In some parts of the third world, car theft is a standard part of vehicle ownership. And they don’t just steal your car from the parking lot. Sometimes, you’ll be stuck in traffic and someone will run past, grabbing your side mirror as they go. Or if the gridlock is really bad, they’ll squat and pry off you headlights and wheel caps, knowing there’s no way you can get out and give chase.
In these parts of the world, there are known markets for spare parts, so you can drive out of traffic and straight to the shop. Sometimes, they’ll look you straight in the eye and sell you the exact part you just lot, complete with your matching number plate, daring you to make a fuss. Fortunately, things aren’t nearly that bad in Australia.
However, aftermarket parts might still have a taint to them. You’re not sure how they were sourced, and whether their prior owner parted with them willingly. You may also be worried about their condition or quality, especially if you buy from a third party. If you did the salvaging yourself, from a written off truck or a junk yard, you can feel a bit more confident. However, that kind of truck spare is taken as-is, so you can’t be sure of its quality.
Interestingly though, as time goes by, customers and car owners are becoming more familiar with the state of truck spare parts. For example, many trucks come from their original manufacturer pre-loaded with aftermarket spares. Items like disc brakes, spark plugs, levelling valves, and clutch servos are not manufactured by the truck brands themselves. Instead, multiple brands outsource to parts specialists like Hengst and Wabco.
These specialist parts manufacturers sometimes produce parts that are compatible with hundreds of truck brands, so they can be swapped with no additional modifications. Other times, the specialists work directly with the truck manufacturer to customise branded parts. Either way, more and more customers realise they can purchase their truck spare parts directly from the specialist and receive the same original parts that came with their truck.
This means although these parts are technically ‘aftermarket’, they’re genuine and guaranteed, because they’re the exact same spares that your truck had to begin with, when it first left the showroom or factory floor. So whether you buy said part from a factory floor, salvaged truck, or spares store, you’re still getting the OEM seal of approval.
Vehicle technology is constantly expanding. The average truck fleet is 12.2 years old, according to stats from the NHVR (National Heavy Vehicle Regulator). However, since 2007, trucks have been subject to PBS testing (Performance-Based Standards Scheme). Trucks that are currently compliant have a median age of 3.6 years. 22 trailer brands and 60 truck brands currently manufacture heavy vehicles that are compliant with PBS right from the get-go.
However, all those other fleets don’t yet have the relevant modifications and accessories, because they were purchased and designed before PBS became a thing. This means for fleet owners and drivers to stay safe and compliant, they need the right aftermarket spare parts. It’s essential because their in-built components don’t have the right settings and functionalities.
Some of these new safety features have only just been invented, so truckers with older vehicles need to put in updated spare parts if they want to benefit from these new tools and keep their trucks PBS-compliant and roadworthy. Parts suppliers are aware of this, so they design spares that can fit seamlessly onto older truck models without drastic modification.
As much as we’d all love our purchase to be fresh and store-bought, our budgets don’t always allow it. With the economy constantly tightening and the need to maximise profits and live within our means, many customers are pushed towards items that are vintage, pre-owned, or pre-loved. This stretches from houses to clothes and even heavy vehicle spares.
Fortunately, ‘second-hand’ spares don’t have to be ‘bad’ spares. Increasingly, aftermarket suppliers are making direct arrangements with truck brands, allowing them to source genuine new parts at aftermarket prices. They do this by shopping in bulk, buying direct from manufacturers, and using shipping schedules that cut down costs. This lets them sell to customers at much lower prices without compromising on quality.
It’s now much easier to do some background research on aftermarket suppliers, ensuring that they have a good reputation, reliable parts, and wide distribution networks to enhance availability. This makes aftermarket shopping easier, more affordable, and more convenient than buying from original truck manufacturers.