And We Have a Winner!


"The over-maintenance attitude"



And We Have a Winner!

By Police Fleet Manager Staff


The winner of the Police Fleet Manager Magazine “Fleet Tips” contest is Officer Richard Lee. He is the fleet manager for the San Francisco Police Department and member of the Dodge Police Advisory Board. See the Fleet Maintenance Tips article in the July-August 2013 issue of Police Fleet Manager and the Fleet Profile: San Francisco Police Department article in the November-December 2009 issue of Police Fleet Manager. (Go to, Resources, Article Archives.)

Lee’s winning “Fleet Tips” is not so much for any one recommendation. Instead, it is for a series of tips all aimed at highly maintaining a police fleet, even over-maintaining it. Not earthshaking, but steps like the continued practice of changing oil at 3,000 miles instead of waiting on the Change Oil light. What an attitude…over-maintaining an emergency vehicle.

More to the point from Officer Lee: When patrol, unmarked or admin vehicles come in for fueling, if PM is due, pull the vehicle out of service. Tweak your service intervals based on your jurisdiction. Hilly? Check the brakes more often. Dusty? Check the filters more often. Don’t see the vehicles for thousands of miles? Replace the brake pads when half worn, not when the scrapers hit the rotors.

Consider CNG vehicles, if possible. Use the “greenest” vehicles available for non-pursuit admin vehicles. Use only OE or (proven and documented) OE-equivalent replacement parts. Consider solar panels mounted on lightbars as a trickle charge to offset parasitic electrical losses. Consider an award program for officers who take care of their vehicles—a priority on new vehicles—while those who abuse and damage their vehicles get higher mileage vehicles as replacements.

And, yes, a highly maintained vehicle is a proven way to lower the total cost of ownership. Remember the old Fram filter ad, “You can pay me now or pay me later?” Catchy ad, but not quite true. The fleet facts are actually, You can pay me now or pay me MORE later.

Maximus did a total cost study based on the percent compliance to the preventative maintenance schedule. Compliance means the PM is done within 500 miles of the schedule. Check the compliance rate of your fleet, but expect it to be 30 percent or less. Don’t be surprised if it is 0 percent, large fleet or small. Maximus found that by increasing the PM compliance rate from 30 percent to 95 percent, you will lower your overall repair costs by 38 percent.

That is just the hard dollars and cents. The indirect benefits are a fleet much more fit for the emergency response role, a fleet with a higher officer morale, a fleet with less downtime, a fleet that is a best practices benchmark for fleets around you. Increasing PM compliance rates will initially take more managing, and perhaps better fleet software, but a 38 percent reduction in repair costs is the reward.

Lowering fleet operation costs by increasing the compliance rate begins with attitude. As chief, sheriff or fleet manager, an over-maintenance attitude may just be the key to increasing compliance rates. Of course, a 95 percent compliance rate is not over-maintenance…it is economical maintenance. Anything less is under-maintenance.

Officer Lee, enjoy the PFM logo leather jacket. (The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. – Mark Twain) For the rest of us, let’s get to work on increasing that PM compliance rate and lowering repair costs.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Sep/Oct 2013

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