Magazine article Law & Order

High Mileage Patrol Cars

Magazine article Law & Order

High Mileage Patrol Cars

Article excerpt

"Why can't your officers put 200,000 miles on their police cars? I do it on my personal car." How many chiefs, sheriffs and fleet managers have had to field a question like that from a tight-fisted city council member, or otherwise wellmeaning citizen? The answer is that you CAN put 200,000 miles on police cars! In some cases, you already are putting that mileage on but just don't know it. In cases where you are not, all it takes is a lot of money for preventative maintenance.

First, most police sedans are taken out of service with between 90,000 and 115,000 miles on the odometer. Based on five years in service, an hour of idling per shift, three shifts a day and Ford's engine wear estimate of 33 miles per idle hour, that works out to be 180,000 miles IN ADDITION to what is on the odometer. This hot-seated police car actually has 280,000 miles on it.

Feel free to fill in your own assumptions in the calculation. A take-home car in the above example (one shift a day, five days a week) would still have nearly 150,000 actual miles on an odometer displaying just 100,000 miles. Idling just one hour a shift adds at least 50% to the odometer reading. All you have to do is explain to the council member why the emergency vehicle needs to idle while his car doesn't.

Second, it is entirely possible to run 200,000 or 350,000 odometer miles on any vehicle. You just have to keep replacing parts. Longevity costs money. How long do you want to go?

The prudent fleet managers, who report to prudent city managers, know that the lowest overall fleet cost comes from avoiding the first major repair expense. …

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