4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

WE DON’T of­ten re­flect on how much we out­lay on 4x4 af­ter­mar­ket ac­ces­sories, but a re­cent re­view of in­sur­ance cov­er­age for the Hilux showed us how much coin we’d spent. Grav­i­tat­ing to­wards an in­sur­ance provider that promised cov­er­age for both the rig and the things we’ve added to it over the past 10 years, we de­vel­oped an in­ven­tory of ex­actly how much we’d spent on the bits we’ve bolted, sprayed, clicked and screwed onto it. The sum we ended up with was close to $25,000, and while this ex­pen­di­ture had been spread over 10 years it was still an eye­wa­ter­ing amount.

It made us think, how is a per­son start­ing out in the 4x4 world sup­posed to come up with that sort of coin on top of the orig­i­nal ve­hi­cle cost? The an­swer: slowly but surely. But is there an­other way? En­ter the world of wreck­ing.

Not all write-offs are “com­plete” write-offs. Af­ter all, flood dam­age doesn’t af­fect bull­bars, rear bars, side-steps or roof racks; rear-en­ders won’t dam­age a set of spot­ties or LED light bars; and an en­gine-bay fire won’t af­fect rear cam­eras, car seat cov­ers or rear tray tubs and cargo racks.

On our last visit to our favourite wreck­ing yards we found fully ser­vice­able snorkels dis­played for be­tween $110-$375, de­pend­ing on make and model, which is less than half the price for these pieces of moulded plas­tic tub­ing. We also found three mod­els of Warn winches avail­able for $600 or less, which is clearly 50 per cent and bet­ter than the RRP. Get a bit of kit like this ser­viced by some­one who knows what they’re do­ing (like Hume Of­froad, who pre­vi­ously op­er­ated as Hume Winches) and you’d be well on your way.

The avail­abil­ity of ser­vice­able sec­ond-hand parts at con­sis­tently re­duced rates is good news for any 4x4er, not just those do­ing it tough. Af­ter all, it can make a lot of sense to

save a few hun­dred dol­lars by sourc­ing sec­ond-hand spares for the next trip. And, when we smash a head­light pro­tec­tor dur­ing a long week­ender, is it re­ally nec­es­sary to pay RRP for a re­place­ment pair? Or per­haps the is­sue is that the part we need is no longer avail­able via re­tail out­lets.

Plus, in an era char­ac­terised by ram­pant con­sumerism, pick­ing through a wreck­ing yard is a great way to bol­ster our com­mit­ment to re­cy­cling.

There are spe­cial­ist 4x4 wreck­ers all over the coun­try, in­clud­ing Glenn’s 4x4 Wreck­ers in Can­berra and All Model 4WD Spares in Revesby, which is Syd­ney’s largest 4WD wreck­ing yard. In Vic­to­ria, Smart Parts claim the ti­tle of Aus­tralia’s lead­ing 4WD and light com­mer­cial parts dis­man­tler. And there’s Early Land Cruiser Spares in South Aus­tralia if great if you have an old Tojo.

Some out­lets have parts neatly stacked on shelves and ready for in­spec­tion, while oth­ers in­vite you to turn up with a socket set and go trea­sure hunt­ing. Some wreck­ers have an in­ven­tory of parts avail­able on­line; some pro­vide a re­quest form; and oth­ers have Face­book pages list­ing the ve­hi­cles that are about to be stripped or re­worked.

So the next time you get the itch for an auto ac­ces­sory, per­haps you should let your fingers do the walk­ing and call a cou­ple of lo­cal wreck­ers to see if they can help sort you out.

Start mak­ing a habit of this, and you could save your­self a pretty penny.

Some wreck­ers have an in­ven­tory of parts on­line to choose from.

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