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At some point, your embroidery machine will likely need either routine servicing or repairs.
I remember the first time I dropped one of my machines off for maintenance–I had no idea how long it would take, how much it would cost, and what to expect.
Thus, if you’re new to needing embroidery machine repairs or are curious about the process, here’s what you need to know!
First, I’ve put together some resources for finding embroidery machine repair technicians near you. Then, I’ll cover what you can repair yourself followed by what to expect if you bring your embroidery machine to the shop.
Finding an Embroidery Machine Repair Technician Near You
I recommend first shopping for an authorized repair technician for your machine brand. These technicians are more likely to carry genuine parts for your machine, making the wait time less.
Not to mention they also have more experience and can troubleshoot issues faster.
Also, most machine manufacturers will only pay for warranty claims from their own authorized repair technicians.
Thus, below, I’ve listed sites that will help you find authorized dealers for many major embroidery machine manufacturers.
Most authorized dealers also deal with home sewing machine repair and even serger, coverstitch, and industrial machine repair. Check first before bringing a commercial embroidery machine in for repair, though.
1. Brother Embroidery Machine Repair
Brother’s website provides you with a list of authorized dealers who can fix your machine.
2. Baby Lock Embroidery Machine Repair
Plug your zip code into Baby Lock’s retail locator to find a list of local technicians who do embroidery repair.
3. Janome Embroidery Machine Repair
Find a Janome dealer close to you, and take your machine there for a quote and repair.
4. Singer Embroidery Machine Repair
Check out Singer’s list of authorized warranty center locations to find a location for embroidery machine service.
5. Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Machine Repair
Locate an authorized dealer for Husqvarna Viking embroidery machines, and call to see if they offer repairs for your Husqvarna embroidery machine.
6. Bernina Embroidery Dealers
Find an authorized Bernina retailer and call to check if they do embroidery services.
When To Take A Machine In For Repair (Or Maintenance)
I first recommend following a set of basic embroidery troubleshooting steps for all new problems.
This includes rethreading and cleaning the top and bottom of the machine plus evaluating and swapping out all possible machine parts and supplies (needle, bobbin, bobbin case, needle plate, embroidery thread, embroidery design, etc.) when possible.
It’s incredible how many issues you can fix yourself.
However, once you’ve exhausted all troubleshooting steps or your machine has a more complex problem like a software malfunction or timing issue, it’s probably time to take your machine in for an evaluation.
As for routine maintenance, check with your manufacturer when (in terms of machine age or stitch count) they recommend routine tune-ups.
I currently take my Brother embroidery machine in yearly for basic service.
Repairing an Embroidery Machine By Yourself At Home
Thanks to ridiculous student loan debt, I’ve spent hours troubleshooting issues and purchasing parts to repair my machine by myself to save money.
I’m a pro at replacing needle threaders on my sewing and embroidery machines (thank you, YouTube!) And, I’m also pretty good at troubleshooting all non-computer problems.
As long as I don’t have to go too deep into the body of my embroidery machine, I’m willing to try to fix problems using my user manual and online tutorials.
If you’re also handy with tech, feel free to try basic repairs by yourself! Replacing needle threaders, thread cutters, needle plates, bobbin cases, etc. are all fairly easy repairs.
Just make sure to check with your manufacturer to see what home repair attempts may affect warranties. I’ve heard stories in embroidery groups that removing machine faceplates can void some of them.
One way to prevent needing repairs in the first place is to routinely clean your embroidery machine. Most experts recommend cleaning at least every 8-10 hours of active stitching time.
How Much Does Embroidery Machine Repair Cost?
Costs vary wildly depending on the type of maintenance you need and your location.
A routine servicing (or problem-focused evaluation) could start as little as $75 for a small, basic embroidery machine and end at over $250 for a large, top-of-the-line computerized embroidery machine. [I called everywhere in my locale to get a range!]
If the dealer finds issues with your machine, you’re then looking at the additional cost of new parts and the labor to replace them.
Thankfully, many machine manufacturers give free quotes for embroidery machine repair (not all do, so ask first!)
That way, you can shop around; you don’t necessarily need to stay at the shop where you bought your machine. There’s nothing wrong with getting a second opinion if the price seems outrageous!
Why are repairs so expensive?
While some repairs are simple for technicians (like replacing a needle threader), other repairs require taking the embroidery machine apart.
This takes time and must be done very carefully to avoid damage.
Also, becoming a competent repair technician for multiple brands and types of machines takes time and experience. Hence, the high hourly labor rate you pay for repairs.
Couple that with increased demand for embroidery machine maintenance, repair technicians are not hurting for jobs right now, that’s for sure!
Is Finding an Embroidery Machine Repair Technician Worth It?
Unfortunately, repairs and even cleanings are so pricey for entry-level machines.
If you own an inexpensive embroidery machine (think Brother SE625, SE600, SE400, PE535, etc.), you may be better off cutting your losses and replacing your machine instead of paying for repairs that cost more than the price of a new machine.
Maintenance enthusiasts may cringe, but I did the math when I had my Brother SE625 (which cost me less than $300 new), and I never could rationalize the $100 annual cleanings to keep it in tip-top shape.
It had a warranty, and my plan was to replace it with a brand new machine if it broke from not being serviced; a new machine would cost less than the price of three years of maintenance fees, and I was willing to take my chances.
I’m more reformed now that I have more expensive embroidery machines that I cannot easily replace financially. The big one gets yearly tune-ups!
Buying Embroidery Machine Parts Online: Generic vs. Genuine
You can decide if you want to purchase generic replacement parts (often from eBay or Amazon) or genuine machine parts, which you can only get in-store (or online) from an authorized retailer for your machine.
I bought generic machine parts on my entry-level embroidery machine and had no issues. The parts were readily available online, and the money saved was well worth it.
I only buy genuine Brother embroidery parts (except presser feet) for my five-figure Brother Luminaire embroidery machine. The cost-benefit ratio is just not there for me now to take any chances.
How Long Does It Take to Repair An Embroidery Machine?
The repair process can take hours to days to even months, depending on the issue and queue of repairs ahead of you.
My favorite local shop has a 2-business day quote turnaround and a small queue for repairs.
However, if I schedule an appointment for a routine check-up, this can be done within a day or two when my appointment date rolls around.
As a semi-horror story, my recent ScanNCut replacement took almost a month for Brother to get the necessary replacement paperwork authorized and the new machine sent over. So, just know that some replacements and repairs can be painstakingly, horribly slow!
Even though I live in an area with 10+ dealers, the potential time without my machine makes troubleshooting problems myself worth it before taking the machine for repair. I also recommend always having a backup machine if you have time-sensitive embroidery projects.
Tips for Taking an Embroidery Machine in For Repairs
If you need to take your machine in, here are some things I’ve learned along the way!
1. Check Your Warranty.
If you have an embroidery machine under warranty, your repairs may be covered in full. (Depending on the machine manufacturer and type of repair, of course.)
Other times, you may only be responsible for labor costs, and the manufacturer will pay for the replacement parts.
To take advantage of the warranty, you usually need to register your product with the manufacturer and bring a physical copy of your purchase receipt if not purchased from your local authorized dealer.
2. Call The Shop First.
Thanks to everyone starting new pandemic hobbies, there are now more sewists and embroiderers who need repairs.
If your machine needs repair, call your local shop first to determine the expected wait time before they can even look at your machine. Also, verify that they have any necessary parts in stock.
At specific points during 2020, repair quote appointments were backlogged by several months! Sadly, my coverstitch machine sat broken in my sewing room for three months waiting.
3. Pack Your Machine Well for Transport, and Bring All the Parts.
If your embroidery machine came with luggage, this is perfect for transporting your machine!
Or, if you still have the original box and packing, you’re also in luck.
If you don’t, make a plan to get your machine safely to and from the shop.
My Brother Luminaire XP2 is also heavier than I can safely maneuver far by myself, so I use a little expandable wagon when I need to transport it from my car to the shop. (Or, I bring my husband and put it back in its original box.)
Also, make sure you bring all the necessary parts for your machine.
My shop requires power cords, the machine, and any hoops or related accessories when troubleshooting issues. If your embroidery machine skips stitches, for instance, bring a hooped sample of your problematic fabric and stabilizer to show the shop.
4. Communicate Well With the Technician.
Share all issues you’re having with your machine and the circumstances under which they occur to help make the troubleshooting process go faster.
It’s also not the worst idea to take a picture or video of your machine before dropping it off in the shop; I’ve read (but not experienced) horror stories of people coming back with machines with new problems after getting routine maintenance.
5. Have Realistic Time Expectations For Timing.
Repairs are not a fast process, and it might not be the shop’s fault if things are taking forever. (Ex: my ScanNCut debacle.)
Also, sometimes your machine may need to be sent off somewhere else for repair, which is a painfully slow process as well.
And that’s my experience with taking my embroidery machine in for repairs and maintenance!
I try everything to avoid a trip to an authorized repair center, and if I do have to take in my machine, I plan ahead and get an idea of the timing and cost before dropping my baby off.
How have your embroidery machine repair experiences been? Anything else you recommend?