

What to do...What to do?

I need advice.  

Since I was a little girl I've believed with all my heart that KitchenAid mixers are the very best mixers to be had.  And I continued to believe that even though my beloved tangerine artisan stand mixer broke once.  I even believed it after it broke twice.  But now, after the motor has died yet again, I'm starting to doubt my commitment to KitchenAid.  

But maybe I just got a lemon of a mixer and need to give the brand another chance. Afterall...my dishwasher and food processor haven't failed me [knock on wood].  

 Here's the situation:  The last repair is under warranty.  I can have it repaired again for free if it is a problem related to the previous one or pay for parts only if it's a whole new problem.  Or I can return the whole darn mixer to the repair guy and he'll give me my $80 back from the last repair.  

So what do I do?  Get it repaired and possibly have it break again?  Or just take my $80 and buy a sturdier model that can handle my quadruple pizza dough recipes?  

One option is clearly cheaper than the other, but I don't want to get stuck in a loop of continually repairing this thing.  I've already spent nearly the original cost of the mixer in repairs!  

What would you do?

15 comments:

Ricki said...

If it were me, I'd probably just get a new mixer. . .but if the next repair is free, why not go with the freebie and THEN you can get a new mixer later on? I don't actually own a stand mixer, so it's really easy to replace one of those ($20) hand-held ones!

nonnie/lola said...

I would contact the KitchenAid home office and tell them exactly what you just told us, that you have believed in their mixer all your life, but have been very disheartened with the one you have. See if they can't do something for you. Tell them what a large base of friends and bloggers you have where you talk about your mixer, that your mother and grandmother have always had KitchenAid Mixers, etc.......

P.S. I love you all and HAPPY EASTER!!
P.S.S. I bought my NETI POT yesterday!!!

renae said...

After burning out the motor on two different Kitchen Aid mixers (and not having a repair place anywhere nearby), I gave up on Kitchen Aid and got a Bosch Universal Machine. I use it almost exclusively for kneading dough and it handles very large batches (up to 12 pounds) without straining at all; I often make huge batches of pizza dough to freeze. I love it. The downsides are: 1) although it comes with a dough hook and wire whisks, it does not come with the equivalent of the KA paddle attachment. You can get separate "cookie paddles" for $29, however. 2) it performs best on bigger batches; really small batches of things are kind of "lost" in it, though they do work 3) it can be a little awkward to remove some doughs from the bowl because of its torus shape. 4) all my KA attachments are now useless. I've found that the advantages more than make up for the downsides, though. I have no fear of burning out the motor even when kneading huge batches of whole wheat dough, it doesn't "walk" across the counter, it's fairly quiet, it has a low profile, and I've just stopped worrying about breaking another mixer.

Cody said...

I've heard nothing but good things about KA mixers... from older generations. Perhaps the quality just isn't as good anymore. (When reading opinions on new sewing machines, many people recommended OLD Singers, but hardly anyone would back a new one. Maybe this is the same thing?)

My tangerine KA mixer does all I need it to, really... I don't put it through much abuse.

I agree with nonnie/lola, though. This is a pretty good story for the KA head office...

Catherine said...

Kitchen Aid mixers are direct-drive machines, which means that the motor is attached directly to the part that turns the mixer. This means that the motor will labor at times, and there's a chance you'll burn out your motor if you overload the machine over and over again. There are a couple of mixers out there (Viking and Cuisinart, I believe,) that are not direct-drive, which means there are belts and gears and stuff that offset some of that burden on the motor. Go see the folks at Kitchen Window (I work there) -- they'll get you in a mixer that can handle your quadruple batches of pizza dough! (P.S. I have heard lovely things about the Bosch, too, which KW also sells.)

Claire said...

Bosch products rock- we had a family friend that worked for them in the 90's (before they were widely known) and talked my mom into buying a dishwasher- which she moved into a new house and is now 10 years old. And works like a dream.

I like the "talk to the company" advice. Is KitchenAid still an american made company? Tell them your story and how you want to stay a customer but you feel so disappointed. I feel like companies are working hard to keep customers and reputations- think about how many people read your blog- and maybe if this last free repair doesn't work, you could bargain with them for a discount on an industrial model. Because really, 4 pizza dough recipes is industrial level.

And good luck!

Lily Girl said...

I think since you are doing such large batches of dough you should probably consider a more heavy-duty mixer. If you want to stay with KA get the Professional 600 stand mixer. Cook's Illustrated did a review of "high end" stand mixers and the KA Prof. 600 and the Cuisinart 5.5 Quart are the two that came out on top. They only gave the Artisan a "recommended with reservations" and noted that it was acceptable if you are an "infrequent breadmaker". Bosch also got a "recommended with reservations" because about the only thing it did well was knead bread. Since you demand a lot from your stand mixer and it seems like you use it for a wide range of functions it would probably easier on you in the long run to replace it with a more heavy-duty model.

ariel said...

I had a similar experience with my KitchenAid blender recently, and I would opt to get a refund and buy a new machine if I could.

I also believed that KitchenAid made the best appliances, but my blender's motor started making horrible sounds after less than a year. I sent it back to KitchenAid and they exchanged it for a refurbished blender, which turned out to be just as bad as the first. After speaking with customer service again, I decided to give it one more try and sent back the second blender in exchange for a third. Now I have yet another half-broken blender.

Unfortunately, I can't get any sort of refund, so I'm keeping this one while I save up for a good blender. Take the refund from the last repair and invest in a sturdier mixer if you can! I think the extra cost will be worth it, and if you keep the old mixer, it is likely that you will continue to spend more money repairing it.

Good luck!

Erin S R said...

Liz, I'm sorry to hear about the bum mixer. KA does have a good customer service reputation though... did you buy the machine new? If so, I would give them a call.

Check out this story, where a couple got a new KA mixer even though theirs was 4 years old.

I really hope it works out well. Let us know what you decide!

manda said...

I'll second what Lily Girl said. I decorate a lot of cakes, and make multiple batches of fondant in my Professional 600 models (I have two), and they don't have a problem. An instructor of mine did warn me when I was shopping that the artisan couldn't handle fondant making long term, and I assume that pizza dough would present the same problem. Good luck!

allularpunk said...

i'm sorry to hear about your mixer's death (again)! i agree with what most people have said already...perhaps for what you are using it for, the kitchenaid isn't the right mixer for you. i'd still contact kitchenaid and tell them what's been happening, but it might be time to invest that $80 into a new mixer that better suits your needs :)

Vegyogini said...

I have a KitchenAid Professional stand mixer and I love it. One of the things I love best about it is that their customer service rocks. At one point, the lever that lifts the bowl to the paddle became so difficult to lift that not even using 2 hands did the trick. I called them and they instantly offered to send me a brand new replacement mixer and that all I needed to do was put the old mixer in the new mixer's box and they'd pick it up after delivering the new one. So...my advice is to call KitchenAid and let them know what's going on. They just might replace your mixer for you, no questions asked.

VeganLinda said...

Funny, my husband and I were just talking about our KitchenAid stand mixer this morning and lamenting. We've also burned up a couple motors making seitan years ago. We would like to start making all our own bread, but need a better mixer. I would love to see what you end up buying if you get a new machine. I'm usually one to fix instead of buying new, but maybe you could give your KitchenAid a new home on FreeCycle or something.

jessica said...

Ugh-I'm having the same problem with my KA Artisan mixer (and heretofore had the same product trust that you had). After 1 1/4 years of weekly breadmaking - it was new at Christmas 2008 - it's starting to smell and grind and protest. Very disappointing and irritating. I have no useful advice, just a similar gripe, but I'll be watching your column to learn what to do when it keels over -- which I believe to be imminent!

Liz said...

Thanks, everyone! I took your advice and sent this story to KitchenAid tonight. We'll see if they take pity upon me!

I should also state for the record that I've never actually put a quadruple pizza dough batch in this mixer- I stick to a double recipe at a time because the motor labors too much for any more. Don't want you guys/gals to think I've been abusing this poor mixer. Mostly I do batch of 2 loaves of bread a week and sometimes frosting and pizza dough. Not unreasonable expectations for a $300 mixer, I don't think...