MainStreet reader Judy Heap noted on our Facebook page that she wouldn’t buy a used laptop, and we’re inclined to agree. As we see it, there are a few reasons to be suspicious of laptops.
First of all, they have moving parts: Laptops are opened and closed hundreds of times, and that constant use means a lot of unseen wear and tear over the years. My college laptop sustained a broken hinge after about five years of use, and I never had any advance warning that it was wearing down.
Secondly, there’s a lot going on inside that can go wrong. And we’re not talking about viruses, which won’t be a concern after you wipe the hard drive and start fresh. Rather, we’re referring to the various electronic components that may be on the verge of failure – my own laptop, for instance, got a fried motherboard a few years in. While you can open the hood to inspect a used car’s engine, it’s generally not advisable to open up a laptop (and you probably won’t know what you’re looking for anyway).
Finally, consider the fact that people tend to tote their laptops everywhere they go, and that means they get jostled, bumped, spilled on and dropped. Even if the laptop boots up when you test it out, it’s difficult to gauge what sort of abuse a computer has sustained in its travels.
Photo Credit: Craig Dugas