A letter from Scotland


#1

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


#2

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


#3
  • 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.


#4

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.