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Accessories

4x4 arts do not sell accessories, recovery equipment or 4 wheel drives.  The advice offered is the result of our research and the experiences we've had,  both good and bad.  

All prospective buyers of expensive accessories should satisfy them selves of two questions:  

What does it do? and /or

Why do I need it? 

It is important to remember that you have done the cheap bit - you've bought your 4x4.   

 Now, to make it ready to travel, that costs a quid but how much do you really need to buy?.  If you’re vehicle is in good order and well maintained, there are not many places in Australia that you can’t go with a little preparation.  We do not publish trek notes as there in no point in reinventing the wheel.    If you're  a dreamer, half hearted, or, are full on going to travel, always gather as much information as you can and make YOUR decisions based on that information.

I retired on September 18, 2000 and prior to this, I had not met or dealt with any of the suppliers, except Ken Jackson of Kaymar, and in the following listings, you could say there is enough information for a:

  “Dummies Guide to 4x4 Accessories”.

Experience has taught that very few people, or organisations, are good at everything, and that is the same in 4x4 accessories.   Most successful suppliers started with a core business with a product that was superior, and built it up from there .  "Stick to your knitting", so  to speak.  Establish a supplier's best product and you’re not quite home and hosed but getting close.  The costs involved in accessory purchase must be, and continue to be, reasonable or we simply could not afford to purchase and then put these items to use.  The Melbourne metropolitan area is home to the majority of suppliers and importers of quality 4 wheel drive accessories.  They all fiercely guard, both their own, and their product's reputation.

We are now seeing an influx of cheaper accessories sourced in China which appear remarkably similar to top name products.  On our 2002 trip to the Cape we came across a new winch of Chinese origin that was going to revolutionise the market.  Not only was it two horse power better that the Warne but it was a lot cheaper.  When I first saw it the word "bargain' began to form in the back of my mind and by the time we all returned to Brisbane the words "boat anchor" fit the product quite well.  It just didn't live up to the hype.  Cable could not be wound out because the solenoid blew.  It was replaced at Weipa and blew again.  It wound in three times and the cable came home draped around the bull bar.  It must have had to much horse power for the truck.  Remember if you buy a boat anchor that's how it will perform. During our last visit in 2005 the bloody thing still wasn't working properly and one of the usual suspects was waiting 11 months later for a warranty repair.  Be warned.

Years of travelling OZ as a sort of professional traveler, gives insight into which products are reliable,  who actually uses them, and the purposes for which they are used.  Across Oz from the high country to the salt flats of central OZ, all your accessories must have the ability to work properly in all conditions.  It would be easy to say that this site flogs products based on discounts or payments received - IF ONLY - we've spent a bloody fortune.    After travelling the high country last summer and the Cape the last 5 winters, I know that we have quality equipment and it all works.

Accessories will not stop disaster, but if it should occur, the right accessories will help you retrieve the situation.  The last two years have seen further exploration of Cape York and the roads are rough, the water full of barra and crocs, and the roads full of half educated four wheel drivers doing their best to see the sights. If you are going to use equipment that is not standard such as snatch straps and hand/power winches, know how they operate. Know the safe working loads of all your equipment as they are there to make your life easier not  some perverse collector's trophy only to be shown to the lesser equipped.

Good accessory providers, enjoy a great reputation built up over many years of research, development and improving their products.  Ordinary companies come along and copy a good product, mostly using cheap labour and materials, and sell them cheap. 

 Buy Cheap Get Cheap.  

These products are not the real McCoy so when they blow up don't say you weren't told as you sit there and watch your hard earned dollars disintegrate.

It should always be remembered that all vehicles have a finite amount of space and the one thing accessories do is take up space and lots of it.  Roof racks will only carry light stuff at the best of times and I've only seen one that carries over 200 kgs.   It was that heavy you got tired just looking at it.  To those who load up the spare tyre,  add another tyre, or perhaps an additional jerry can holder, be it on the back door or a bar mounted carrier, just may arrive at their destination and find that it just fell off somewhere down the track.  It is amazing what you collect on some of the roads.  For instance, in 2001, I managed to collect an entire set of 60 series indicators, two back and two front.  I have no idea how many vehicles they came from. 

Just remember, that it is actually possible to over accessorise.  When this happens they leave the realm of aids and become "hazards".

 

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