Broken technology – is there anything more frustrating? It’s a special sort of hell to have all the computing power of the modern era at your fingertips, yet be unable to use it due to a cracked screen or malfunctioning keyboard. For Chromebook users, it can be a tricky call: when the devices themselves are so inexpensive, how do you decide which problems are suitable for repair? Sometimes a cheap DIY Chromebook repair is in order. Other problems require a professional repair. And sometimes Chromebook problems get the toaster treatment–throw it out and buy a new one.
Chromebook Screen Repairs
Broken screens are by far the most common problem plaguing modern technology. The ultralight components used to make Chromebooks is one of the things that makes them so affordable. While they minimize cost and weight, often these parts are much less durable than their counterparts in a MacBook or laptop would be.
Fortunately, markets create solutions, particularly for products as ubiquitous as Chromebooks have become. A quick Amazon search for Chromebook replacement screens yields a plethora of low-cost kits (affiliate link).
However, note that each screen is device specific. It will be crucial that you search for your particular make and model before attempting to execute a Chromebook repair. Note that you will likely need both a replacement screen and a set of Chromebook repair tools. Again, an Amazon search gives a variety of device-specific options (affiliate link) for repair tools.
Although I haven’t yet had to repair a Chromebook screen, I can vouch for the utility of these pre-packaged kits. I’ve used several on various other pieces of technology around my house, like phones and tablets. As long as I’ve been careful to order only parts that come well-reviewed, I’ve never been let down. And there’s a lot of crossover for the tools. Keep them around, since it’s very likely you will be using your Chromebook repair set again in the future on another gadget.
Although the procedure for each Chromebook is slightly different, this YouTube video provides a quick breakdown for a fairly common Toshiba model. If you have a different model, it’s worth your time to search for “[make and model] Chromebook screen repair.” There are tutorials online under Google’s “video” tab for almost every model of Chromebook on the market.
As far as cost goes, screen repairs are a very economical solution. The screen may cost $14-$30 from a third-party supplier, and the tools may cost $20-$30. Even added together, that’s still far less than the price of a new Chromebook or a professional Chromebook repair job. And when you’re done with this job, you’ll have a new set of tools you can use on many other small devices.
Chromebook Keyboard Repairs
The second most common issue with Chromebook repairs is the keyboard. Just like we discussed with the screen issue, Chromebook keyboards are more cheaply produced than their counterparts in more expensive machines. I once had a machine that worked perfectly, except the ‘R’ key began flying off about six months into the relationship. (Apparently I type very aggressively.)
If your Chromebook has a single-key issue, the good people at Replacement Laptop Keys will sell you an affordably-priced replacement part. Check out their site and make sure you know which part you need to order. If the problem is more widespread, or affects the touchpad, you may be better served to search for “[make / model] Chromebook replacement keyboard.” Again, make sure you get the make and model right. Small variations in the molding can mean the wrong keyboard won’t fit your device. The same holds true for touchpad repairs as well.
Give It a Try
Like screen repairs, keyboard and touchpad repairs are economical for newer devices. The third-party market has done an admirable job keeping replacement parts affordable and available. Likewise, the collective knowledge of the internet means almost any repair (even those not discussed here) can be at least attempted with a little research.
Knowing all that, the rule of thumb I typically recommend for Chromebook repair is this: if the Chromebook is less than 18 months old, I would repair it myself if possible. Beyond 18 months, the rapid advance of technology probably means you’re just as well-served by simply replacing the device.
With an average cost around $300, an 18-month lifespan works out to $16.67 monthly, which seems reasonable to me.
Before you trash a Chromebook or spend over $100 on professional repair, take a stab at fixing it yourself. Not only will you save money, but you’ll begin developing the confidence to work on your own devices. Just this month I’ve repaired a washer and a dryer, using the power of Google and Amazon. You can try it, too.
If it doesn’t work, you can always give your Chromebook the toaster treatment. Thanks to the way all your Chromebook data lives in the cloud, replacing your Chromebook is seamless.
If you hit a snag, or have a question or story about Chromebook repair, be sure to drop it in the comments below. And happy fixing!