Ground department managers for institutional and commercial facilities have many factors to consider when deciding to repair or replace their utility vehicles.
Utility vehicles are used by crews to haul, mow, drag, patrol and more, so these vehicles must be cost-effective, versatile, durable and powerful enough to meet the department’s needs. Managers should ask themselves:
- How often is the utility vehicle being used?
- Is the cost of repair higher than renting or leasing a comparable vehicle?
- Is rebuilding an option? (a rebuilt unit should cost less than one-half and add as much as three-quarters to the life of a new vehicle.)
- If repairing, what are the costs vs. lost downtime, and productivity vs. future repairs?
If the answers to these questions determine that replacement is the better option, managers must weigh the nature of crew activities, plus ground and weather conditions that will affect the durability of a vehicle’s performance life.
For example, here are a few of the specific factors that must be considered
- What is the landscape size and topography?
- What activities must be performed?
- What climate considerations will affect the UV’s power and endurance?
- What type of warranty does the supplier provide?
Finally, managers must decide on a power source, whether traditional gasoline, or its green alternatives (electricity, propane, or bio-diesel fuel).
While gasoline still dominates, green products are not only environmentally friendly, but can improve the efficiency and performance life of a utility vehicle while lessening the chances for mechanical failure.