I spent an extremely frustrating two hours yesterday trying to identify the parts I needed for a minor automotive procedure. I have the two cross-bars to fit the longitudinal rails of my Nissan Pathfinder SUV's roof-rack, but I don't have the screws for them. I needed to identify what those screws were, and order some.
The saga began when I went to the Nissan dealership in nearby Big City. The parts and service department said they had no idea what the screws were, and couldn't order them for me. The only solution (according to them) was to order a complete cross-bar kit (which would come with the appropriate screws), and throw away those I already had. Needless to say, this would cost well over $200. Thanks, but no thanks.
I then tried to find out from Nissan USA what the part number for the screws might be. Their Web site again pointed me to the cross-bar kit, but offered no clue as to what the screws might be. I tried the "Contact Us" form on the Web site, only to be informed within a few minutes:
"Unfortunately, Nissan Consumer Affairs does not have the capability to order component parts or have access to inventory. We suggest you contact or visit your closest Nissan dealer and speak with the Parts Department."
Gee. Thanks for the help - NOT!!!
Frustrated, I turned to the Internet and tried several different searches. None returned exactly what I wanted, but one eventually came close. It located Nissan's installation instructions for the cross-bars on the Rogue SUV, which apparently use the same screws as those on the Pathfinder. The instructions included a description of the screws ("M6 Torx Bolt - 26 MM Long"), and a part number. However, when I tried to order eight of them from the local Nissan dealer, using the correct part number, I was told they couldn't do that - they could only order the complete cross-bar kit. An attempt to locate the part through Nissan's Web site also resulted in failure.
By now I'd been at it for over two hours. To say I was frustrated is putting it mildly!
I've given up on Nissan. To find the screws, I'm going in to the local Fastenal dealership in nearby Big City this morning, and I'll ask them to locate the nearest thing they can to the screws I need. Their Web site has already proved helpful, in that it's found a 25mm screw of the right type, as opposed to Nissan's specified 26mm. If the slightly shorter screw will do the job, I'll buy it. What's more, eight screws should cost less than $5.00, as opposed to about fifty times that to buy a new cross-bar kit. Take that, Nissan!
Anyone else got spare parts horror stories to share? Let us know in Comments.