Washing machines are not meant to last forever. At some point, your washer is going to break down, and you are going to need to replace or repair it. However, there's no reason that has to happen any time soon! With these tips, you can extend the life of your washing machine and reduce the chances of a breakdown.
Make sure it's on a level surface.
If your washing machine is sitting on an non-level surface, it will undergo more vibration each time it is used, and this vibration may shake some screws and other components loose. The floors in many basements (and even other floors in older homes) are not completely level. Thus, you'll want to use a level to determine if your floor is completely flat, and if it is not, use some little shims of wood to raise the lower side of the washer up to the level of the other side.
Don't use too much detergent.
You might think you're getting your clothing extra clean by adding an extra cap of detergent, but all you're really doing is increasing the wear and tear on your washer. The more suds in a load, the harder your washer has to work, and the longer rinse cycles need to be. Use the amount of laundry detergent recommended on the bottle -- the manufacturers know just how much you really need to clean your clothes without overtaxing your machine.
Wash large loads instead of small ones.
The fewer total loads your washing machine has to handle, the less overall wear and tear will be placed on it. Save your laundry until you have a full, large load, rather than doing a small load every time you have a few things to wash. This may mean buying a few more bath towels or socks so you can wait longer between loads, but the cost of these items is less than that of a new washing machine.
Do not overfill the washer.
While it is important to run full loads, you do not want to run loads that are overfilled, either. Packing too much in the washer can cause it to over-work and will shorten its lifespan in the long run. Add clothes to the machine loosely until they reach within a few inches of the top. Don't press down on them or add more once they are weighed down with water.
As long as you follow the tips above, your washer will last longer, and you can expect less frequent calls to the repairman.