By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy ARTSA-i

A HEAVY VEHICLE association ‘good practice’ guide highlighting safety-critical bus and truck replacement-part importance has been issued to industry, recently.

“The guide defines acceptable supply practice and advises purchasers what to expect from suppliers," said

The ARTSA Institute (ARTSA-i) - formerly known as the Australian Road Transport Suppliers’ Association – released its ‘Good Practice Guide for Supply of Replacement Parts for use on Heavy Vehicles’ at the 2021 Brisbane Truck Show to, "…boost safety for heavy vehicle drivers and all road users."

The guide aims to raise awareness of suppliers, purchasers and installers of safety-critical replacement parts about supply practices, according to ARTSA-i.

It describes actions that suppliers should take to ensure parts are suitably certified, that records are kept, and installation information is provided. The guide does not favour original equipment parts over after-market parts, nor does it favour ‘bricks and mortar retailers’ over online suppliers, it explains. It provides common-sense actions that all part suppliers should take, but often don’t, says ARTSA-i.

"We aim to reduce the risk of workshops fitting poor quality or inadequately rated safety-critical parts, as well as providing an understanding of the different types of replacement parts available in the market," said Dr Peter Hart, executive member at ARSTA-i and a certified vehicle engineer.

"For many types of replacement parts there are no requirements to meet a standard. For safety-critical parts such as braking, steering and suspension, the supply, selection and fitment of sub-standard replacement parts could compromise the safety of … drivers and all other road users.

Inspecting vehicle steering components DSC_1000 2.jpg

"A casual glance at the part may not reveal any inherent unsuitability for the intended task, due to inappropriate materials used or short-cuts taken during manufacturing.

"Just because the part may appear to fit, does not necessarily mean it is suitable or safe. It is the supplier’s responsibility to correctly describe the status of the part to the market.

"ARSTA-i has devised this guide in association with its members, as well as outside experts, to offer clarity to everyone in the replacement parts chain, regarding the suitability and safety of parts with acceptable quality that may be sourced by an operator or workshop," Hart explained.

"Price is an easy-to-understand variable, but quality and suitability are harder to determine - and in some cases, there is no linear relationship between price and quality.

"It is when things go wrong that the supplier’s quality controls and record keeping become critical," he added.

Dr Peter Hart ARTSA-i with failed components DSC_0916 2.jpg


Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law those who are involved in heavy vehicle transport have a duty to ensure the safety of their transport activities, including to ensure their vehicles comply with vehicle standards and are appropriately maintained, ARTSA-i highlights.

"Operators should purchase good-value parts for heavy vehicles that will provide safe, reliable, and legal performance," Hart said.

"The guide defines acceptable supply practice and advises purchasers what to expect from suppliers.

"The use of poor-quality parts leaves the operator vulnerable to expensive breakdowns and reworks, enforcement attention, and loss of insurance cover.

"For this latter reason alone every vehicle operator is urged to ensure that their in-house technicians, or third-party workshops and suppliers, fit parts that are suitable for the job.

"We want to reduce the risk of in-service failure of all replacement parts, to avoid the vehicle crashing, or simply breaking down on the highway where they may be vulnerable to impact by other road users, potentially causing death, injury, loss or damage.

"We believe these risks can be mitigated if replacement parts suppliers implement the quality-assurance activities specified in this new guide," Hart said.

ARTSA-I Failed components DSC_0935 2.jpg


The Guide recognises – and has advice graduated according to - these four risk levels:

1. Safety Critical

2. Safety and Compliant Relevant

3. Minor Safety Relevance and

4. No Safety and Compliance Concerns.

 By implementing the guide’s suggestions suppliers will identify appropriate technical standards, hold validation test reports, keep supply records, review failure reports, and provide installation information, ARTSA-I explains.

"All suppliers of parts can and should comply with the requirements of this Guide," Hart recommended.

The Guide is applicable to replacement parts used to replace an original part, and for parts that are used to modify a vehicle.

"We would like to see workshop parts buyers transacting with suppliers who are following the guide, so they can be confident that practices are being followed that promote good part quality."



This guide identifies good practices that will support suppliers, purchasers, operators, and others involved in the servicing or modification of heavy vehicles, to enhance the safety and reputation of the road transport sector, ARTSA-I explains.

Additionally, the purchaser and fitter of these parts will have peace-of-mind that they have completed satisfactorily their role in the chain of responsibility (CoR).

"The Guide will also be of interest to enforcement officers inspecting vehicles at the roadside, who may be able to recognise quality replacement parts used in safety-critical areas," Hart explained.

ARTSA-i is reaching out to all heavy vehicle owners and operators, as well as repair shops, in-house workshops and parts retailers, and to relevant truck industry bodies, to explain the content of the guide and how it can best be utilised.

It can be downloaded at: www.artsa.com.au



The ARTSA Institute (ARTSA-i) was established to respond the challenge of the rapidly changing heavy vehicle industry, it states.

It undertakes collaborative independent research in the domain of heavy vehicle transport, it adds.

The outcomes of the research are intended to inform the development of future policies of relevance to the heavy vehicle sector, it says.

ARTSA-i is also a leader in gathering and analysing information on the Heavy Vehicle Transport industry in Australia, it says.

Current institute projects include:

* Replacement Parts Project – to reduce the use of poor-quality parts being used for safety critical heavy vehicle parts;

* Brake Calculator Project – to provide the industry with a world-leading brake calculator for accessing compliance with ADRs;

* Analysis of the uptake of Performance Based Standards (PBS) vehicles in Australia; and

* Institute Data Analytics quarterly report on the heavy vehicle data.


You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook