Plan Your Project

No matter what you’re fixing, you can save time by spending some time on planning. Whether you are tackling small engine repair, wallpaper repair, whirlpool bath repair, gas oven repair, or any other repair, planning your project will increase your efficiency. Once you’ve figured out what’s wrong with your broken item, gathered the parts and tools, and planned when and where you’ll fix it, the repair is more than half done. The actual repair is relatively easy.

Parts for your Project

 Plan Your Project

Nearly every household product you purchase has an owner’s manual with it. Save it! Write the date of purchase on it and file it somewhere you can easily find when you need it.

How will you know what parts you need? Many consumer products, especially electronics, have owner’s manuals. However, even unassembled furniture, toys, and vehicles have manuals available for them either through the manufacturer or through a publisher. You often can get a copy of an owner’s manual for newer products online.

Fix-It Tip
Keep notes! Make notes and diagrams as you disassemble any item. Jot down model numbers and parts numbers. Then when it comes time to shop for parts and then re-assemble the item, even if it’s a few weeks later, you’ll be prepared.

 Plan Your Project

Better owner’s manuals include exploded views of the device, parts lists, and troubleshooting charts that make fixing the device much easier.

An Owners Manual

Why do you need the manual? Not only do product manuals typically include a troubleshooting chart, some also have a drawing of the product with specific information about parts, including numbers, and where to get them. Drawings typically are exploded views that show how the item is assembled–quite handy for taking it apart and putting it back together.

Model and Serial Number

Many consumer products include information about the model and serial number. The model number indicates which design it is; the serial number is unique to each item. For example, a video camera model number may be CCD-TRV87 and the serial number 74596. The manufacturer, Sony in this case, probably made at least 74,000 of these units numbered from 00001 to whatever. (It could have started numbering anywhere, actually.) Though the model number is the same for all of them, the manufacturer may have made a slight modification in parts at, say, the fifty thousandth unit, so the serial number is important.

Knowing model and serial numbers is important to finding replacement parts that fit. These numbers typically are included on a plate or stamping on an underside of the product. Ovens often have them on a plate attached to the inside of a door jamb. In addition, major components, such as a motor, typically include a model and probably a serial number that can be used to find a replacement. It’s often helpful to take the part you need to replace to the parts store with you.

You will dramatically reduce the time needed to fix things if you have a handy place and a set of tools to do the job. Even if it’s just a cardboard box with a few tools in it, having a regular work place will simplify the repair.