Get Those Spare Parts Sooner Rather Than Later
I have a note sitting on my desk. It reads, “Spare Parts”. It’s a reminder to have a look around to determine if and what I might need for spare parts having to do with any and all of my operating equipment, etc..
It’s sensible to have spares and spare parts on hand, especially for what may be considered ‘essentials’. There are a number of reasons why you might consider acquiring spare parts – sooner, rather than later. A few thoughts…
The life cycle of a given product may be relatively short. Lets say a number of years goes by. Suddenly you need a spare part for “it”. But they don’t make the product any more. Maybe you’ll find that replacement part, maybe you won’t. Okay, granted, respectable companies will keep an inventory of spare parts for older products for a period of time (if they can get them). And some 3rd-party manufacturers may produce some of these commonly used spare parts for awhile. But if you picked up the spare part(s) earlier, you would be better prepared for when you actually need it.
I wrote that note to myself because of two things. One, I had recently done maintenance on my snow-blower. Though not needed (yet), there are two belts that I should have as spares. Spark plug too. If a belt were to break – it’s going to happen while I’m using it. Rather than not being able to move the snow for days while I wait for a part, I could simply replace it on the spot and get back to work. It also got me to thinking about some of my other operational equipment…
The other reason for the note. Ongoing concern about supply chains and availability – coupled with the troubling political climate around the globe. Most things we use here in the U.S. are made overseas. Especially at one particular place. You know the one… China. It’s just the way it is. But lets say, “what if” they were to ever move on Taiwan (widely believed as a real possibility in our relatively near future). An escalation could leave us pretty much screwed here in America – if product from China were slowed or shut off due to U.S. intervention in what would become, ‘war’?
Listen, I’m not saying it’s going to happen. But we’re living in pretty uncertain times, and it’s sensible to be prepared to a reasonable extent. And that includes acquiring spare parts for your ‘stuff’.
There’s another reason to acquire spare parts. Convenience. Things will break at the least opportune times. If you anticipated the problem well beforehand and purchased that part, well, you’ve saved the hassle of scrambling to get it (assuming they still make the part you need!).
Look around. There are certain things, products, appliances, kitchen fundamentals, filters, machines, vehicles, tools, firearms, lawn tractors/mowers, farm/garden equipment, chain saws, plumbing systems, electrical systems, hardware, HVAC systems, laundry, whatever (the list could become quite long!)…that may eventually require a replacement “this” or “that”. Spares and spare parts.
From your own experience with the products you’ve owned — you know what those parts are (the one’s that tend to break, wear out, or need replacement).
Look at your essential systems first. Examine each one. What makes it ‘tick’… Research what may commonly break or need replacement. Then acquire it.
Systematically go through your house, your shop/garage, and outdoor area. First consider what you might value as essentials. Determine if there any practical spare parts or spares to have on hand for these. Look around. Look at what you have. Maybe room by room. Is there anything that stands out whereby you might think about getting a spare (or spare part within that may tend to wear out or break)?
Given today’s climate of uncertainty, why not get those spare or replacement parts now rather than later?
Again, just pointing out some practical, sensible, preparedness. Two is one, and one is none.
A Pull Saw for your Carpentry Tool Box
Run Your Generator Several Times a Year
Sea Foam Motor Treatment For Combustion Chamber, Injectors, Carburetor
Talk about a challenge, trying to determine what parts on a generator (AND the 500 other essential things) you should get….
I would suggest first figuring out exactly what ‘things’ you need to survive. Get a 100% replacement part (a second or third one) of that generator you will need. Than go from there.
Yes, 2 is 1, 1 is zero. But I would not get 2, or more, freezers if you anticipate “Lights Out” better off getting more basic gear.
But that’s just my 2 cents worth, or 1 cent worth, or zero cents worth.
When I said ‘two is one and one is none’, in the context of this article I was referring to spare parts – as opposed to entire spare products…
It may seem challenging, but, there are usually just one or two (or thereabouts) common spares for many things. Obviously depends on what we’re talking about.
And yes, I advised beginning with examining whatever the ‘essentials’ are for your own situations.
5 generators, none identical but parts may be swappable between the wenpower 3.5k and the b&s 4k.
The well pump, we have 4 gens that will operate it.
I see my little 1.2k champion doing a lot of work until I burn it out, I put 2oz of slick50 in the oil, dunno if that really helps or not.
A big thing for generators and other gas motors that often go very long times between uses is to always drain the carburetors of gas before they sit. I have valves in the fuel line between the tank and carb on my generators, tiller, etc. Makes it easy to run carb dry and to drsin the tank.
Amazon now has cheap Chinese carbs for most chainsaws and lawn equipment. We’re talking like $10-20 bucks often less than the cost of an overhaul kit for that carb. Some are crap but most I’ve bought were fine for a few years. This makes picking up a spare carb (one of the more common failure areas) for a saw or genny very reasonable.
I also use Lucas fuel treatment in the fuel
While you are getting the extra pump, there are specialized connections required for some that require a stepped down fitting on SOME. We had to go 80 miles one time to find this part. is a specialized manufacture.3/4″ on one side and 1/2″ on other side or similar change. …., faucets- hydrants,and protections for those.
..also.. if your well is more than 10-15 years old without having been pulled, you may need to also install new line to the pump when it is replaced.you may need pipe glue and conditioner depending on type of tubing/water line used.
When this is done you would also need electrical tape/waterproof tape to secure electrical lines to tubing.
….Points for the top,( spiders, frogs and small snakes get in there and fry them.
Electrical meters/ continuity testers..
Here’s the deal. Post shtf there are going-to-be tons of spare parts everywhere, for everything … if you manage to last long enough for things to break down. The key is to have a good mechanic, a good electrician, a good medic and/or surgeon, a good HVAC guy, a good electronics repairman and even a good plumber as part of your post SHTF circle. Parts will be there … having someone that knows how to adapt and install them is the biggie. Oh, and having the tools like surgical kits, soldiering irons, microscopes and magnifiers, a good selection of hose clamps, screws, nuts and bolts, nails, a cutting torch, so-on and so-forth. The parts are gonna eve there, everywhere, but the question remains … will you know what to do with them?
As a long time shooter/reloader I have extra powder scale and dial calipers that are non-electronic. I made the switch to electronic scale and calipers years ago but I kept the high quality and expensive manual scale and calipers as a non-battery back-up to my electronic tools. Battery powered electronics are convenient…as long as they are working and until the batteries leak. As I get older, I am finding it easier to read the digital readout on the new electronic scales and calipers. The price is also dropping as these tools are gaining acceptance among old guys like myself. (they do save time and are as reliable as the old manual tools).
Now would be a good time to mention: Gunmag Warehouse. It has been a pleasure dealing with this company.
Cali, purchased from them over the years, good place.
A truly stellar company
One way to research is look at product reviews online. When you see multiple failures of a component on your research item, that would be a good component to have a spare for.
Another way is look at your records for maintenance items. If you had to replace something in the past, you may want a part on hand.
Look at your owner’s manual. They frequently list items that wear out. Get them.
Iron on patches, fabric glue, any repair kits, spare innertubes, get what you can or get spare parts to trade.
I stocked up on wood glue, several small sealed containers.
Over the years I never had it when it was needed.
I still think if I lost chainsaw capacity that would be my most serious problem to deal with, extra chains, bar oil, files.
I do have one functional 5′ Two Man Crosscut Saw that I never ever want to depend on.
A few roils of duct tape, I would like 10 but only 4 now.
I bought several gallons of engine oil for the generators and my car with extra filters.
spray paint for stopping or slowing rust, usually just black and white.
I use that mainly on yard/garden tools once a year.
Have batteries galore, energizer max.
I replaced the carb on my 6.5 gen, I don’t see a need for a replacement, as that thing is a gas hog
and won’t get used much.
Tarps, I recently bought several, I want more.
sucky thing is taxes and car insurance is all due soon so that will take all my extra money.
guessing between 1500 and 2000 that I could put to much better use.
You can’t have every part for everything you use, but you CAN have the stuff that goes out all the time.
The lawn tractor I use in the yard and corral; main drive belt and deck belt, along with spare spindles for the mower blades. Oh; and spare blades. These are the things that will stop you midway through the job, with really no other way to complete it. It may take an extra half hour to change the drive belt, but having that spare means the job will get done.
The genny holds a spare spark plug and pull cord. The genny is electric start, but you know how that goes.
Chainsaws are great when they work, but anyone who’s used one knows that they’re the most cantankerous piece of machinery known to man! I actually keep a spare CHAINSAW. That way, when #1 starts throwing its chain… or not starting at all, I can put it aside, pick up #2 , and keep on going. #1 will go onto the workbench later on. And t doesn’t matter HOW well you maintain your chainsaw, a chainsaw’s gonna do what a chainsaw’s gonna do. When I’m done with my saws, they get cleaned up, sharpened, and emptied of fuel and chain oil. That has YET to stop the ghosts in the machines…
Don’t forget the various fluids needed to keep your stuff running; that, and spare spark plugs. We had “supply chain issues” at our local auto parts stores recently. You could NOT find 5W-30, 10W-30, or 10W-40 oil ANYWHERE in town. Low oil will stop your from using your stuff as quickly as a broken belt! And spark plugs, especially in 2-cycle engines, will just DIE. It worked last week but won’t start this week; that kind of thing…
I do virtually any/all work or repairs on my small engines, vehicles, farm equipment, gas furnace, AC, plumbing, electrical, etc. myself. Yes, I get it that is not typical. While specific spare parts such as belts are excellent to keep on hand, I also maintain inventories of many generic things typically useful to fix whatever as follows:
– Stock of small machine screws in various sizes both SAE and metric.
– stock of 1/4” to 1/2” nuts and bolts
– stock of fine thread grade 8 bolts
– stock metric nuts and bolts various sizes
– electrical terminals
– assortment of o-rings SAE & metric
– box of misc springs
– assortment of screws, self tapping and wood.
– several kinds of glues: titebond wood glue, G2 flexible glue, JB Weld, super glue.
– several kinds of tape: electrical, duct, metalized waterproof tape
– lubes: white lithium grease (can/tube and spray), silicone spray, DriSlide molybdenum lubricant (has penetrant that evaporates leaving a dry MoS2 film behind that is like graphite but far better), HP moly grease for grease gun, silicone grease
– chemicals: brake cleaner, carb cleaner, evapo-rust, wd40 (its a crap lubricant but good cleaner safe for many plastics), PB Blaster, degreasers,
– welding supplies: spare gas, wire, rod, flux, etc.
– And more.
These things are often needed beyond specific parts.
Forgot to mention. Many assortments of the screws, terminals, springs, fuses, set screws, Woodruff keys, retaining clips, clevis pins, cotter pins, special washers, o-rings, hose clamps, etc. can be purchased in small assortment boxes or kits. HarborFreight has a bunch as do many farm stores and Amazon. Typical brands are Grip, StoreHouse, Most of those are China made and not great quality, they are amazingly cheap, often $5-10, and have saved me many times making a trip to town for a 10 cent screw or o-ring. Fastenal, Grainger and the like also have assortment kits that are much higher quality and if course cost. Ebay also has a lot of this and I have purchased many bolts in various sizes there for my inventory that had better than HF quality and lower than Grainger cost.
I have dozens of these assortment kits and assortments of my own creation. While some I have used only a few times and others pretty much weekly if not daily (SAE nuts and bolts) they have ALL paid for themselves, often many times over is time, frustration, gas to town, etc. If SHTF these kinds of kits might sometimes be priceless.
Amazon has tons of those assortment kits
If cost is a concern, get a few small parts organizers from HF or Home Depot and start collecting small parts, nuts, screws.
For example, most brackets to hang a flat screen TV come with a bunch of different sized metric screws and bolts and spacers. They will often have 4 of 8-12 different bolt/screw sizes to attach it to various TVs, but you’ll only use 4 of those. Don’t throw the others away, start collecting them. I have used some of those very screws on other repairs many times.
If you have an appliance or small machine that is totally worn out and ready to be trashed, take a minute or two and salvage screws, nuts, bolts, fuses, fuse holders, power cord, other wiring and connectors, springs, clips, pins, clamps, etc. Zip ties can often even be salvaged and reused if they are not cinched down small.
These are all far more useful if you put them in some kind of a parts organizer(s) but even a coffee can is better than throwing all those away until you have a reasonable collection (too many can actually get in the way of finding what you might need).
Plenty of Warm Clothing
Can’t agree more with all the comments however I would add spare pull start ropes and correct sizes of small engine fuel hose that fit your macines. Ropes get pretty hard useage and break at the wrong time. Rope can be purchased by the foot bulk at small engine repair places. Also fuel hoses over time get mushy and leak.
Yes, due to past problems I bought 3 sizes of pullcord for small engines.
Mine came in 100′ rolls
one suitable for chainsaws, 2 sizes for generators and push mowers.
Plus extra fuel line, 2 sizes
several sizes of spring clips to clamp the fuel line
and about 30 mini fuel filters in 3 variations.
several cans of starting fluid and carb cleaner.
Snow blower parts! Belt, spark plugs, new auger parts and most important the bottom shave plate. Without this plate you are pushing 40 lbs of noise trying to remove snow
To be ready, you have to assume some sub-systems are available to maintain a certain level of subsistence. Assuming you have a reliable off grid power source that can maintain household electrical loads, now the question is; what do you need to keep everything running? Specifically, this article is about what generalized parts do you need to keep everything running.
Traditionally, the tool that made the parts was a metal lathe. Now the tool that also makes the parts is the 3d printer.
The 3d printer is generalized enough to make those fastener bolt and nut parts, hose connectors, electrical conduit boxes, gears, gear boxes, tube connectors, heat exchangers, fan blades, bushings, eye glass frames, shoes, picatinny rail risers, plumbing fixtures, forks, battery holders, handles, door knobs, light fixtures, pumps, combs, keys, oil pan seals and anything else you can design.
The 3d printer is the must have generalized tool to make the parts.
That requires technical know how, computers one or more, multiple programs, the printer with a backup AND parts, plus materials and a solid reliable power supply.
Looking at 10+ thousand bare minimum.
How is that supposed to magically happen for the average person ?
I’m just trying to support the ability to fix, maintain and operate power tools like the water pump/tig welder as long as possible to make life a little better.
btw, the metal printing system is much more costly than the plastic printer.
I am not putting all of my security, or survival on the ability of a 3d printer. I have been cobbling things together with welders, gas torches and machining parts on metal lathes and vertical milling machines for years. It is so much easier to modify and print a design with a 3d printer than having to hob gears or machine a keyway.
If you need a seal for a water pump, just print the seal complete with lip seals rather than trying to machine each iteration.
As far as cost, usable 3d printers are available for $250. Editing programs are available for free.
Not so sure,
I hear what you are saying. For you, with knowledge and experience with 3D printing, this technology could be very useful. But to the average prepper? I think the majority would rather put time, effort, and $$ into something more hands on. Hey, if it works for you though, go for it. If shtf, you may have a very good bartering trade.
Not so sure,
I agree with Horse here. 3D printer is a high tech fabrication tool. Most build 3D shapes of plastic, but what if you need it made of metal? Either have to use a 3D printer with high temp sintered metal fab head($$$$), or use a plastic prototype to sand cast and pour molten metal. Lots of $$ invested here for ability to fabricate in high tech. Why not just go back and learn basics of hand fabrication as was done originally? Improvise. Electrical boxes from wood, machine parts from bits of metal, etc. Firearms can and have been built from nothing more than steel, a couple of files and an egg-beater type hand drill. Putting all your security, survival on the ability of a complex machine to magically make parts is not smart, imho.
To 007 an other rifle hunters out there: My big game rifles are set up in a roughly identical manner in that the scope mounts and rings are Quick Detachable type made by a company called Warne. (made in Oregon, USA). The primary scope is a 3 by 9 Leupold that is presighted in. The back up scope was a fixed 4 power Leupold scope that was also presighted in to hit point of aim at 100 yards. By having 2 scopes that are sighted in for one rifle, you have a back up for that part that frequently gets broken or something goes wrong. (when traveling on a safari, you may be going by boat, plane, horses, mules or by 4×4 over 50+ miles of bad road). I had the clients carry the 2nd dialed-in scope within a camera case along with a small gunsmithing screwdriver set to include bits for star-wrench screws or allen head screws. Several clients were able to save their hunt after their primary scope was either broken or got knocked out of zero during a multiday hunting trip. (one client was hunting Caribou around the Arctic Circle, Another was hunting plains game in Namibia). Changing out the scope can be done in minutes back in camp with a minimal amount of tools and the rifle will hit within 3 inches of where it was originally sighted in for. (3 inches at 100 yards) Safaris and traveling in places like the Arctic and Africa can be very tough on equipment. Plan for things to go wrong and talk to a person that has been there and done that prior to going.
Have a small Ruger bolt gun in 223
Has a rail on the receiver for scope mount, same design as AR rails, i have a vortex 6-24 on it but can quick detach and put a leupold red dot on it that are both sighted for that rifle, so far i havent noticed any accuracy issues other than the shaky guy pulling the trigger, both hit point o aim if i calm down and breathe right.
Besides all the good reasons listed, don’t forget about inflation. The powers that be seem to have zero intention of reducing the spending of money we don’t have, and other countries are actively working on weakening or getting rid of the petro dollar, which will make inflation even worse.
I figure while I still have a little wiggle room in the budget now, if things continue as they are, and I believe they will, I might not be able to pay the taxes and get heating oil and new shoes etc at the same time. So I get them now at a relative discount (and while they’re still available) and can devote more of my modest income to those increasing burdens in the near future. Also now, since there is no pressing need, selection is good, and I have time, I can shop for deals.
Accessory idea: Wood pallet on a slab of floatation foam with a chain and anchor to lash your generator to. They’re no good underwater.
to: IMOW: Yes, they are the Warne brand lever-lock system. My standards of accuracy for larger caliber rifles is less than that for my varmint rifles. (place all shots within a 3 inch circle at 100 yards versus placing all shots within a 1 inch circle.). Big difference between making headshots on prairie dogs versus center mass on a Thompson’s gazelle within 200 yards.
The gunsmith I worked with originally used components from Texas until we began to have trouble getting parts due to high demand. (Shilen barrels, Timney Triggers, Talley scope mounts and rings). When I was with him, I began ordering from Oregon based suppliers and have been pretty happy with what I am able to find on this side of the Rocky Mountains. (Pac-nor barrels, Warne scope mounts and rings, Nosler Bullets).
Thems some pretty loose requirements my friend, my home built AR will hit a quarter at 200 easy if i do my part
I think in setting up a “spares” supply, it would be good to investigate and document several sources for spares. Sure, I can go buy a set of OEM filters for the tractor, but what if I can’t? Maybe have a list of various brand name filters and model numbers made for that tractor. When things get scarce, a cross-reference for optional spares might be a lifesaver.
Is it possible to gently back flush an oil or fuel filter to extend use?
I think so but as things go this is not recommended.
Back in my high school days I’d change the car’s oil filter every other oil change
but only if the oil wasn’t overly contaminated, I would still drain it then reinstall.
I need several tubes of grease still.
Ya really only remember the things you need after you have the need.
I would like more lead but money’s.
Something I have wanted for a while: The Survival Medicine Handbook 4th Edition
it’s on amzn for $31
There used to be a manufacturer that made a cleanable filter, was a series of stainless screens, not sure if still available but we used yo run them in our trucks in the 70s
Horse – Really good inline fuel filters are 10 for $8 on Amazon, pleated media instead of the disc screen. why screw around with gasoline-fouled penny bits… buy them in bulk and sell them on the side.
Interesting data. Your source? ( not that I doubt your word, just like to see the data myself. API testing?). You point on filters is right on. The head mechanic at my tractor dealer told me that new guidance from the factory is extending the change out time for oil /filters because the filter technology has gotten so good in recent years that their testing warranted an increase in lubricant life, based on OEM filter sets. (Kioti tractor- DaeDong, S.Korea)
minerjim – Given enough time I could find several references, but please check out Todd at Project Farm on YT. He has done some of the most extensive testing of engine oil recently. And his other product testing will surprise you, I think. Seriously, you could be up all night watching him work.
I have watched Project Farm for many good reviews but testing oil is very complex and beyond what he can do. I used to be an engineer at Cummins. I am great friends (he was in my wedding) with one of the engineers who used to work on oils and lubes and years ago also knew the lead technician in the Cummins oil lab. I picked up a few tidbits from them about oil.
The life and quality of oil is primarily determined by the additive package that goes into the oil. The chemistry is crazy complex. Shear strength modifiers in the oil are a big deal giving oil the ability to not be readily squeezed out of the space between journal bearings and crank surfaces. There are chemicals to deal with soot in the oil and suspend it in ways that reduce aggregation that yields particles that can act as grit. There are pH buffers to reduce the oil becoming acidic over time. There are corrosion inhibitors, various stabilizers, and moisture dispersants. My vague recollection is there are something like 25-30 different parameters of oil performance that are tested and evaluated.
Filters don’t do anything to enhance or protect the additive packages. Time, temperature, fuel dilution and blowby exhaust are the big killers to the additive packages. The filters catch particles that can score cylinder walls, pistons, bearings, bearing surfaces etc. so they are highly important.
The additive packages drive a significant part of the cost as does marketing and distribution. As a general rule cheaper oils will have packages that wear out sooner and the oil should be changed more often. Extend life products and the more expensive products have packages that will simply last longer allowing extended periods between oil changes.
Tmac – Goodness, I must have missed that one. I saw something a couple years ago that was based on his own experiments with lawnmower engines as I recall. If he is getting full analysis (typical oil analysis is looking mostly for metals that would indicate specific wear patterns and is used for predictive maintenance) and additive package assessments from a solid lab, then good for him. Let me go look. Thanks for that.
imow – No, no, no… One does not “go inside a Wally World” unless one is seeking fent/meth or a ringside seat for the next diversity land whale smackdown. Just click the delivery option, it’s like 7 bucks and Door Dash will send their own tweaker in a clapped-out ’97 Camry to deliver your stuff. If you have any old bicycle parts give some to the driver as a tip and you will have a friend for life.
I am big on having spares.
We use our Food saver a lot.
Just found that the cutter is not wanting to cut.
Spare costs $2.00, little thing but needed.
yea, used the cutter on mine less than 30 times and it doesn’t work well.
I measure what I need and cut with utility knife and metal ruler.
Reply to Kula: Yes, within a 3 inch circle is my cut off point for minimal accuracy from a centerfire rifle with tip-off optics of sufficient caliber to knock over a deer at 200 yards. These were 8 lb sporters in calibers of 25-06 on up. These were not made to hit eggs at 100 yards from a bench. These were meant to be carried over hill and dale then shot from kneeling/sitting/standing. Most sporters made in the last 50 years can do this if shooter is up to task. Prior to hunting trips for big game, I used to spend more time doing the “SWAT team shuffle”: Fire 1 shot from bench to confirm zero. jog 200 yards and do 25 push-ups then fire 1 shot at an 8 inch circle at 100 yards from improvised rest or favorite position. Your rifle must be above grass level so no prone or bench shooting is allowed. Repeat this cycle 5 times. You are carrying the rifle and a 20 lb daypack with you as you jog and do pushups. This is a good aerobic workout. (if your range will not let you run around the property with an unloaded rifle, carry an 8 lb piece of lumber in place of the rifle to assuage the Safety Nazi’s). Though I call this the SWAT team shuffle, it has also been referred to as the Redneck Biathlon. This is where I learned to love the Camel-back system hydration pack.
Reply to Scrooster: “parts will be everywhere. Will you know what to do with them?” That is what I have reloading manuals for…Have you tried looking for primers on your store shelves lately? I, for one, have been using the Ammoseek website to obtain parts and primers for the past 2 years. Like Gunmag warehouse, I learned of this company/website through this Blog. (many thanks to Ken and others)
Lots of good ideas here.
I’ll add tubing of all sorts, and diameters, from fuel lines to lawn hoses, and everything in between. Vital yet easily fail, and there is no substitute.
Plus clamps, zip ties, and such to hold them in place.
IMOW, Wallys oil is comparable to castrol and the tranny oil is comparable to Valvoline. according to couz. who deals with both daily.needed 3 containers and only 2 of one brand avail on fluid -He said they are the same just label difference.
Brake cleaning fluid,penetrating oil/spray,several gauges of wire, ends and attachments. washers- rubber and stainless.
…..Cleaners for specific applications like mold control and laundry pre-treatment , CLR,
….vacuum line, hoses, metal elbows for radiator connectors,
….electrical tape and rubber “tape”, triple tap ends, mechanical timer,
Brushes of all kinds, wire, bottle, and jar, scrub brushes of all kinds.
Thermometers, environmental+ oven and refrigerator thermometer.
Oh lawnmower blades, and belts for everything that requires one, serpentine belts have been lasting 2 years., and belt dressing.