I have lost count of the number of, appliances, computers, cell phones and other pieces of equipment that I have had to lay aside, dispose of or replace for lack of repair parts. It seems I have a knack for purchasing equipment that becomes outdated minutes after I purchase it. 

At our house, something is always in need of service or adjustment. A gizmo breaks down and I have to repair it. Determining the problem usually isn’t that difficult. But finding the replacement part can be more challenging than the actual repair. I contact the manufacturer to order a part, wait on hold for an hour only to be given bad news. The customer service rep tells me that my device is no longer supported and the parts are no longer in production. 

If it were some big major part that broke down, I would probably agree that replacing the device with a newer model was the best option. But much of the time the problem is caused by some tiny, inexpensive and seemingly insignificant part.  But that minor part is often impossible to find. I have a small plastic piece for my truck that I have been trying to find for two years. It is listed on more than 40 websites, but all state that it is no longer available.

Recently my dishwasher stopped working. Upon investigation, I found that a small plastic fitting that holds the lower spray arm in place had broken. The dishwasher is more than 10 years old, but it is in great condition and works great, or it did until that part malfunctioned. The repair would take less than five minutes once I had the new part, so I began my search.

The manufacturer listed the part on their website but said it was no longer available. They told me that my perfectly good dishwasher was obsolete and said they could not assist me.  I visited several other websites that sell after-market parts but ran into the same problem. 

My frustration level began to increase. That tiny little plastic part was the only thing keeping a perfectly good dishwasher from working. I attempted to glue the old part back together, but it failed miserably minutes after starting a load of dishes.

I searched for more than a week and finally found the part on EBAY. The vendor said it was available and in stock. Unfortunately, I would have to wait several months to receive it because it was being shipped from China. 

That highly important and necessary part only cost me $3.75. Without that discontinued part, I would have had to spend $400 or more for a new dishwasher. 

Recently my son and I decided to do some maintenance work on our camper. He worked on the outside, while I worked inside. It was brutally hot, so I decided to start up the AC unit and make the inside more comfortable.

During our last campout, that AC unit had malfunctioned. The main blower fan had cracked and broken. A fellow camper managed to piece it back together, but also warned us that it probably would not last.

He was right. The moment I turned it on, it came apart again. The heat inside the camper was almost unbearable, but I went ahead and completed my project.  

Apparently it was my week for things to break down. The intense heat had caused the rear view mirror to fall off the windshield of my vehicle.  I found it lying on the floor. It was an easy and inexpensive repair, but one I could have happily lived without. 

The AC unit on our RV will need a new blower wheel. It’s just a small plastic part, but the AC won’t work without it. Much to my dismay, I discovered that the manufacturer is no longer offering heating or cooling units or even repair parts for RVs. I spent most of the weekend searching the Internet for a part that might work. 

I finally found an exact replacement on EBAY. But you guessed it, the part was out of stock. The seller had sold more than 600 of the fans, but said he didn’t expect to receive any more. 

I continued the search and several hours later came across a part that the vender said would be a compatible replacement. There were only two left, so I wasted no time buying it. 

I found out later that this particular part is known for having a high failure rate in these units. I probably should have purchased both of them. 

A new AC unit for our camper would have set us back about $900. The part I needed cost less than $30. It would have been a shame to get rid of a perfectly good unit for the lack of a $30 part, and then have to spend so much for a new one. 

At that point, I probably would have just sold the camper.

So many of the things that I own are old enough that if they ever break down, I will probably have trouble finding parts. I am still clinging to several items that I hope to get operating, but the chances seem slim to none.  I should throw them away, but I just can’t bring myself to do that.

So now I am waiting for the part for my AC to arrive. When it does, I will climb up on the RVs roof, totally dissemble the AC unit, and make the repair. It won’t be any fun, but I will get it running again.

I can’t help but wonder what gizmo or gadget will be next on my to-do list. Whatever that is, I hope it will be in a cool, comfortable place with readily available parts.

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