Q. How long should a vacuum last? Mine died after only two years!

A. According to our recent reliability survey, vacuums last a median of eight years, though that number varies widely by brand. "Before you toss your vacuum, make sure the problem isn't a broken belt or something else simple you can fix," says Dave Trezza, CR senior test project leader. If you need a new upright vacuum, ​consider a Shark or Kirby, which are among the more reliable brands. Miele and Panasonic are among the less trouble-prone canister vacuums.

Whether your vacuum cleaner is new or old, follow ​Dave's tips make it last longer:

  1. Don't let the bag or bin get filled to the brim, which can clog the machine.
  2. Clean or replace the filter​ whenever it's dirty.
  3. Every few weeks, clear the motorized brush of tangled hair, string, and other fibers, which can stress the motor.
  4. Check the hose for clogs occasionally.

For related information see our vacuum cleaner buying guide and ratings.

Send your questions to ConsumerReports.org/askourexperts.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the February 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.