• The Fix-It Club's latest FREE Repair Guides:

    Home Repairs for Retirees

    Home Repairs for Retirees

    A repair tool kit offers a handy case for holding common home repair tools. Once retired, many people find satisfaction in performing basic repairs around the home: electrical repairs, plumbing repairs, heating and cooling repairs, major appliance repairs, small appliance repairs, and more. That's where the Fix-It Club[More FREE Help...]
    How to Recycle or Reuse It!

    How to Recycle or Reuse It!

    A motor from a small appliance can be reused in many ways, including taking it apart to learn how motors work. The Fix-It Club can help you repair hundreds of household things that break: appliances, bicycles, cell phones, computers, electric fans, hair dryers, iPhones, microwaves, plumbing, slow[More FREE Help...]
    Emergency Heating Repairs

    Emergency Heating Repairs

    Maintain your furnace and forced-air distribution system to eliminate winter emergencies. Winters can be cold in many parts of the country. Thankfully, most homes have a primary heating system that keeps indoor temperatures comfortable — until there is a heating emergency. That's when the Fix-It Club can help[More FREE Help...]
    Nails, Bolts, Screws, and Fasteners

    Nails, Bolts, Screws, and Fasteners

    Mechanical fasteners come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and purposes. Left to right: nails, screws, bolt with washer and nut, and wall anchors. The Fix-It Club offers basic information on a more than 250 household repairs. Most repairs require mechanical fasteners. Your home has hundreds of fasteners[More FREE Help...]
    How to Take Things Apart

    How to Take Things Apart

    Some appliances specifically state “No Serviceable Parts Inside.” That typically means that even if you get it open there won’t be anything in there to replace, so reconsider fixing it. The Fix-It Club helps thousands of people each day for more than a decade with free repair[More FREE Help...]
    How to Find Local Repair Help

    How to Find Local Repair Help

    Local repair services include plumbers, electricians, roofers and other service businesses. The Fix-It Club offers hundreds of free Fix-It Guides for repairing broken things around the home and garage. Occasionally you won't be able to or won't want to fix it yourself. That's okay. There's probably someone[More FREE Help...]
    How to Repair Anything!

    How to Repair Anything!

    Following easy step-by-step illustrated instructions you can repair hundreds of household appliances and other things -- including a coffee maker. The Fix-It Club knows how to repair anything! Besides more than 250 illustrated FREE Fix-It Guides, FixItClub.com offers the Fix-It Process, a simple and logical way to troubleshoot[More FREE Help...]
    Does Your Warranty Cover Repair?

    Does Your Warranty Cover Repair?

    Before disassembling appliances and devices for repair, check to see if the problem is covered by a warranty. The Fix-It Club is ready to help you troubleshoot and repair or replace household things that break. But before you disassemble an appliance, electronic device or other gadget, consider[More FREE Help...]
    Home Repair Safety

    Home Repair Safety

    Many electrical appliances have warnings on their outside case to tell you of potential dangers to safety. The Fix-It Club is dedicated to showing how to easily and safely make hundreds of household repairs. Common repairs made easy! Repair safety is a very important part of fixing[More FREE Help...]
    Oils and Lubricants

    Oils and Lubricants

    The Fix-It Club can help you reduce repairs by helping you understand the how and why of household lubricants. Many things around your home are mechanical and are supposed to move. That's what they do. For example, a windup alarm clock is a mechanical thing. Other mechanical thing repairs you may undertake[More FREE Help...]
  • How to Take Things Apart

    Disassembling Things

    Some appliances specifically state “No Serviceable Parts Inside.” That typically means that even if you get it open there won’t be anything in there to replace, so reconsider fixing it.

    The Fix-It Club helps thousands of people each day for more than a decade with free repair help! One challenge that keeps many people from repairing things is figuring out how to take things apart — and get them back together when done.

    Disassembling things is an important part of repair whether you are performing toaster repair, motor repair, riding lawn mower repair, washer repair, iPhone repair, computer repair, car repair, and many other consumer repairs. You’ll want to be able to reassemble an item properly whether it’s done today, tomorrow, or once you’ve found some parts a month from now. Here’s how to take things apart:

    • Find a place where you can take things apart and leave everything out for an hour or a day, if you need to stop and get additional parts.
    • Make notes on disassembly and needed parts numbers.
    • For tougher repairs or when you know it will be awhile before you can get replacement parts, use a film or digital camera to take photos of the disassembly process.
    • If you know you will be reassembling everything within the next couple of hours, lay the parts in a line as they come off, left to right, and reassemble right to left.
    • Use old muffin pans, empty frozen dinner dishes, clean coffee cans, clean plastic containers, or other containers to collect parts as they are removed.
    Disassembling Things

    When disassembling, put parts in a small tray or container in the order of their removal. It makes reassembly much easier. (The mini-muffin pan pictured here costs less than $1 at a garage sale.)

    Steps to Take Things Apart

    Intimidated by what you see when you open up something to fix it? Don’t be. Most things are made of components, more than one part. And each of these components is replaceable. It’s just a matter if figuring how the thing works, which parts or components don’t work, and replacing the problem part(s). Many Fix-It Guides include photos or drawings that let you see what’s inside the device or object — you’ll know what you’re getting in to.

    Most parts either twist on or plug in. For example, disassembling an appliance requires twisting (unscrewing) fasteners that hold the outside body together. Once inside, you may need to unscrew or unplug other parts. Many components are plugged together, especially electrical parts. For example, a couple of wires enter one side of a plastic plug and other wires run out the other side. To disconnect the part, find a tab on the connector and lift it or apply pressure to it and carefully pull the connector apart. Install the replacement component by plugging the two halves of the connector together. Most connectors go together only one way, so it’s relatively easy.

    Disassembling Things

    Some fasteners are hidden behind trim.

    You’ll find that many consumer items are assembled using screws, clips, or other fasteners. In fact, if you don’t find a screw or clip, the manufacturer is probably telling you there’s nothing inside that the consumer can fix. You may be able to replace the entire component, however.

    Some parts may be hard to remove because they are friction-fit (fit snugly) to a shaft. Don’t force friction-fit parts; they may break. Instead, use a wide-bladed screwdriver under the coupling to carefully twist and lift the coupling upward. If that doesn’t work, try heating the coupling slightly (try a hair dryer) to expand the part enough to pull it from the shaft. Or slip a pair of thin wood wedges under the coupling. Then push the wedges toward each other and lift. If none of these succeeds in separating the friction-fit part from the shaft, you may have to take the appliance to a professional.

    Fix-It Tip:

    If you want to teach yourself more about how to take things apart, find something that is obviously unrepairable and disassemble it for practice. You can sometimes find unrepairable items cheap at garage sales. Invest in your education and have some fun!

    Disassembling Things

    Some friction-fit fasteners are not intended to be removed without damaging them. Fortunately, once removed you can find a replacement at larger hardware stores.

    Some manufacturers use a pressure clip to hold a product’s case together. This is the preferred assembly method for many consumer electronics such as iPhones, tablet computers and laptop computers. If you plan to do many electronic repairs, consider an electronics toolkit available at Radio Shack and various electronic supply stores.

    To disassemble, look for a notch along the seam and insert the tip of a straight screwdriver to push and turn the clip, opening the case. Make sure you unclip all of the notches and remove all screws before disassembling the body or you could break one of the small clips.

     Disassembling Things

    Many smaller consumer components can be disassembled by carefully prying the case apart. Special electronic tools may be required.

    You can take things apart and reassemble them after repair if you plan out the job and take it a step at a time, as outlined in the Fix-It Club’s free Fix-It Guides.