Aftermarket body parts and chrome accents will make a company’s fleet stand out to prospective clients, but accessories are also designed to protect the vehicles and make them safer and more efficient on the road.
Bull bars are one of the most common aftermarket accessories fitted to trucks. The term “bull” was coined in North America after drivers installed bull bars to prevent cattle smashing through their radiators, leaving them stranded.
Many South African trucks venture into sub-Saharan Africa and further afield, and they, too, face unfenced domestic animals, in addition to large wildlife such as kudu, which can severely damage a truck.
It must be noted, however, that a bull bars can increase the risk of death or serious injury in the unfortunate event that a pedestrian is hit.
Headlight stone guard
A headlight stone guard is sometimes integrated with the bull bar, or made to cover only the headlights. There are several different types of headlight protectors. The more conventional ones are made from a wire mesh with a metal surround, while the more modern ones are made from polycarbonate or polyurethane.
Windscreen stone guard
Windscreen stone guards are normally made from aluminium, or steel with wire mesh in the centre. Many are finished off with powder coating or chrome electroplating. Windscreen guards are designed to protect the windscreen from stone chips and other debris that may break the window and potentially injure the driver.
Roof, side and back bars
A roof bar can protect the roof of a cab from being damaged by overhanging tree branches on the road, or falling objects in the warehouse. Roof bars can also be fitted with brackets onto which spotlights can be fitted.
Side bars protect the horse from being damaged if accidentally driven into by a vehicle such as a forklift, while back bars prevent damage when hitching or reversing into tight spots. They can also prevent cars from becoming lodged underneath the truck or trailer in the event of an accident.
Spotlights help to improve illumination when driving on unlit roads. It is, however, important to make sure they conform to regulations. In addition, lights mounted in a higher position make the truck more visible to motorists, improving their ability to gage the height and width of the vehicle from a distance.
No horse and trailer should be without mud flaps, which prevent the wheels of the horse and trailer kicking up stones and damaging other vehicles.
These can be upgraded to anti-spray units, which prevent spray coming from the tyres which can impair the vision of those travelling behind the truck. An added benefit is that less spray will mean less dirt and oils are be picked up from the tarmac and deposited on the side of the truck.
Aerodynamics and aero kits
Aerodynamics is the way air moves around things and the affect that this has on a vehicle is known as drag. More streamlined vehicles will have less drag and will require less fuel to get up to speed and stay there.
Custom-made aero kits fitted to trucks have the potential to pay for themselves over time, due to this saving of fuel, which also helps to reduce pollution.