Each jurisdiction has police vehicles with varying ages and mileages. What impact does the age of the police vehicle have on maintenance costs? What impact does the average mileage driven have on maintenance costs? Are there age and mileage thresholds where maintenance costs increase?
ICMA's Center for Performance Measurement's (CPM) fleet survey contains data on the number of police vehicles, their average age, the annual mileage driven, and questions on the maintenance costs of vehicles.
The average age of the police fleet does not appear to be a factor in maintenance costs. Many would suspect that the older a vehicle is, the higher the vehicle maintenance costs are. However, among CPM participants, maintenance costs per vehicle are not shown to increase as the average age of the police vehicles increases. It is possible that age has an impact, but because CPM jurisdictions are replacing their vehicles regularly, the impact of age is not demonstrated.
The average number of miles driven per year is shown to have an impact on maintenance costs. Up to an average of 20,000 miles driven per vehicle, there does not appear to be a large difference in maintenance expenditures. However, after the threshold of 20,000 miles driven per vehicle, other maintenance costs per vehicle become much larger. This appears in both FY2009 and FY2010.
As a reminder, preventive maintenance includes daily maintenance and inspection services performed by assigned drivers/operators, as well as the systematic inspection and servicing of motor equipment at intervals compatible with manufacturers’ recommendations for lubrication and mechanical services (e.g., oil change, fan belt adjustment, replacing cracked hoses, safety and emissions inspections).
Other maintenance is unscheduled maintenance that arises from a trouble report or emergency road call. It is also maintenance (other than body repair) required due to vehicle misuse/abuse, regardless of whether reimbursement was sought or received. Accident or body damage repairs and capital expenditures are not included in total maintenance expenditures.
Seeing how the average miles driven per vehicle affects maintenance expenditures is important when considering how a jurisdiction’s fleet may be used. Based on this data, jurisdictions may want to track mileage of individual police vehicles and compare to the 20,000 mile threshold. If similar trends prevail within their police fleets, participants may wish to consider ways to reduce the other maintenance expenditures that are incurred by police vehicles with higher annual mileage.
Although similar patterns appear in other vehicle categories, they are strongest in the police vehicles category, due to the greater number of miles police vehicles tend to be driven.
To learn more about ICMA's Center for Performance Measurement, visit icma.org/performance.