You may eventually find yourself in a situation or you may already have (and that’s why you’re here), where a part for your equipment is discontinued and no longer available for purchase. The manufacturer may have stopped producing the product because it would be too costly to manufacturer or they believe the product is too out-dated. This is considered the product’s “end of life.” There are a couple of different options to consider as you go about looking for your discontinued product: Checking local dealers, browsing online, or getting your part fabricated.
Checking Local Dealers
Giving one of your local parts dealers a call can never hurt when you’re searching for a part! Sometimes, places like these will still have the item in their inventory ready to be sold, even after the manufacturer stopped making it. It’s pointless for the local dealer to throw away something just because the part is no longer available—someone like you might still need it! This happens on many occasions where dealers hold onto the part it until it runs out. If the part you are looking for happens to be a miscellaneous hardware item, such as a nut or bolt, a local hardware store probably carries it. The local dealer might also have used parts available.
When browsing online, you have access to hundreds of different vendors from all across the globe, which may be supplying the exact part you’re looking for! The chances of finding your part on the internet are a lot more likely than finding it locally. Online trading sites like eBay or Craigslist are great resources to search what you’re looking for. Even a quick search on your favorite search engine can help you find a website that is selling the part you need. When you order online, it’ll get shipped directly to you. It is common for online parts retailers to list availability for discontinued parts online without knowing that the part is discontinued. Because most manufacturers don’t inform their dealers that parts have been discontinued, the only way for the dealer to know is to manually check. It is a good idea to contact the online retailer to see if the part is available before placing an order and assuming that they have the part in stock.
If you have tried checking your local dealers and have already looked online but are still having no luck, you could always have a new part fabricated. A local machine shop is the best place to try to have your item re-created. Creativity in this area is key!
If the part is nowhere to be found and it’s unable to be fabricated, selling your equipment or trading it in for something new might be your last resort. Hopefully you’ll never be in that situation, but sometimes it happens. Look at the bright side: If you have to make an investment in new equipment, it’ll (most likely) be more up to date, so it’ll save you a search for a discontinued part in the future. Happy part hunting!