Dishwashers are complicated devices, with a surprising number of moving parts that spin and squirt water. As such, it's no surprise that bits get broken, lost or otherwise need replacing. Fortunately, finding replacement parts isn't that difficult. Here's where to find these spare parts for your dishwasher.
Before you start, consider one thing: What is the part you need? You won't get far if you describe it as "that curly bit that fits onto the end of the pumpy thing." You'll need to know the exact name and part number of the spare part you're after. Fortunately, you have an ally: the manufacturer.
If you look in the manual that came with your dishwasher, you'll often find a diagram that shows all of the individual parts (often called an exploded diagram) and how they fit together. This will usually be accompanied by the name and part number of each component, helping you find the real name of the bit you need.
The dealer you bought it from
The first place you look should be the dealer that you bought the dishwasher from, if possible. Many large retailers have a spare parts section dedicated to tracking down bits such as rinse arms, cutlery trays and door latches for models that they sold, even ones that are a few years old. Dealers such as Sears and Home Depot have whole divisions dedicated to selling these parts. These often include models that the company themselves don't sell, or older models.
If the dealer can't help you or isn't available, the manufacturer is your next port of call. Again, most manufacturers will have divisions that are dedicated to finding and selling these spare parts. Go to the parts site for Whirlpool or Frigidaire, for instance, enter the model number and they will show you a list of every part available for purchase, from touch-up paint for the exterior finish to dish racks.
A spare parts dealer
If the manufacturer can't help or doesn't have the parts, don't despair. A spare parts dealer such as AppliancePartsPros or Partselect or your local appliance repair store may have them, or be able to offer an alternative. They may be more expensive, though, and most repair places would rather come in and fix it for you.
Surprisingly, even online retailers like Amazon carry a wide range of spare parts. You'll need to know exactly what you want and how to install it when you buy from them, however: Jeff Bezos won't be able to give you advice about how to install a new door sensor. A dedicated dealer or local supplier may be able to offer you a guide or tips on installing the part.
The junkyard and eBay
For really old or historic appliances, this may be your only option. There are sellers on eBay who specialize in finding parts for old dishwashers by tearing down old models, or figuring out replacements that work with older models. So, if your grandma refuses to part with her 1972 Hobart dishwasher, but the wash jets are eroded, you may still be able to find spare parts on eBay.
Read more: How to get an estimate on dishwasher repair