How old is that gasket?

When you buy a gasket for a fridge or freezer, from a place like ApplianceParts.com, or any of the others, how old is it?
I need a new thermostat for my 31-year old Sears fridge, so while I'm at it, I thought I'd buy a door gasket and maybe a freezer one (Have to go downstairs and check its condition).
Will it also be 31 years old? 20? 10? 5?
Do they make them in batches according to what they sell, so it might be only as old as the last one they sold? How many different sizes do doors come in?
For the one I've looked at so far, the picture shows it with four finished corners.
Or should I but a universal gaskets which will be practically new, but I have to cut out the V sections (which I could conceivably screw up)? And I guess the corners will never be "welded" like one made specifically for my door.
BTW, I think it interesting that several of these webpages show the same parts with the same pictures in the same order, and the same number of total parts for my model, 261. They must be all one company, or they all buy the software and esp. the data from the same supplier.
P.S. Please don't try to talk me into buying a new refrigerator. This one seems to be made of steel. It shows no sign of wearing out, and may outlast a new one bought today.
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On 10/15/2010 7:02 AM, mm wrote:

I would think since it's in the bag and hasn't been used that it would be in good shape. Should have most of the plasticisers left.

I wasn't crazy about the universal, but it does work. I'd get the original. Surprised they would have it.
Or better, a new fridge. The efficiency of the ones made in the last 10 years or so is much better. It will eventually pay for itself and electricity isn't getting cheaper. It's also nice having new.
Jeff

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re: "Or better, a new fridge. The efficiency of the ones made in the last 10 years or so is much better. It will eventually pay for itself and electricity isn't getting cheaper. It's also nice having new. "
It's not just the efficiency to consider, it's the new features also.
As trivial as it may sound, here's a feature I like about my new-ish fridge:
My model has a bottom drawer freezer, which I love, but that's not the feature I'm talking about. The shelves on the door can handle gallon containers - but that's not it either.
Here's what I really like: The result of the door shelves being so deep is that the internal shelves are set back so that there is a deep ledge at the bottom of the fridge compartment in front of the vegetable drawers. I can take large objects off the shelves and place them on this ledge to get to smaller items in the back.
In the old days, you had to take the big pot of soup out of the fridge, put it on a counter, go back and get your items, go back and get the soup, etc. Now you just place the pot on the ledge, grab your stuff and put the pot back.
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But will it last long enough to pay you back? I guess we won't know for another 20 years. (or less, if the answer ends up being "no.") At which point the then-new fridges will be completely different from the ones being sold today and we'll still be having this discussion.
nate
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mm wrote:

Probably not all that old; most have similar profiles and/or are replacement part numbers rather than perhaps identical...
At 30+, possible the current inventory is starting to age but since there are so many out there for any models that use a given design, parts are made for years after an initial introduction year of the appliance itself.
As someone else noted, that it's not been out in UV, it'll undoubtedly be more pliable than an old one plus won't be compressed and/or torn, etc., ...
And as they also noted, there is the thing about current efficiencies as compared to items of that age...
--
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Years ago when I worked for a large industrial firm, I had contacts in the rubber parts industry. My view on their technology is that they can come up with a rubber part of most any kind on short notice and at a most reasonable price. They may even be better at it today. Back then we could get a few small engineering prototype parts in two days for around $20. Of course today's prices would be higher, but the quality may be better, too. Bottom line, don't sweat the aging problem. What you get will work just fine for many years, and likely outlast the appliance.
Joe
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