A letter from Scotland

Dear Tom & Ray,

Your recent hyperbole about the decreasing number of spare parts remaining after each job, as a metric of improving mechanical ability, had me chuckling merrily.

It’s a wonderful evening here in Bonnie Scotland and having just completed the replacement of some corroded oil cooler pipes on my beloved Mazda Rx8, I find myself accompanied not only by some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere in the world, but also my laptop, 3 screws and a rubber thing.

I’m at a complete and total loss to explain these leftover parts. I cannot think were they would fit and the car operates perfectly. Since you are experienced in these matters, can you please share professional advice on what I should do next.

Yours Sincerely,

Craig, near Glasgow in Bonnie Scotland

Tom & Ray have retired. However, hang onto those parts. After the “Yes” for independence you may need them.

  • Often times one disassembles many parts of …what is an assembly when the replacement parts are purchased.
    You could have some of those parts left.
  • Sometimes there are many screws holding brackets, covers, trim, etc. and you fudge a bit when reassembling because those you use seem like plenty.
  • Sometimes replacement parts come with a CHOICE of possibly needed pieces and it’s understood you’ll have some of those left like screws, bolts, and seals ,
    and, where you re-use your originals even though they sent new ones or vice versa…

These theories also aptly apply to home repair as well. I have had MANY left over parts while assembling plumbing, furniture, and toys.

My first experience with repairing anything was at the age of about 5, when my Robert The Robot toy stopped working. Without my parents’ knowledge, I took it apart and–believe it or not–I was able to get it working again.

However, I had a part of some kind left over after I had reassembled it and verified that my repair worked. At that point, I decided that if it was working, there was no sense opening it up again.

My mother then realized that I had fixed “Robert”, and she asked, “What was wrong with him?”. I held up the extra part and announced, “He had too many parts, so I removed one of them!”

Even as a child I had some mechanical aptitude and–apparently–an appreciation of the concept of irony.