How many miles should the average person put on a car before they upgrade? Increased replacement mileage due to shrinking budgets and improved vehicle performance are two reasons, law enforcement agencies drive fleet vehicles farther and longer than ever.
Although you may not be driving a fleet vehicle keep in mind that the general public more often then not can achieve the same results with their automobiles. After all these cars and trucks come out of the same factory regardless of being public or private. So lets use these payed for with tax dollars cars and trucks as a measuring stick for our own automobiles.
Today's law enforcement fleet managers and the general public are forced to keep vehicles to the hundred thousand mile level and beyond, a figure many industry experts agree is an appropriate level. However, this mileage level was unheard of a decade ago.
Most fleets prefer to keep the fleet vehicle replacement mileage level in the 75,000-mile range. The perception is that the older a vehicle the more expensive it is to maintain.
This seems much more important when given the nature of the law enforcement profession and the job itself. But what about the stress on the vehicle? Police cars often find themselves in high-speed police chases and driven across varying terrains and unusually hard-driving practices.
Because of better engine design and higher quality parts inherent with today's vehicles you can drive modern cars longer. Plus long life spark plugs and extended life coolant can reduce maintenance costs.
With the power train warranty at 100k miles and being able to extend this with an after market car warranty why not keep the vehicle longer?
Simply put cars are much better engineered today. With proper maintenance they last longer than even five years ago. At one time a police car with 100,000 miles was unheard of.
Now better engineering, parts quality, technician quality, and manufacturing improvements have all played a part in increasing the vehicle's life span. Some law enforcement agencies would like to replace the vehicle more frequently. One reason for this is that the police officer prefers to drive a newer patrol car.
Some local law enforcement agencies go the extra mile to secure a high quality employee. Setting the replacement mileage at a low mark allows the agency to replace the car sooner despite the fact that new police cars with the fleet option package are well equipped, built for heavy-duty usage and last longer.
The question of what to do with the used police vehicle is debated continually. Decisions can be based on resale values. The majority of agencies interviewed sell vehicles at county or local auctions. When the magic number is reached the vehicle is sold at local government auctions. The money secured from its resale is applied to purchasing new vehicles.
The average police vehicle is currently replaced at around 100,000 miles. When this vehicle is sold at auction, the local law enforcement agency can expect to receive $3000-$7500 on the resale of this vehicle. Local law enforcement agencies have seen the value at reselling the vehicle after it has reached its replacement mileage.
Local government agencies are now spending more time on preparing the vehicle to be sold at auction. Things like removing stripes, plugging holes where light bars where installed, removing radios and installing new interior panels, plus a complete detail of the vehicle is having a positive effect on the resale amount.
Not only has the local law enforcement agency received more money for the vehicle, but also they have provided a better value for the used car purchaser.
This new wave of police car auction vehicles are making a good deal even better. Even though the mileage of the patrol unit is creeping up the maintenance, daily repair and upkeep of the vehicle still makes it a solid used car purchase.
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