Spare Parts Change
Spare parts can change. A lot.
It is far from uncommon to find manufacturers changing spare parts during their life or indeed to extend the availability of a particular part. Or simply to replace one that is no longer produced.
It is very important to understand that we will usually have no notification of these changes whatsoever, manufacturers make so many of them so often than it wouldn’t be practical to do that. But, it does mean that images can be unreliable, sometimes extremely so, when identifying spare parts as very often stock images or older studio images are used by all spares suppliers and manufacturers.
The simple truth of it is, there is not enough financial incentive to continually update images as the profit margins in spare parts as well as the volumes involved make this unreasonable to try to accomplish.
Sometimes these changes are minor, such as a a badge removed or a colour change and sometimes that can be far more significant and can even involved changes to wiring, positioning and more.
Here we are trying to demystify some of the reasons and to better allow you to understand why the new spare part that you get might not be the same as the one that you are replacing. And to also help you to understand why we advise asking about spare parts before ordering in a good many cases.
Limited Runs & Volumes
When a manufacturer sets up to make an appliance they think in terms of thousands, tens of thousands and more. This huge volume makes it viable to produce spare parts that are relevant and even unique to a particular model or range as, they are ordering large volumes of these components or producing them in house.
When we look at spare parts this dwindles to hundreds or perhaps even a few score components that need to be held.
In a lot of cases that makes in not viable to produce more “unique” items or to order them in at anything like a sensible cost.
The solution is to use items that are in use elsewhere, de-badged, in another colour and so on.
These sorts of changes are common and an accepted industry practice like most you will read about here.
Most manufacturers, contrary to what most people might think, do not make all the components in any appliance themselves. Every single one of them contract out to have components supplied by third parties.
Commonly you will see drain pumps, control modules, suspension, heating elements and a whole lot more made by companies like Askoll, Plaset, Invensys, Irca, EGO and tons more that are common and an awful lot that aren’t so well known.
On occasion some of these suppliers will change or, they could even go bust leaving the the manufacturer with no option but to look for another supplier. Every time the supplier changes the spare part and often the spare parts number will be altered.
It is common to see several changes to a spare part over time, some we’ve seen more than thirty changes to.
This means that very often the replacement spare part will be different in some way from the original one used however it is still the genuine replacement spare part as per the manufacturer and as supplied by them.
What this means is that images can be unreliable and in most cases any numbers printed on the spare parts are often useless in identifying the spare part. This isn’t always the case but, for most it will hold true.
Upgraded Spare Parts
On occasion a manufacturer may find an issue in the field with a particular component but it’s not a major one. It could be use, power supply or whatever other reason to warrant upgrading the part.
It doesn’t really make any difference why, the fact is that the part may be upgraded or altered to take any issues that might be discovered sometimes even years after a machine has been taken off store shelves.
Once again in cases like this the part will change, be altered to suit the current requirement and the original item no longer available.
Getting A Like-For-Like Replacement Part
Often, if the part has been changed for any reason, the most common ones above, then the chances of getting a replacement part that is exactly identical to the original one is impossible.
All you will be able to get is the current and suitable replacement as per the manufacturer.
Spare Part Images
All of the above is why most manufacturers do not use or rely on images as, they will often become outdated in a short period of time as changes are made.
Mostly what you will see to identify most spare parts in a simple line drawing that will roughly represent the appliance, no more than that. Like this...
If you consider the sheer number of different models even from one brand, then the variety of ways that a component can be altered or even be completely changed this makes a lot of sense and, is actually less confusing than trying to look at thousands of images in some kind of spare parts mug-shot album of pictures. Many of which, if they've been changed, wouldn't look the same anyway.
As we've come into the internet age a lot of manufacturers are producing images of spare parts but we have found that these can be flaky as well as outdated as they will rarely be updated if changes are made.
Universal Spare Parts
These are the exception to the rule. Most often these are visually identified but, they are designed to fit many products and are not expected to be a like-for-like replacement, some minor alteration or modification is to be expected.
How much that is varies and how well they work in a particualr application also varies.
Ordering a Replacement Spare Part
All these factors and potential changes make selecting spare parts, for those that are unfamiliar with the industry, can make selecting the correct replacement part very confusing at times as there is a preset path to identifying the current and correct replacement part that we stress all the time:
Make/Brand >> Model Number >> Serial/Production Code >> Part Number
Getting to that part number is vital.
Get the wrong part number, the part will all too possibly be incorrect.
Every single manufacturer, without exception will change parts at some point. There is no doubt about this.
If anything in that chain of information is wrong, it’s all too possible that the part you order will be wrong.
Ordering spare parts from images alone is probably not going to get you the correct part, after all one pump looks like another, looks like another and you can apply the same logic to most spare parts, they will often look very similar if not identical in many instances. So, to do it visually is not a good idea.
We’re good at what we do and, we can sometimes identify spare parts visually, especially heating elements, filters and the like but for a good many parts even we wouldn’t attempt to do that and, we have a vast knowledge of spare parts as well as access to literally millions of spares. We strongly advise against less experienced people trying to identify solely based on images alone, especially so as we often wouldn’t dream of trying that.
We hope that this helps you to understand why a replacement spare part will often be slightly or even a lot different from the original and why correct upfront identification is so important.