Plastic Christmas Tree Fasteners Are The Bane of My Existence

Illustration for article titled Plastic Christmas Tree Fasteners Are The Bane of My Existence
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Christmas time is upon us, meaning its time to gather your friends and family around the Christmas tree that you recently broke while removing your door panel, and sing songs about how crappy a fastener that little plastic thing is.

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I like bolts. Mostly because I don’t have to be careful removing them unless they’re rusty. Plastic “Christmas Tree” fasteners, though, are not cool. I break them. I bend them. I get tired of trying to fit my invaluable trim removal tool underneath their heads.

I know they’re light, cheap, and they allow a single factory worker to apply a car’s entire front clip in seconds, but they make me sad. Clip after clip. Ruined.

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Random Flickr-er Tom agrees:

Garbage american door panel fastener (retaining pin) will self destruct when removing panel. Enjoy those rattles when your power windows break. I really hated these things in my crown vic. If you’re lucky they self destruct like this. If you are unlucky they break the plastic part and if you’re really unlucky and have a super shitty cardboard car they rip right through the cardboard and you need a new interior door panel

I feel you, Tom.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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DISCUSSION

themousethatroared
themousethatroared

Wait until you get to the exterior trim clips.

Carefully read the instructions in the factory shop manual which state “Grasp firmly and pull to remove (_fill in the blank_)“

Then note that all the clips self destruct upon removal. Clips that are not sold separately, and are available only as the assembly. The assembly that was discontinued fifteen years ago. And the manufacturer’s instructions for removal are based on the plentiful availability of new replacement parts.

Mark my words, the new frontier for money making in automotive parts is custom 3d printing all of those unique plastic clips, hopefully out of a fiber or carbon fiber reinforced plastic.