In some parts of the world, Volvo is a high-end vehicle associated with certain professions. Some consider it a ‘doctor’s car’ though that may be an association with Red Cross, because Volvo is a Swedish car. If your buying preferences are driven by nationality, then it may simply be a decision driven by the country you prefer between Sweden and Germany. Design wise, Mercedes vehicles are generally curvier while Volvos are full of lines and angles.
Mercedes trucks are known for their power and torque, while Volvo has a reputation for durability. Their trucks can take more punishment before they require servicing, which makes them more cost-effective in the long run. Still, like Mercedes trucks, parts are pricy and can be hard to come by if you haven’t developed the right networks. Here are some tips on how to maintain those truck parts connections.
Join a group
Even if you don’t consider yourself an extrovert, online forums can be a good way to meet people with access to truck parts. Of course it helps to be civil – friendly even – because these kinds of relationships are built on camaraderie and trust. Offer something useful and you’ll receive something useful in exchange. You can observe fellow group members and see what their interests are – outside of truck parts of course. This will help you find common ground, and these moments of connection can evolve into good deals.
Select your group based on the online platform that you’re most comfortable with. Facebook is good for albums and live feeds from – say – a trip to a Volvo junk yard. Instagram is visually driven, while Twitter is more about conversation. WhatsApp and Telegram are a mish-mash of all those features and are accessible without logging in, so in a sense they’re closer within reach than web-based social media. Vet your group mates though, carefully.
Keep your eyes open
The beauty of being a truck driver is you cover thousands of kilometres in any given week, and those routes are full of opportunities if you just keep an eye out for them. You probably have a regular circuit, so places and faces along the route could be familiar to you. If you want to, you can turn those casual encounters into profitable opportunities, especially in terms of sourcing spares. Put the word out that you’re in the market and see what comes up.
When you make an overnight stop, ask if there are any Volvo dealers in the neighbourhood, or any junk yards you can go diving in. Poke around to see if there are Volvo owners within the locality. They’re likely to have helpful tips on where you can find spares, not just in the vicinity but elsewhere along your truck route. They can point you in the right direction, and may even have parts you can swap, especially since you come through regularly.
Check in with dealerships
Original equipment manufacturers tend to be on the higher side price-wise. They’re sure to have whatever parts you’re looking for, and in the right specifications for your truck, but at premium prices. You’d also have to install your parts at their garages, which attracts an extra labour charge, also billed at premium. The upside of dealership OEM parts is they retain the validity of your warranty, something you might not always get from self-sourced parts.
Whenever you drive within range of an authorised dealer try to adjust your schedule so you can swing by without breaking your timelines. Even if you don’t buy from them, you get a price range, and you can inspect their genuine parts and get a feel of them. It’ll help you distinguish them from any fakes you might find along your driving route.
Attend car shows
Any time you get the chance, visit car expos. They’re often organised and attended by participants in the automotive industry, from manufacturers to parts dealers. Walk around the booths and stalls, seeing what’s available and at what price. You can also get information about any branches located along your drive. Apart from interviewing the staffers at exhibition stands, mingle with other truckers attending the event.
Remember, they’re there for the same reason you are – to find deals for their Volvo trucks. There’s a theory that most jobs are acquired through soft links, not hard ones. You’re more likely to be hired by a friend of a friend’s sister than your own sibling, so actively cultivate these kinds of relationships. Truck shows are a good way to spot and build these connections.