Everything that moves will break after a certain period of time. There's nothing perfect in this imperfect world, but you can still ensure that they remain working for a longer time. Here's why laptop hinges break and how to prevent the hinges from breaking.
The funny thing about us humans is that we take everything for granted. We don't care about things until they are lost in the sands of time.
Electrical things are more prone to this than other objects because we use them daily. Take your phone, for example, you handle it carelessly until it falls on the ground one day and has shattered glass and we take care not to damage it further. If we had taken care of it from day one, everything would have been awesome.
A common reason why hinges fail is when the laptop falls from your hand or you walk with your lid open and you hit a wall or something similar happens. Then, there is also material fatigue. This is when you do a thing repeatedly on a material, it will break.
For example, if you bend an iron rod repeatedly in alternative directions after bending, again and again, it will break.
It is important to get your laptop hinge fixed soon because it can cause multiple issues. My current laptop had a hinge broken sometime back and I tried to live on one hinge. But what happened was one of the wires got crushed by the hinge and the issue got worse. So I would strongly suggest you fix a hinge as soon as it is broken.
A broken hinge can lead to issues such as display cables getting squeezed, screen output becoming incorrect and in worse cases sometimes even the motherboard or other parts can break because the hinge doesn't revolve properly and pull the motherboard along with it.
The cost of a hinge is less than Rs. 1000 and for most laptops, it is around Rs. 500. Don't try to live with a broken hinge and cause further damage and then having to spend a lot more than this amount.
How to Prevent Hinges from Breaking
Let's be honest here, regardless of how sturdy your laptop looks, it is a weak and flimsy little thing. The thing about laptops is it has to carry a huge amount of delicate parts in a flimsy body.
There are a lot of moving parts and competition is stiff making manufacturers make cheaper and cheaper laptops sacrificing on build quality, So we need to be very careful when carrying and using our laptops.
Carry the laptop gently
Another thing to remember is never to carry your laptop holding on its screen. I know some laptops look like they can carry the load easily but the truth is, they are not. They are so flimsy and all they are supposed to do is keep the lid in place. The bottom part of the laptop is very hard and holding the laptop by the display will put undue stress on the lid unnecessarily.
Hold the laptop by the underside of the laptop. Don't put any force on the screen or on the hinges. The screen is also a delicate part and pressing the display might cause the colour to bleed and make the display distorted and damage it.
Taking your laptop on journeys
One of the major reasons why hinges break is because of hits and bumps during carrying. You might be travelling on a bus with your laptop in your bag and your bag can accidentally hit the railings of the bus. This might cause damage to the laptop or the hinges if the laptop gets squeezed.
Put a cloth on the corners of the laptop or wrap it in a sheet when you are travelling on a packed bus or somewhere where you can't be that careful so that the cloth will dampen the force when it hits somewhere.
Another thing which you can do is to put the laptop bag in front of you. This might make you look like an idiot but since you have your hands in front of you, this will help you to prevent someone from leaning on your laptop and other hits and bumps since you can see where you are going.
Take care while you close the lid
You might have been listening to music right before you decide to close the lid and you might leave your earphones between the screen and the keyboard. This will cause the hinge to move (sort of a pull) and damage it.
Not only will the hinge get damaged, but also the display might get damaged if you try to keep something between the display and the screen. Make sure there are no food particles or anything right before closing the laptop.
Make a habit of looking if there is anything between the lower part of the laptop and the screen before you close the lid.
Avoid poor build quality laptops
A lot of the budget laptops do a lot of cost-cutting to keep them in competition. This makes them manufacture the lower quality bodies. One of the places where they can cut cost is on its hinges. If you look at the hinges of a MacBook, when you open it, you'll notice that it opens really smoothly.
Most of the high-end laptops have great quality hinges, but if your hinges are not strong enough, take additional care of them.
Laptop hinge repair cost
Well, now if you have broken your hinge already, let's look at how much it costs to repair the hinge. We have given down below a guide to repairing a laptop hinge on your own, but if you have to take it to a service centre, prepare to shell a couple of 1000 bucks.
One of the major hindrances with repairing broken laptop hinges is the unavailability of parts. Most of the laptops which are old may not have the parts available. This can further drive the price up.
Some repair shops might choose to weld the hinge, which might be a bad option because the probability of it getting damaged again is pretty high.
Where to get the hinges from
I would suggest your first stop should always be the manufacturer. As I said, my issue with the hinge was with an Alienware laptop and so I contacted Dell, who promptly send me the hinges.
The hinges were relatively easy to replace and they were free since they were covered under accidental damage.
The second place to look for hinges is on websites such as Amazon or Flipkart, since they have
How to fix a broken hinge
It is not exactly rocket science to fix a laptop, but for some laptops, it can get quite complicated. This is because of how the hinge is attached to the bottom part of the laptop. I have an Alienware 15 R3 laptop, and it was pretty straightforward for me to fix the lid.
Most of the manufacturers does not care if you open the laptop, but for some, it might void the warranty. So take a look at if it voids the warranty or not. Mine didn't and the company was pretty cool about me opening the laptop.
So these are the steps for most laptops to replace the hinges
- Remove the power cable and make sure your laptop is disconnected from the power source
- Remove the screws from the bottom cover and gently open the bottom cover
- When removing the screws, laptops have multiple types of screws, so keep all screws together. You can put all screws from the bottom of the laptop together, all screws on the motherboard together and so on. Keep track of the size of the screws as well. Most laptops have screws of different sizes for the motherboard. Either keep it in writing or download a manual online for your laptop.
- Remove the battery from the laptop so that there is no power going to the laptop
- Remove SSDs, HDDs, RAM sticks and other removable components. Some laptops have removable WiFi adapters
- The hinges will mostly be below the motherboard, so you'll have to remove the motherboard.
- Remove the screws for the motherboard and remove all cables connecting the motherboard to the laptop. These include cables for the keyboard and LED strips on the side if any.
- Remove the cable for the display
- Remove all the cables connecting the display assembly to the base of the laptop
- Remove all screws connecting the display to the base of the laptop
- Gently remove the bezels from the display assembly. You can use a guitar pick or a flat head screwdriver to remove the bezels
- I would recommend a guitar pick for removing anything that is hard to remove as this will help in not damaging the laptop. Screw drivers are strong and if you put extra force, the laptop might break. On the other hand, if you use a guitar pick, the pick will break and they cost like 10 bucks
- Remove any screws attaching the hinge to the laptop
- Replace the hinge
- Assemble the laptop back to its original by following these steps backwards
All these are delicate steps and you might find that the laptop doesn't start or something doesn't work after you do these. Don't panic, most probably you might have missed connecting a cable properly. You might not have plugged in the jumper cable enough into it and so on. So don't panic and make things worse.
It is easier to keep your hinges from breaking than to replace the hinges. So always always always be careful with your laptop. It is easy to take things for granted and not care enough about how you use your laptop.
Replacing hinges is a relatively complicated process when compared to adding RAM or SSDs since you not only have to remove the back cover but also additional parts. Neverthless it is fun and easy and is a viable process if you have the tools.
Remember that prevention is better than cure and it is easier to be safe than sorry.