How you can find replacement parts? It’s a good thing that 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, view the page.
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. You must buy replacement ink cartridges from the manufacturer if you want to be sure you’re getting one that fits. Coffee machines, for example, often have replacement pots that are nearly as expensive as the new machine. Even car manufacturers know that the replacement parts market is profitable–if 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 fit only a limited number of models. In most cases, however, they are expensive because they are complex–and 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 nearly 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? Most local hardware stores carry numerous replacement parts. You can also check with the manufacturer. And internet sites offer millions of replacement parts for thousands of items. Simply use one of the search engines (Google, Yahoo) to find dozens of sources for nearly any part for anything manufactured in the last 30 years.
What can you do if the bad component is soldered? Soldering is simply attaching two objects together with a metal alloy, called solder, that melts at relatively low temperature, then hardens into a metal joint. The type of solder used depends on the job: joining copper pipe, electronic parts, or other components. Some solders require a cleaning agent first, called a flux. Other solders have the flux combined with the solder.
To remove a soldered part, first choose a soldering tool (iron, gun), solder, flux, and other tools based on the job you want to do. Read the instructions that come with the soldering tool. Typically that means heating the work (pipe, electrical connection, etc.) with the soldering tool, then touching the solder wire to the work (not the soldering tool) until the solder melts to form a union.