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When Ordering Car Parts, Which Side is Left or Right?
“The driver’s side is considered the left side, right?” That’s a question that many restorers have asked themselves time and time again. To be frank, it can be extremely confusing, as your right side if you’re looking at the car is the total opposite of your right side if you’re driving it.
Years ago, auto manufacturers realized this and used to stamp an ‘L’ or an ‘R’ on the assembly portion of the headlights and taillights so that you wouldn’t get confused, but there are so many components that differ from the left and ride side of a car, its easy to get one mixed up with the next.
Dive in with us as we explore how to tell which side of the car is considered left and right, so the next time you order a part, you won’t be disappointed when you take it out of the box.
It’s clear why some people get the “left side and the right side” of the car very confusing. Simply referring to the “driver’s side” and the “passenger side” doesn’t always suffice because in different parts of the world, the “driver’s side” can be on either side of the car.
The “Left” is on the left and the “Right” is on the right.
To answer the troubling question we bring you a scenario:
Picture your dream car: it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it has four wheels and a steering wheel. Now imagine yourself getting inside and looking straight ahead. Now look to the left, see that? That’s considered the “Left” side of the car. Now look to the right. This side is considered the “Right” side of the car.
So the next time you order window seals, interior parts, or suspension or steering partsyou can order with the assurance that you’re purchasing the right part for the right side of the car (even if it’s on the left). For many parts like insulation and sound deadeners this distinction is not as important but for virtually everything else, it is critical to get right.
Now that we’ve established which side is right and left, here are a few easy tips to remember when ordering your next part. These will keep you from making a blunder:
No matter what part of the world you are in, left is left and right is right. Regardless if you’re driving a classic left-hand-drive American muscle car or a classic right-hand drive Aston Martin, picture yourself sitting in the car and refer to the directions as such.
The next time you pick up the phone or go to your computer to order parts, make sure you don’t fall into saying “driver’s side” and “passenger’s side”. Although these terms may help you when ordering from a local parts supplier, where all of the parts in stock are for left hand or right-hand drive vehicles, this may not be the case if you order from an international supplier.
Because many classic vehicles were made in both left and right-hand variants, referring to the “driver’s side” can be a roll of the dice, especially if the auto part supplier you’re purchasing from is based in another country. Trust us, nothing is worse waiting for weeks for the classic car parts you desperately need to arrive and it’s for the wrong side of the vehicle.
RIGHT HAND, LEFT HAND, DRIVER SIDE, PASSENGER SIDE, WHAT’S THE DEAL?
For as long as there have been cars and trucks, around 100 years, this is a question that will never go away. Right Hand vs. Left Hand, Driver Side vs. Passenger Side. If you’re a gear head or you buy a lot of truck and auto parts, then you probably have this question nailed already. But for newcomers, and the general person who might just be jumping in into the world of fixing their own vehicle and ordering parts, let’s go over this and bring you up to speed to help you get the right part every time.
The basics are the same no matter where you live or drive on the planet. No matter where you’re at, your left hand is your left, and your right hand is always your right. In the USA? Your left hand is your left hand. Living Down Under in Australia? Your Left Hand is still your Left Hand. Doing a tour of duty on the ISS in orbit? Yep, your Left Hand is still your left hand. Now you’re getting it!
Most of the time, everybody has that pretty much figured out. But when it comes to auto parts, and your vehicle, there’s a relationship between the two. That’s because many parts will only fit on the left, or only on the right. Just like your favorite winter gloves, they will only fit one hand or the other. Many parts are the same, one side or the other, but rarely both sides.
To indicate WHERE they fit, they are usually referred to as “left hand side” or “right hand side”. When it comes to auto parts, the sides are determined by the position of the driver in the vehicle, facing forward. Meaning, looking over the hood, and sitting in the driver’s seat, your left hand is the left side, your right hand is the right side.
As you can see above, parts described for the left hand side would be on the left, and right hand parts would be on the right.
One this Jeep, the steering wheel is on the LEFT SIDE. But on export (also sometimes referred to as “grey market”) vehicles, such as in countries like Australia, Britain, and many others, the steering wheel is on the RIGHT SIDE.
This will not effect the way you order or describe parts. It works the same: left hand parts fit the left side. right hand parts fit the right hand side.
Now, let’s take a look at another description that’s sometimes used to help place auto parts, and note their location. DRIVER SIDE, and PASSENGER SIDE.
We try not to use that term here, because we ship parts all over the world Internationally, and the steering wheel could be on the right side (commonly referred to as RHD = Right Hand Drive).
If you walked into a local parts store, say in the USA, where 99% of the vehicles are left hand drive (LHD), they will usually ask if you need a part for the driver or passenger side. If they sell you a part for the Driver side, it will be for the left side.
In Australia, the same question at their local parts store would be the opposite, their Driver side would get you part for the Right side.
If we sell a part for an export vehicle, (and we carry many of them), we will note it on our website with the RHD designation.
We know you already understand the difference between front and rear, so that won’t effect much, except that a part, especially on a 4-door vehicle, can be Left Front, Right Front, and of course, Left Rear, and Right Rear.
Overall, it’s a common issue, left or right side, and even mechanics make the mistake sometimes. As long as you know your left from your right, you’ll be ok.
Is the Driver’s Side the Left or Right?
There are several rules and laws that are followed the same way in several countries. However, exceptions do exist and there is a good chance that you might have noticed some changes whenever you had visited another country.
The differences may be surprising since a person has been accustomed to his own country’s lifestyle, one such difference that exists in many countries is the driver’s side of a vehicle.
There may be a time when you have noticed some video on the internet where the driver’s seat is on the other side compared to your car.
At first glance, it may look odd and a sort of manufacturing fault but there are certain reasons why the driver’s position is on the other side and today we will discuss these reasons and some other important information. As discussed earlier, the driver’s seat can either be on the left or right side of a car depending on the region and country.
Vehicles that have their steering wheel and other driver’s controls on the right side of the car are called RHD – right-hand drive cars and they have their driver’s side on the right side of the car.
On the contrary, several vehicles have their driving controls and steering mounted on their left side these vehicles are referred to as LHD – left-hand drive cars/vehicles, such vehicles have their driver’s side on the left side of the car.