Finding replacement parts can be daunting unless you know how and where to look for them.
Many fix-it materials and tools can be purchased at your local hardware store or home center.
When ordering parts, make sure you have the model number (right) and, if possible the part number (left).
Once you've figured out what's wrong with a household item, how are you going to get the parts to fix it? Fortunately, many parts are standardized and interchangeable. You may be able to pick up many of them at a nearby hardware store.
Standardized parts include screws, bolts, nuts, fuses, wire, cords, connectors, etc. Manufacturers use standardized parts not to make repairs easier for you, but to keep their manufacturing costs down. They can then buy millions of a specific screw at a fraction of a penny each.
Some parts are unique to the product. It may be because the manufacturer couldn't find a low-cost standardized part or because the manufacturer wants to corner the market on replacement parts as do some of the computer printer manufacturers. You must buy replacement ink cartridges from the manufacturer if you want to be sure you're getting ones that fit. Coffee machines, too, often have replacement pots that are nearly as expensive as the new machine. Even car manufacturers know that the replacement parts market is profitableif they use unique parts.
Some parts are relatively expensive, such as motors and controllers, costing half or more of the price of a new appliance. In some cases, the cost is because the parts are unique and only fit a limited number of models. In most cases, however, they are expensive because they are complexand necessary to operation. You won't find a replacement motor for your hair dryer at the hardware store. And if you do find one through the manufacturer's service department, it may cost as much as a new hair dryer.
Some parts are designed not to be replaced. They are sealed or otherwise installed so you can't replace individual parts. That's okay for things like circuit boards because you're not going to replace components on them. You'll simply pull the errant circuit board and install the replacement. However, some gadgets, such as cellular telephones, are difficult to even open (except the battery compartment); internal parts are not intended to be replaced by the owner. But even on an item like a cell phone, you can do a few things to fix or at least extend the life of the item.
Where can you get parts when you need them? You often can find them online through manufacturers, service centers, and parts retailers for many consumer items. By shopping around you can cut the cost of replacement parts. These resources often offer diagrams that can help you in disassembling and reassembling things.