Why Do Laptops Break So Easily? 8 Reasons

Laptops are pretty much a necessity in today’s world. These portable devices are vital for working remotely, but they’re also important for school and gaming purposes. But despite their undeniable importance, why do laptops break so easily? 

Laptops break so easily because they are built to break down over time, forcing buyers to purchase a new one or get parts to repair the old one. Several factors can affect how quickly your laptop will degrade, such as heat exposure, handling, usage, and the software. 

In the rest of this article, I will be going over how long laptops are generally built to last and the eight reasons yours might be breaking prematurely. 

So let’s dive right in and learn what things lead to laptop damage. 

a laptops screen breaking

How long can you expect a laptop to last?

One of the most important things to understand is how long laptops are built to last. 

And since these devices are designed to be condensed and portable versions of desktops, they tend to be less durable, especially when frequently used. 

You can expect a laptop to last 3-5 years, though this number can increase significantly depending on how well you take care of your laptop, perform regular maintenance, and your storage practices when the device is not in use. 

Though 3-5 years is generally how long laptops tend to last, you can certainly extend your laptop’s useful life with proper care and regular maintenance. 

Of course, you can also always opt for a desktop if you want a longer-lasting, less portable device for home or office use.  

1. Your laptop is getting too hot

a woman getting frustrated with an overheating and faulty laptop

One of the best ways to kill a laptop is by allowing it to overheat regularly. 

Laptops come with small, built-in fans to keep the units cool, but this will not be enough to prevent overheating if the devices are overworked.

To avoid overheating your laptop, you should never:

  • Run the device for too long without a break. If you use your laptop for extended hours and notice it’s starting to overheat, then it’s best to shut it down and give it some time to cool off.  
  • Leave your laptop somewhere warm. Leaving your computer exposed to the sun or in hot areas like a car is a recipe for disaster. Too much heat will affect the function of the device’s internal components, effectively increasing the risks of damage.  
  • Block the fan when your laptop is on. You should always avoid leaving your computer on fabric surfaces where the fan will struggle to circulate cool air. Therefore, always ensure your fan is exposed for it to function optimally. 

Ultimately, allowing your laptop to overheat regularly will significantly reduce its useful life, meaning you’ll need to make costly repairs or even purchase a new unit altogether. 

2. You’ve damaged your hard disk drive

laptop hard drive replacement

Another reason your computer might be breaking is hard drive damage. 

So what exactly does it mean to damage the hard drive disk, and why will this lead to your laptop breaking down?

Depending on the age and make of your laptop, it may have a hard disk drive (HDD). Otherwise, it should come with a solid-state drive (SSD).

However, if your device has an HDD, it’s more likely to get damaged since it’s a moving part and, therefore, more susceptible to rough movement.

To avoid this kind of damage, you will want to handle your laptop gently and avoid dropping or jarring the device in any way. 

While dropping your laptop can lead to hard drive disk defects, it can also damage other parts like the screen and keyboard.  

3. You’re being too rough with your laptop

a guy mishandling his laptop by dropping it

Just because you paid a ton of money for your laptop doesn’t mean it’s a metal tank that you can mishandle without any worry. 

Despite your laptop’s appearance, it’s still quite delicate and will need to be treated with utmost care. 

The leading cause of laptop damage is mishandling, either through falls or rough treatment. 

Not only could dropping or slamming a laptop onto surfaces lead to malfunctioning, but it can also damage the device completely.

To prolong your laptop’s life, you will want to handle it with care. This means never leaving it exposed or somewhere it could be damaged. 

Additionally, it would be best to always travel with your laptop in a padded traveling case. 

This bag is excellent for keeping your device safe, is super lightweight, and is made of high-quality fabric.

You should also pack your laptop alone without stuffing other items inside the bag. Handling your laptop with utmost care is a sure way to prevent unnecessary hardware damage. 

Ultimately, the best way to prolong your laptop’s life is to make sure it receives as few jarring drops as possible. 

When a laptop falls, this can dislodge necessary hardware or even break it, causing irreversible damage. 

4. You have been mishandling your charging cable

damaged charger cable for laptop

One of the most common culprits of laptop damage is charging cable mismanagement. 

So how can a charging cable affect your laptop’s overall function and performance

As the name suggests, the charging cable is responsible for powering your laptop. 

Therefore, if the cable is damaged, the laptop will not charge as expected, leading to unwanted outcomes such as gradual battery damage

The best way to avoid mishandling your charging cables is to:

  • Never move your computer around when it’s plugged in. If you are constantly picking up your laptop when it’s plugged in, this can kink the cable and gradually damage the charging port.
  • Avoid pinching your charging cable indoors, behind dressers, or other household objects. If it’s a tight squeeze to plug your cord into an outlet, you are bending your cable less than ideal and should find a different outlet. 
  • Replace the charging cable immediately when the charging process slows down. When a cable isn’t giving off the right amount of voltage to the battery, it can lead to overheating and gradual battery damage, reducing the device’s useful life.  

Ultimately it’s essential to be careful with your cables to ensure you don’t damage your laptop unknowingly. 

This means keeping an eye out for anything that may damage your charging cable and the charging port

5. You are opening and closing your laptop incorrectly

guy with his hand over his mouth looking at the broken hinge on his laptop

Hinges are one of the most frequently damaged parts of a laptop. 

This is because they are so small, fragile, and are used multiple times a day. 

While you can’t avoid using hinges to open your laptop, there are a few things you can do to protect its hinges from damage. 

How to make sure your laptop’s hinges don’t wear out prematurely:

  • Gently open and close your laptop. By maneuvering your laptop more carefully, you will put less pressure on the hinges, effectively reducing the chances of damage. 
  • Limit how often you are opening and closing your laptop. Opening and closing your laptop less frequently will help your hinges last longer. 
  • Replace the hinges if they grow stiff. If you notice your laptop has become increasingly challenging to use, consider taking it in for repair and have the hinges replaced before they become too broken. 

Hinge replacement costs can significantly range, but the more minor the damage, the cheaper it will be on your wallet to replace it.

It is advisable to handle hinges with care. While repairing hinges might make sense for some brands, you might need to make full replacements altogether. 

Fixing hinges as a DIY project isn’t advisable as you can worsen the situation. 

For best outcomes, it’s best to leave the repair work to experienced professionals. 

6. You’re not allowing your laptop’s fan to breathe

a woman using a laptop on her bed inhibiting the cooling system of it

I touched on the importance of allowing your fan to breathe earlier, but I want to briefly describe how important it is to allow your laptop fan to breathe. 

Now, what exactly do I mean by letting your fan breathe?

Every laptop has small hole-like slats on the side where the fan can suck in the fresh air and spit out old air to cool itself. 

However, excessive heat can prove damaging to laptops, so anything that might impede the use of your fan is a danger.

The best way to keep your fan in peak condition is to:

  • Avoid placing your laptop on soft surfaces like carpets, blankets, or clothing. 
  • Keep your laptop away from dirty, dusty surfaces.
  • If you notice the fan is struggling, move it to a flat surface. 

A laptop fan can easily suck in lint and dust, which more often than not leads to gradual breakdown. 

Therefore, if you notice your fan struggling, you should consider replacing it to avoid worsening the situation and dealing with multiple repairs.  

If your device usually overheats or overworks the fans, I recommend this cooling pad. 

This cooling pad is slim, portable, and has three ultra-quiet fans.

7. You haven’t taken steps to prevent viruses

virus letters in red amongst binary code to represent a computer virus

Computer viruses cannot physically damage a computer; they can, however, ruin some of the programs that control particular hardware, such as your fan, leading to overheating and gradual breakage over time.

If you’ve owned a computer for more than a few years, it’s good to check that your virus protection is updated and that everything functions as required

Computer viruses aren’t quite as common nowadays, but it’s still important to be vigilant when visiting unknown websites. 

Ensuring your computer is fully protected from malware and viruses is a great way to prolong its useful life and prevent premature breakdown. 

However, it is best to settle for reputable companies with several positive reviews when choosing virus prevention software. 

8. You’re not keeping up with your laptops updates

a laptop in the process of updating

Like viruses, failure to update your laptop regularly won’t lead to physical damage. 

However, it can cause your laptop to function sluggishly or crash. 

Ensuring your laptop has updated software guarantees smooth function, especially if you take good care of the device. 

Pro tip: You should never shut off your laptop during an update as it may malfunction and lead to data loss. 

Frequently asked questions 

Next, I will answer a few frequently asked questions about laptops and their lifespans. So let’s dive right in. 

Q: How do most laptops break?

Most laptops break due to falls or severe damage like being stepped on, crunched in a car door, or abuse. As a result, you should always take good care of your laptop, paying close attention to where you store it. 

It is also advisable to carry your laptop in secure, well-padded bags to provide extra protection. 

Q: Is it bad to use your laptop a lot?

It’s not bad to use your laptop for prolonged periods, provided you keep it charged. However, you shouldn’t allow your device’s battery to drain completely as a good rule. Draining your battery frequently increases the chances of permanent damage, which can break your laptop and leave it unusable. 

Q: Can a laptop survive a fall?

Laptops can survive a fall depending on how far they fall and the kind of landing surface. Most laptops are designed to withstand minor falls. However, it would help if you never allowed your laptop to fall as the device has delicate components that require utmost care. 

Final thoughts 

Ultimately many factors can cause a laptop to break easily, but there are several things you can do to ensure your device lasts as long as possible. 

Just remember:

  • Keep your laptop cool.
  • Be gentle when handling your device.
  • Treat your charging cable with respect.
  • Carefully open and close your laptop.
  • Allow your device’s fan to breathe.
  • Avoid viruses and keep your software up to date. 

Laptops aren’t built to last forever as most last an average of 5 years. 

However, If you follow these steps, you should be able to prolong your laptop’s useful life by several years.