There was a little incident, that saved me a couple of pounds (it was a while ago, before the Euro). It was not long after I learned how to drive, about a year, so I decided to take my girlfriend at the time to Galway for the weekend. What can I say Galway is a lovely city and it is cheap to stay in, money was not good in those days.
Now at this stage I did not have a car, all I had was use of my fathers car. So for the weekend he was nice enough to let me borrow his latest purchase, a nice little 1.25 Zetec engine, Ford Fiesta, it was white in colour with a dark interior, a fabulous little car I have to say.
So picked up the girlfriend and we headed off, on the way we stopped at a petrol station for some snacks, one of which was a small slab of toffee. It was very hard to break, so in my wisdom I decided to crack it apart on the gear sick shifter. I know it was not the brightest idea I have ever had, suffice to say not only did I break the toffee but I cracked the plastic on top of the gear knob as well.
I was young and was not happy about returning the car to my dad like that. So we reached Galway and checked into our hotel. I checked with the receptionist where the local Ford Dealer was and once I had directions I drove over to see about a replacement piece. Unfortunately they did not have any in stock; it would be mid next week before any arrived.
The repair manager suggested I drive out to the local car breaker, 10 minute drive away. I took a spin out there and was in luck. They had a Ford Fiesta there for breaking, it was not a Zetec unit but that did not matter. I parted with five Euros and had a nearly new replacement on the car with in minutes. It was as quick as twisting the old one off and screwing on the new one, you would not notice the difference and to this day my father still never knew.
Well after that I could relax and had a great weekend, but the moral of this story is that breakers yards are great for the small things for your car as well as the large expensive parts and they really got me out of a hole that weekend and allowed me to relax and enjoy the time with my girlfriend.