I managed to pull off the handles based on other instructions, but now I'm stuck. I'm supposed to change washer to fix the leak, but I don’t see a washer. Where do I go from here?

faucet with handles removed

  • 2
    Just a quick word of caution, before going any further, you have turned the water off, right?
    – Glen Yates
    Dec 14, 2021 at 15:57
  • 1
    by the way, while you're in there, be sure to change washers on both hot and cold.
    – LarryBud
    Dec 14, 2021 at 16:06
  • Yes, I did turned the water off, thanks
    – Evkw
    Dec 16, 2021 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


You'll have to pull the hot & cold water stems out - that's the part under the white gears (which connect the removed handles to the stem).

Turn the water off, either below the sink or to the whole house if you cannot find a shut off for just this faucet

Carefully remove the 2 Phillips head screws in the center of the white gears. Use extreme care for the cold water (on the right) since that screw head is already starting to strip out. Another slip or two and you could round out the cross enough make it almost impossible to get the screw out.

Once the screws are removed, pull the white gears off, noting which way they come off - they're keyed on the bottom side, then pull the metal stems, below. You'll find washers on the stems, and these are the ones you're looking to replace.

I'd strongly suggest replacing the screw on the cold water tap to ensure that it's easy to remove the next time someone (possibly future you) needs to remove this. Between this removal and reinstallation, that screw head could easily get totally rounded out. For the very small price of a replacement screw, it's cheap insurance against that happening. Might as well replace both at the same time - you'll probably find them in pairs when you go to buy them, anyway.

  • 1
    Note that further work with a wrench might be required once the white plastic bits are out of the way, before the stems can actually be pulled. And do be sure the water is turned off before that point, or things get messy, fast.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 14, 2021 at 13:41
  • Forget the phillips, use a flat head screwdriver at least as large as the screw. It will deliver a lot more torque before damaging the screw.
    – Olivier
    Dec 14, 2021 at 14:01
  • Excellent point, @Ecnerwal. Added that to the answer, thanks.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 14, 2021 at 15:41
  • That can work, @Olivier, sometimes, I have about as much issue with a flat head as with Phillips. Maybe it's just in my technique. If the Phillips cross is too damaged for the driver to engage, it's the only (easy) option before breaking out the screw extractors.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 14, 2021 at 15:42
  • @FreeMan I don't think it's your technique. Flat head is just plain difficult to use. Another little known option is screw grab (diamond dust in a paste) which can work wonders on phillips heads if you use it before causing too much damage. I've read valve grinding compound is similar.
    – Olivier
    Dec 14, 2021 at 17:51

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