Betsy Teutsch took a $1,000 hit to the chin when the plastic knobs on her stovetop range broke off. When a similar fate befell her under-sink water heater, she refused to give in. After tracking down the heater maker and receiving a "no dice" email reply, the Get Rich Slowly guest-blogger powered up her persistence, called an actual human representative (with the help of GetHuman, and found exactly what she needed.
When I asked if they manufacture the knobs or buy them from a supplier, Bingo! He passed along the number of their knob supplier. That company was wonderful; their business model includes servicing harried householders crazy to replace appliance knobs. For a $10 charge, the correct knob was quickly dispatched and works perfectly. No more turning the dial shaft with a screw driver and risking it breaking off completely!
Like Teutsch, many of us end up facing down large purchases because of small, seemingly impossible-to-replace items breaking down. With patience, research, and a nothing-to-lose attitude, though, you can end up saving a good deal of capital with an appliance repair that doesn't require a training course. What's the smallest/dumbest/rarest fix you've made that saved you cash? Where have you turned when trying to hunt down a seemingly impossible appliance? Share your secrets in the comments.