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For those little parts you need to get home safe!
  [vote for,

While driving home late tonight after picking up my son from camp my passenger side headlight went out. I drove to 3 different gas stations hoping to find a replacement and in the process got stopped by 2 different state troopers(who were very understanding) But no-one had any bulbs at all(let alone the one I needed).

Driving home 3 hours with one low beam lamp was quite nerve wracking to say the least. Along the way home I passed no less than 20 auto parts stores that all would have had the bulb I needed if it wasn't 12:00 am.

I propose that auto parts stores have a vending machine or ATM type interface installed on the side of the store that would stock and vend small and very common parts such as Headlight bulbs, signal lamps, oil, coolant, water, other fluids, wiper blades, fuses etc.

This would allow you to obtain these mission critical parts 24/7 so that you don't get a ticket for a broken headlamp at 2 am or get into an accident because you cannot see due to a broken wiper blade or blown fuse.

jhomrighaus, Jul 21 2007


       Or - even better - a 24/7 "roadside assistance" program, where you just pay a yearly fee and they will come and get you any time, anywhere, and give you the assistance you need.   

       Wouldn't that be nice? AAA, forget it. It's a WIBNI.
globaltourniquet, Jul 21 2007

       Realistically, you should get - or have an option to buy, or make a point of buying - a kit of these small replacement parts when you buy the car. Keep them in the trunk and forget about them. They're not that expensive or large; once you use one, you replace it at your leisure the following day.
jutta, Jul 21 2007

       There are so many kinds of cars and so many kinds of car parts (esp. the small ones) this vending machine would have to be huge, but it's a nice idea.
but jutta is right.
xandram, Jul 21 2007

       As I had already used my replacement bulb the day before I was kind of in a tight spot.   

       As for there being lots of parts that is true but they are making vending units in hospitals now that hold literally hundreds of items. A modest selection of about 100 parts would literally cover something like 95% of the cars on the road especially for critical safety related parts like lights and fuses.   

       SIze wise the entire lighting section in a parts store is about 5 feet wide and 4 feet high and usually stocks at least 2 types of most bulb profiles(Long life and regular) The Auto industry is a lot more standardized than it might first appear.   

       As to AAA I have been a member for almost 15 years and I can guarantee you that they will not locate you an H7 headlamp at midnight on a Friday.
jhomrighaus, Jul 22 2007

       Their English counterparts certainly will. In fact in England, if you got pulled over by the police they probably would have told you to call the AA to get it replaced.
marklar, Jul 22 2007

       Good idea, makes a lot of sense.   

       (off topic) I'm pretty sure that the new HID headlights (high intensity discharge, the annoyingly bright ones) don't ever burn out. I know you aren't talking about those, but it seems in brand new cars they're becoming more and more common. So even if the other bulb burns out, there's still a very bright light. Only disadvantage is that people steal them in the cities and replacement runs about $1,000.
acurafan07, Jul 22 2007


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