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Those Terrible Plastic Pushpin Panel Retainers

Whose brilliant idea were those things anyway? The first door panels I ever had to remove had these really nice trim head screws with nice little trim grommets. They looked fine. You just take the screws out, remove the panel, do whatever, replace the panel and put the dumb screws back in.

I hate those plastic push pin things. Even with a panel removal tool they are basically single use if you want them to hold right. (I also always buy high mileage used cars and often find I’m not the first to remove the panels).

Anyway, I have bought the complete junk replacements at auto parts stores. Since they are junk I’m not happy with them.

I hesitate to order online since the quality will be unknown up front and I’m likely to get the same junk I can get at an auto parts store.

Does anyone know of the best place to buy good quality replacements that are actually designed for your application and are not complete junk? If it is the OEM dealer, then I suppose so be it.

Right now I need them for GM and Ford.

I was very heavy into interior trim issues during my years at various Dealerships and I had no problem requesting new retainers and GM had no problem paying for them. The parts guys got to know that everytime I did a job like a window regulator I would also request the retainers, parts dept did not mind, they added their little markup, so the answer is Dealer for these items. Some are two part, and the worst ever were the Venture Vans, one time use for sure.

Certain aftermarket retainers are good but not the ones at auto part stores. The good ones are at auto body supply stores. It’s either that or the dealer which of course carry good ones.

Thanks guys. Assuming that oldschool was basically right I called a GM dealer this morning. They had only 7 of these in stock (I want to do all of them on both doors = 26) and they wanted a bit more than $1 each. I was not feeling especially grumpy this morning so I didn’t get irritated and say that charging $1 for a $.03 item is why no one wants to use dealers for parts or service.

Anyway, with meaneyedcatz post it suddenly occurred to me that I drive past an automotive paint supply shop everyday. (I’d never thought of it much since I don’t do my own paint). But I stopped in and sure enough they did have them - exact match and same supplier as GM. I went ahead and sprung for a box of 50 at $.16 each.

So I am good to go. Many thanks for the advice.

"Whose brilliant idea were those things anyway?"
In a way, us consumers. We want the cars to be as inexpensive to buy as possible. The plastic push pins are a lot less labor for the factory to install than screws would be, and they are very cheap to make.

Whose brilliant idea ?

The assembly line.

Screws are more time consuming and require actual human involvement.

I thought about the line and ease of installation - and I’d just be perplexed if it really was faster and easier.

Its just that installing those panels with pushpins is not a quick and easy process. My current panels have 13 different pins, and they are not aligned in any simple geometric pattern that is easy to keep track of. All of the pins have to go onto the back of the panel before you can apply it. Then all 13 of these have to simultaneously line up in exactly the right 13 spots while you can’t see what you’re doing or easily make adjustments.

I guess I’d just have to imagine the difference with brand-spanking new parts and how much easier it is to get all of the right things to line up? B/c as far as I am concerned an install with screws would be a lot faster than messing around with those flimsy, invisible things hiding behind the panel.

Tour a factory and watch them (robots usually) slap the panel on in a second or two.

Fair enough then. I should know better than to read too much from my own actual human and tactile experience. I still hate those dang things

When will we get the robot that will actually do my job but also leave me with the paycheck?

I can’t remember the title, but there is a sci-fi book about that premise. In the book, things work out pretty well for the ones who own the robots, but not so well for most of the rest of the now unemployed people.

Go to your auto body supply wholesaler. W&E or Auveco are the best brands for these.

Thanks much. I ended up with the Auvecos form the local body supplier - but am happy to also have those links for future needs.

We use the Auvecos in our shop. Good fastener.

Dune is something like that except the robots once owned the people. It’s a long time in the future but the galaxy is right here.

Screws with nice little grommets not only cost more to install, they also cost more to buy and the manufacurer also has to then purchase, inventory, and kit three parts for each installation instead of one.

It could be a lot worse. While the concept of reducing unnecessary parts and operations is a truely powerful way to reduce costs and opportunities for problems, it does often necessitate buying new fasteners when the originals have to be removed.

It could be worse. Aircraft use aluminum panel screws around magnetic flux valve panels (parts of the navigation systems). When we used to have to remove the panels in North Dakota in extreme cold such as -30F and below, the heads would pop off. You haven’t suffered until you’ve popped a bunch of panel screws on a -30F flightline with winds gusting to 30 mph. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.