How to Locate Hard to Find Parts

The process of finding replacement parts for broken or missing items has changed considerably in recent years. The Internet provides a vast pool of resources for finding parts for everything from cars to electronic equipment to vintage games and toys. Here are some tips for how to locate hard-to-find parts.


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    Check the manufacturer's website. Manufacturers don't have to continue to make parts for products they no longer sell, but some do. Others provide links on their websites to third-party sellers of replacement parts.
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    Search the Internet for the manufacturer's name and the phrase "replacement parts." This will help you find sellers of original, refurbished or even replica parts for your item.
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    Search the Internet for the part number. If you know the part or model number of your item, this can help you find the item, even if the manufacturer's name is not listed or misspelled.
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    Contact salvage yards. For car and large appliance parts, junkyards can be an affordable resource for parts. Some salvage yards also specialize in house parts, including windows, doors, fixtures and hardware.
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    Buy the item used. If you're looking for parts for computers or other electronics, it can be cost effective to purchase a broken item used. For example, if you need to replace a cracked screen on an old smartphone, buying a non-working smartphone on an auction site gives you a fresh screen to use, along with other parts that may be useful later. Auction websites, secondhand stores, schools and large companies can be sources of outdated electronic equipment.
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    Buy several sets of the same item. If you're looking for parts for old games or toys, often the best way to get a complete set is to buy several used versions. Each one will typically have a different combination of present and missing parts, allowing you to make one complete set.
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    Advertise for the item you need. If there's a part you want, consider advertising for it. There may be others out there who have what you need. In fact, there are parts swap sites for various items where you may be able to trade extra parts you already have for those you seek.
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    Look for collector groups. Many long-defunct manufacturers have fan clubs on the Internet. For example, Minneapolis Moline, a farm implement manufacturer that went out of business in 1974, has a number of websites devoted to collectors. These can help you find people who have or know where to find the parts you need.


  • Consider looking for car parts at salvage yards other locations. If you live in a place where road salt is used in the winter, you may find that older cars are harder to find in junkyards, since salt causes cars to rust after only a few years of exposure. Try contacting salvage yards in places where road salt is not used, and cars (and their parts) last considerably longer.

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Categories: Hardware Maintenance and Repair