Chromebook Repair – Is It Worthwhile?

By October 5, 2016How-To
Is Chromebook repair worth it?

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 money 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.

Sometimes the repair is beyond what you want to attempt, because you could make it worse.Warranty repairs are sometimes possible, but that means shipping your computer to the manufacturer and waiting several weeks to get it back.

Affiliate disclosure: If you use the coupon below, you get $20 off the service, and I might receive a small commission from HelloTech as a thanks for connecting you. Good deal, right?

If you don’t want to wait, call in a local professional. HelloTech is a highly-rated service, and they can help you on the phone or in person. They have a deal just for you – click the image below to get help with a nice discount:

HelloTech offer

If you have a question or story about Chromebook repair, be sure to drop it in the comments below. And happy fixing!

Kain Young

Author Kain Young

More posts by Kain Young

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Mike T. says:

    Another thought before the toaster treatment would be to see if you could use it as is. A chromebook with a broken screen would still connect to a TV and stream video. I’ve used one like that for a while to “watch TV” in my bedroom. At that point, it basically becomes a Chromebox that can’t be upgraded.

  • steve says:

    logic board repairs [corrupt security (boot) chip, 2-4Gb SSD failure] are more costly than a new or refurbished Chromebook as they require a new or used unit that can only be from the same model chromebook that is being parted out, and that is a cautious purchase as they usually do not guarantee them. Power jacks are inexpensive but require a soldering iron. The lower cases clamshells are mostly plastic clip retained and youll likely break a few clips trying to seperate them. Use a plastic knife or guitar pick to seperate the clamshells and place the screen back on the bench when you are pushing the bezel back on. I was cringing when the video guy was bending the screen pushing the bezel on.

  • Jay says:

    Great article. I had to send my Toshiba Chromebook 2 in for warranty repairs and it took Toshiba 5 weeks to fix it. If you have to send your Chromebook in for repairs, better prepare to be without it for awhile.

    To separate the lower clamshell case of a Chromebook 2, you’ll need a spudger to do the job properly. Jeweler screwdrivers tend to mar and break the case. Alternately, you can use automotive feeler gauges and they’re more widely available. The thinnest ones in the set worked best for me.

  • Shane says:

    Great article! Thank you! I received a quality part and great service using http://www.ChromebookParts.com when I needed to fix my chromebook.

  • Rose says:

    …so, I’m assuming that a Chromebook that got doused in water and won’t even turn on now is beyond hope? But how can I dispose of it safely?

    • Kain Young says:

      If it shorted out and won’t turn back on after a few days of drying out, it’s toast. In some places you can take it to a large electronics retailer. Call ahead to see if they recycle all brands. If not, it has to go to wherever you recycle batteries on your region.

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