$150, Ten Cent part. Why, why, why, not to mention the waste


#1

A few weeks ago both, talk about timing, left windows of the 89 Maxima with PW, decided to let go and both windows drifted down all the way to the bottom. Nothing new there.

However, as I had replaced an equally failed PW on my minivan about 6 months ago, I figured this two was a case of a 10Cent plastic part failed… I got cheap replacements on the internet and replaced one last weekend, then examined the broken unit.

Absolutely nothing really wrong with it othyer than a small plastic piece abotu 1" long and 1/4" cross section groken off where the cable mates with the window elevator.

So I spent $75 (not including a possible $150 labor) for a weak/failed $10 Cent part.

Why can’t I get the 10 cent part, why do I have to throw away $74.90 of perfectly good parts to obtain a 10C part.

If we really really want to save the atmosphere and wasted materials and energy, why not start here…

btw, I have figured, with a lump of “JB weld” I can have spares for when the cheap spares also break, as I can glue the cable to the remaining plastic bit…



Which reminds me, I once paid $120 for a Toyota gearstick on which another 10C part had failed, but again was unobtainable without the $119.90 perfectly good parts.



Tom & Ray if you want to add another rant to your rave about wasting energy, here is one. Cut out the junk creation.




#2

Sounds to me like you answered your own question. You can use JB Weld to re-mate the platic part to the cable, or spend $150 on a new part that has both parts already factory-fused together. Your DIY solution might work, or it might fail again in a couple weeks, in which case you have another saturday afternoon down the drain. But it is your choice. Fix the part yourself, or buy (and pay a lot more) a replacement part.


#3

Actually the real solution would be to use a metal part that could hold up longer.

This happens ALL the time. What’s the old saying…“A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.” Well this 10 cent part is it’s weakest link. Manufacturers try to cut costs, so they theorize what part they can make real cheap. Many times they pick the wrong part and then there’s a very high failure rate. This type of thinking is NOT just in the automotive industry. Pretty much every manufacturing sector world wide.

And finding a replacement part is almost impossible. First off it’s NOT in the manufacturers best interest to sell a 10 cent part. They will actually loose money on that deal. So they incorporate it into another part that costs many times more so they can meet their profit goals.


#4

Very little is repaired on automobiles today. We just REPLACE entire components. Not too many years ago it was unheard of to replace a starter or generator or fuel pump. These parts were rebuilt and re-installed by mechanics. Today, hub assemblies are prone to fail and often cost over $100. Just a few years ago we dismantled and SERVICED front hubs, replacing only the failed parts for a few dollars. And if you look a few years earlier, front end parts were rebuilt. King pins, wrist pins, etc were repaired compared to replacing the ball jooints today. It’s all much simpler and easier and cost effective for the manufacturer with no concern for the future servicing.


#5

Ever hear the expression, stuff rolls downhill? You, my friend, are at the bottom of the hill, sitting in a gully.

Have you forgotten that it costs money to manufacture extras of those parts, inventory them, provide a method for dealers to order them and then process handling of the parts when sent to the dealer? They do what’s in their best interest. That means, they stock only an upper level assembly that makes sense for them and their dealers. In most cases, it is still cheaper for them to replace a whole sub-assembly due to the labor costs being the primary driver. After all, they are just passing those costs along to the final consumer. The only time they will separate out a part like that is if it is costing them money in warranty work. Then they might consider stocking a small part like that and doing the labor to replace just that part.

I fixed a power seat for a friend once. I was astounded that the dealer carried the gear that failed. In fact, they even had one on hand. I asked if they had a big demand for the part and the counter guy said he was surprised they had them too. So there are exceptions to the rule…


#6

I agree with TwinTurbo. The process of manufacturing, shipping, and stocking a 10 cent part always must be figured in.
About a year ago I needed a dinky little plastic part that was a dealer only item and amazingly enough, the dealer had it.

The part retailed to me for 37 cents and it took the parts man almost 10 minutes to search for and find this item. I was then sent to the cashier who spent several minutes processing the paperwork. The cost of looking for this part, checking me out, and the paperwork processing pretty much assures the dealer is losing money on this item.

Just an FYI. If one is mechanically minded and creative enough one can always work around a failed 10 cent part. Example.
When a dinky plastic lock rod or door latch clip on a door lock assembly breaks I replace them with spring steel carburetor linkage clips. Problem solved forever at a dirt cheap price.

Something to keep in mind. Do not blame the dealers for selling an assembly instead of a small part. Many times an assembly is the only way the dealer can obtain the part and no amount of screaming on the dealer’s part will get the tiny part needed. Blame should be placed on the car makers but from their point of view manufacturing, stocking, and handling
thousands of tiny parts will be a money losing proposition.


#7

In my career I have installed alot of window regulators/motors.I had no idea how many of these gave trouble,cheap cars or expensive didn’t matter.As you say it was usually something simple about the regulator.Now the Caprice/Impala (mid-90’s) it was always the little plastic rollers that connected the glass to the regulator.In this case we were allowed to just replace the wheels,but that was a exception.


#8

My complaint is when a whole unit is sealed and the internal parts can’t be replaced even if one wanted to try. I just had the transmission fail on my rototiller which I paid $375 for seven or eight years ago. My guess is that the unit has a couple of sprockets and a chain. The teeth are probably rounded off one of the sprokets. The replacement unit was $155 plus shipping and tax which brought the cost up to $187. I finally paid the price since the engine and chassis of the tiller are still good. I’m certain that the same thing is true on different parts for automobiles. In times past, however, I found it more practical to exchange a carburetor for a rebuilt unit rather than purchasing a rebuilt kit. It was also more practical for me to exchange a generator for a rebuilt unit than to replace the brushes. Of course this was the days when the exchange price was about $15- $20.