Polish spares for Żuk are cheap and plentiful. But even if you are used to international eBay, there are still a few obstacles to overcome..
Here are a few things to consider when buying spares from other sites
Websites like OLX and Sprzedajemy have loads of parts, listed at very attractive prices, and it does feel a little bit like all your Christmases have come at once, especially if you are used to paying western-European prices!
So far I have been able to get a few parts from Poland second hand, mainly thanks to Google translate. But there are a lot of hurdles. So just manage those expectations a little before you hear back from that person who has that one part that you *really* *really* need.
Here are the reasons you will struggle to get everything you want online:
- Many of the sort of people who own a Żuk are not likely to speak English
- Or be technologically savvy
- Or have a smart-phone
- Or take particularly great photos
- Or be willing to post, even if assured you will meet any cost
- Or be set up to take payment electronically in the manner you are accustomed to
- Or be willing to deal with a foreigner in general as it sounds like hassle.
- A fair amount of listed adverts are already sold, and not marked “Sprzedane”.
The above should really not be underestimated. In as much that, at the time of writing, just 49% of the Polish population have smartphones and the people looking to sell those parts are not necessarily used to the market conditions or systems that you are.
I have found success with:
Keeping email brutally short, and including in both English and Polish. However, it is better that the message is written in Polish by a native speaker, as there will still be a hurdle when they realise where you live, and how you want to pay!
My hit rate of getting written replies to adverts for parts is better than it was for the whole Żuk, typically getting a 50:50 response. For vehicle enquiries it was a low 20%, rising to a 50% response rate with native polish speakers ringing on my behalf, but even then these sellers really didn’t care if they sold their Żuk or not. And some sellers were even rude if you asked for a single picture!
In terms of delivery, be flexible. I waited for one seller to come to the UK on holiday, and he thanked me by bringing a bunch of other parts – even though he only had carry on luggage. I’d also add, don’t even imagine bartering on the price of delivery. Prices will be competitive, and they don’t rise until you get above 30kg.
So, taking this all on board – are these sites worth it compared to the sites where sellers are made to jump through hoops to give buyers an easier ride?
Simple answer. You bet. I’ve seen literally every part, nut, bolt or washer for sale. And it’s like the high you get from finding ‘that’ ebay part, only times 100 when the bubble wrapped surprises arrive!
In terms of the bits I’ve had to find, I’ve found the international Żuk owners themselves to be the most amazing bunch of guys, always willing to give help and advice. It seems to take a Żuk beyond Polish borders you have to be a special kind of crazy.
Above: This has been my favourite Polish Żuk part purchase so far.
Next time? A good look around the A15 and the road to UK registration begins.. (I hope)..