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Tips for Easily Disassembling and Reassembling Auto Parts

Part of the Auto Repair For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The first rule of auto repair jobs is never hurry! If things get rough, take a break. You may get a whole new perspective when you go back to work. Keep distractions to a minimum, don’t answer the phone, keep the kids and the dog away, and relax. Don’t panic if you hit a snag — sit quietly and think about it. If the parts fit together before, they’ll fit together again.

The following steps outline a process for disassembling and reassembling complex auto parts — or anything, for that matter:

  1. Get a clean, lint-free rag and lay it down on a flat surface, near enough to reach without having to get up or walk to it.

    After you remove each part, you'll lay it on the rag, which shouldn’t be in an area where oil or dust or anything else can fall on it and foul the parts.

    If you’re going to use something that blasts air for cleaning purposes, leave enough of the rag uncluttered to flip it over the parts resting on it.

  2. Before you remove each part, ask yourself the following questions:

    • What is this thing?

    • What does it do?

    • How does it do it?

    • Why is it made the way it is?

    • How tightly is it screwed on (or fastened down)?

  3. As you remove each part, lay it on the rag in clockwise order, with each part pointing in the direction it lay in when it was in place.

    When you’re ready to reassemble things, the placement and direction of each part tells you when to put it back and how it went.

  4. If you’re making notes, assign each part a number indicating the order in which you removed it — part #1, part #2, and so on.

    You can even put numbers on the parts with masking tape if you’re afraid that the rag may be moved accidentally.

  5. When you’re ready to reassemble everything, begin with the last part you removed, and then proceed counterclockwise through the parts.

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Auto Repair For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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