We bought this Kenmore side load washing machine 5 years ago. I really liked the machine until just recently when it started breaking down. We bought the side load machine to save on water and also energy cost. The side load machine uses approximately 16 to 24 gallons vs. up to 40 gallons of water used by top-loading machines. It spins the clothes much dryer than a top-loading machine, thus lessening the drying time in the dryer. The machine seemed to get the clothes cleaner than my previous top loader.
We had one small problem while the machine was under warranty and was fixed by a repairman, I can't remember now what the problem was. At the time the repairman was fixing the machine, I asked about the softener dispenser that seemed to be clogged, and was told that I needed to pour hot water into the dispenser to clean it. I did this several times and never had much luck getting it to work properly. So I had never been able to use the softener dispenser almost from the time we purchased the machine.
The machine was otherwise problem free for 5 years until it broke down. The first repair was when one of the shock absorbers broke and cost us $30 to repair. We fixed it ourselves, so there was no labor cost involved. The new shock absorber was made differently, so I assume there was a design flaw that they discovered and fixed.
After fixing the shock absorber, I used the machine only two more times before it started making a load noise in the spin cycle. My husband could not determine the problem at first until he removed the drum and discovered that there were two cracks in the part that holds the drum. (the pictures above show the cracks) This meant the whole drum had to be replaced which would cost over $200! We decided this was too much to put into a 5 year-old machine.
I believe the metal used in making this part should have lasted longer than 5 years before corroding. This part is in constant contact with the water and should have been made of a non-corrosive material. I am very disappointed that we only got barely 5 years use out of this machine.