While many automotive components fit all types of vehicles, some types of product, in particular headlamps, heaters, evaporators, accelerator pedals, brake/clutch master cylinders etc, can differ in shape and design depending on the driver position.
Depending on the data we receive from suppliers and manufacturers, these are specified by ‘driver position’ or ‘traffic position’ and it is important to understand the difference.
This is the most common definition, and this describes the position of the driver within the vehicle.
For UK vehicles, the driver sits in the right-hand seat, so this is referred to as ‘right-hand drive’, or ‘RHD’ for short.
For USA and European vehicles, the driver sits in the left-hand seat, so this is referred to as ‘left-hand drive’, or ‘LHD’ for short.
Parts specified as ‘LHD only’ will not fit RHD vehicles, and vice versa.
This defines which side of the road the vehicle drives on.
In the UK, we drive on the left side of the road, so this can be referred to as ‘left-hand traffic’.
In the USA and much of Europe, vehicles drive on the right side of the road, which is referred to as ‘right-hand traffic’.
Parts specified as for ‘right-hand traffic’ will not be correct for vehicles that drive on the left side of the road, and vice-versa. In particular for headlamps, this is because of the way the beam is designed to point. Lamps designed for right-hand traffic will fit to UK vehicles, but won’t be correct and won’t be road legal.
For certain parts that are ‘handed’, they are designated a ‘fitting position’.
This is best visualised by viewing the vehicle ‘from above’, in order to work out which is the ‘left side’ or the ‘right side’.
It is common also to refer to such positions as ‘passenger side’ or ‘driver side’. But again, depending on where you are in the world, your definition of ‘driver’s side’ could be different to someone else’s!
So for example, someone in the UK looking for a ‘driver’s side tie rod end’ would actually want a front right tie rod end, while someone in the USA after the same part would want the front left tie rod end.
So it is important when enquiring with international parts sellers, such as ourselves, to be clear about which fitting position you actually need, to avoid being advised on the wrong part(s) to order.