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Repair Parts : What info is needed?

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RepairClinic.com - Online appliance parts, FREE repair advice

Unlike the auto industry which use the serial or VIN number, the model number is the key reference to the appliance you have. The appliance's serial number may identify the age of the product but generally is of little use otherwise (although there are some exceptions). Whenever inquiring about your appliance, you should have at least the brand name and the model and serial numbers off it.

Generally speaking, any information besides the appliance's brand name found in plain view on the front face of an appliance like "Series 60" (or 70, 80, 90), "Kenmore 20", "XL44", "Heavy Duty", "Fabulous 400", etc. is just a marketing name and is usually of little use in identifying the actual appliance you have.

The appliance's model number will only be reliably found right on the appliance's model and serial number identification tag. Contrary to their name, model numbers will usually consist of letters, numbers and often dashes and sometimes dots as well and not just numerical digits.

To get replacement parts for your appliance next you'll need to know which part(s) you require. Each and every part of an appliance down to the individual screws has a part number. This is the means by which a specific component of your appliance can be identified and ordered. With a model number you can look up a part number. With the part number you can order the part.


Model Number > Part Number > Part


If you don't have access to a parts list or breakdown for your appliance (see our Parts Lists section), you may be able to get a part number right off the defective component. If possible, look on the old part to see if it is stamped with a part number to identify it. Most electrical components along with many molded plastic parts will. However, some manufacturers only put manufacturing codes on them which cannot be traced. Part numbers may consist of letters, numbers and dashes. Just numbers are the most common though.

If you find a number on the original part consisting of only 4 numerical digits grouped together (eg. 8912, A8912C) it is likely just the manufacturer's date code for that part. In the examples shown, it would indicate the part was manufactured in the 12 week of 1989. Needless to say, this would not be sufficient information to identify a replacement.

Although sometime the parts depot may be able to tell from your problem description which part is required, don't expect it! Appliance styles vary widely between brands and without seeing your unit, most clerks would only be able to guess at the cause. That is not the proper (nor cost effective) way to go about servicing your appliance.

Don't be intimidated if you don't know what a part is called. Try describing where it's located or what it looks like. If all else fails bring the original part or a photo and all number printed on it to a local appliance parts supplier as a sample, along with the product brand and model number of course.

Note! Note: Oven and refrigerator thermostats usually have a sensor bulb attached to them that may appear to be a bare ground wire. If taking one of these as a sample, don't cut it! Most true ground wires in appliances will be colour coded green. And remember, always disconnect the power before servicing your appliance.

Be sure to read "Don't be surprised" before ordering or purchasing any replacement parts for your appliances.

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