CHOOSE YOUR FAST FIX
Teaching repair is fun, empowering, and—most importantly—saves the planet by keeping consumer goods out of landfills.
The ultimate goal of your project is to create a repair guide that teaches the best practices for repair. In other words, a Fast Fix is not a "hack"—your guide should be thorough, effective, and worth documenting for real people to actually use.
A good rule of thumb is that your guide should require six or more steps (individual actions or instructions).
Here are three outstanding examples of completed guides:
To begin your project, pick one physical item (not software) in your life that you'd like to show how to fix—preferably something that has a straightforward solution (for example, a broken flip-flop, scratched CD, or leaking sink). The main requirement is to choose something that is not already documented on iFixit. You will need to use the Search tool to make sure your fix isn't already documented on iFixit.
Remember that iFixit's audience is focused on repair, so your guide must show how to fix something. In general, you should avoid writing guides for merely cleaning or lubricating items that are otherwise in working order. (We’re not opposed to maintenance procedures, provided it's something that real people would likely need a guide for, and that it helps prevent the need for repairs in the future.)
That said, the item you choose doesn't necessarily have to be broken. In the examples linked above, the record and zipper guides didn't require damaged items in order to show the correct repair procedure. On the other hand, if you wanted to do a drywall repair guide, you'd probably need some damaged drywall in order to show what's being fixed. Use your best judgment, and plan your guide carefully.
Before you choose your fix, complete the Repair Experience Inventory with your team. The information you collect will become part of your proposal, so don’t skip this crucial step!
What’s the point of the inventory? We’re glad you asked. As we like to say around iFixit, not everyone knows how to repair everything, but everyone knows how to repair something. This inventory will help you dig up the secret repair superpowers and knowledge buried within yourself, your team, and your community. Your project will be more successful if you choose a Fast Fix project that taps into this collective repair knowledge.
If you're not sure what to fix, think about the following questions:
- What is something you wish you knew how to fix?
- What things have been broken in the home? Why did they break and what was the cost to replace them?
- What things could you not live without?
- What things have been thrown away? Why?
For more ideas, including a list of common household items that need all manner of fixes, have a look at the Choosing Your Fix document. Or consider working on one of the many possible fixes listed on the Bicycle Fast Fixes document.
Have an idea that you're not sure will work? Think about this:
- Does it restore the item to a condition where it will work for a long time?
- Is it how a professional would do the repair? Or at least a process that you’d find recommended as a DIY solution by a professional or handyman?
- Does the repair process take at least six steps?
- Most importantly, will this repair be helpful to a real user looking to fix their thing?
We get a lot of proposals for temporary, hackish fixes that we can't publish, so here are five instructive examples:
- Fixing a cord with electrical tape? That’s a hack. Resoldering it and applying heat shrink? That’s a repair.
- Using nail polish to repair a dented windshield? Hackish. Using windshield repair resin to fill the ding? Repair gold.
- Spraying WD-40 on a door hinge isn’t a repair. However, replacing the door hinge would be great project.
- Degreasing your stove? That’s cleaning, not a repair.
- Topping off your car's windshield washer fluid? That's not a repair, it's about two steps, and most people don't need a guide for it. Replacing a leaky washer fluid tank and/or pump? Now you're onto something.
If you have any questions about choosing a fix, feel free to shoot us an email at techwriting[at]ifixit[dot]com.