I posted about replacement garden hose washers recently. I can’t find the comment, but someone said something about always ensuring they have the replacement parts they need on-hand.
Well, the rocker panel of my car was hanging low today, partially detached at the rear. The plastic clip, above, has a broken retainer and needs to be replaced.
Spending some time online, I can find similar clips, some with seals, others without. I can’t quite find this exact OEM clip, which will probably end up costing 10X as much from a dealership (which I’m still waiting to hear from). It looks like I’m also missing a couple of other clips, possibly due to having body repair work last summer, so I’ll need a few.
I’m heading out now to pick up a clip or two at the auto supply shop, to make sure the aftermarket clips are decent, after which I’ll likely order a pack of clips from Amazon at much lower pricing.
Things break. Sometimes it happens randomly or without known cause, such as with this side panel retainer clip, and other times it happens by accident, such as when attempting a different repair.
I’ve sheared off the heads of hex fasteners, stripped screws, and misplaced washers, although this doesn’t happen as often these days.
There’s no easy way to always have every part one might need. When prototyping or planning out projects, I tend to over-do it with my parts selection. Will I need 3/8″ length machine screws or 1/2″? What if I use a washer? I’ll buy both sizes, since the cost is usually far less than shipping fees if I make a mistake and need to place a second order.
What if I need to make a washer or gasket? Then I might order two or more sizes of gasket material, and maybe a second type of rubber.
But when replacement parts are needed, sometimes there’s no way it could have been anticipated. I don’t have side panel retaining clips on-hand because I’ve never needed them before.
While this is all very obvious, I’ve been asked about replacement part assortments before, and it’s always difficult to answer. I was also asked the other day about how to build a comprehensive on-the-road repair tool kit. I haven’t responded yet because I’m not sure how to answer that confidently. Just like there’s no way to stock up on potentially-needed replacement parts, it’s hard to know what tools you might need.
I replaced light bulbs in my first car, and spares came in handy. I replaced a bulb or two in my second car, but keeping spares would have been a waste.
I don’t know where my spare auto fuses are – I haven’t seen them in a few years. But I can tell you where my electrical prototyping fuses and holders are.
I have a tube of food-safe grease, and also some small individual-use tubes of SuperLube. I also have way oil and a couple of other lubricants. But, I’m sure that supply box will continue to grow over the years. If I need anti-seize compound, greases and oils won’t cut it.
Let’s say you have blue (temporary) and red (considered permanent) threadlocker on-hand. But if you come across a metal-plastic connection, you’ll need to use something different.
A quick search of Thingiverse turns up a potential 3D printable rocker molding clip. But I don’t have a 3D printer. Also, is that clip strong enough? Even if I did have a 3D printer, could it print nylon? Trim clips all seem to have 20mm x 12mm top head dimensions and stems for 9mm holes. Even if I had a 3D printer, and it could produce a clip as strong as the broken OEM clip, I need a rubber seal. On my broken clip, it’s integrated. On aftermarket clips, it’s a foam washer slipped over the step.
I don’t foresee a future where any and every replacement fastener I might need will always be at my fingertips.
No matter how well-stocked my spare parts cache, it’ll never be enough. I’m just glad that the auto parts store is only 15 minutes away, the dealership 20 minutes (if needed), and an Amazon order will get here by the weekend if I order tonight.