My buddy Adam Ulvi loaned me a laptop since I didn't have one. (My last day at Twilio was last Thursday.) He had a Dell Inspiron 1545 lying around, and he was nice enough to mail it to me. The only catch was that there was some breakage around the display near the hinge. Apparently, this is extremely common, so I decided to try to fix it.
I bought a replacement part from Parts-People.com. The part I bought was the display cover, and it came with replacement hinges. It cost about $50. I went to Dell's site to find the service manual. It was actually a fairly involved repair, but I managed to get it done. My only regret was that I didn't buy a replacement part for the piece of plastic that frames the front side of the screen. I didn't notice that it was broken too, so I had to make due with some carefully applied electrical tape. Fortunate, it doesn't look as ghetto as it sounds.
Anyway, the repair went really well. The laptop looks pretty much brand new, with the exception of one small piece of electrical tape that blends in pretty well anyway. The new lid made a big difference. I've learned two things from this experience: 1) Dell's build quality sucks (which is something that my buddies have been telling me for a while now). 2) Dell's repair manuals are incredibly good. Following the instructions was a piece of cake, even it did take me two hours.