The way vehicles are used is changing. It’s time to update some common terminology to keep pace, says an automotive aftermarket expert.
Fleet vehicles have generally been associated with work vehicles and ‘work vehicles’ have traditionally been defined as Ford F-250s, Ram 3500s, Transit vans and the like.
But what about someone who’s driving around in his Toyota Corolla as an Uber, asked Victor Moreira, technical services manager at Mevotech.
He used himself as an example: On a normal work day, he’d drive 15 km in the morning to work and the same amount home. The vehicle would be in operation for 45 minutes for the entire day.
“If I drove that thing [as an] Uber, I would do 45 minutes of operation in the first 45 minutes of work. If I work five hours a day, I would put over a week’s worth of work and one half-day. That automatically in my opinion becomes a fleet vehicle. I don’t really care if the vehicle’s a smart car, or if it is a 3500-series vehicle,” he said during Fleet Day in Toronto, hosted by Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario.
He recommended viewing vehicles by how many hours they’re operating, not the number of kilometres put on the odometer. That means an Uber driver, for example, is needing an oil change every few weeks compared to Moreira, who may need one every six months. The driver is changing components out far more often.
“But we don’t think of components like that in that aspect. You look at a ball joint and say, ‘Ball joints should be good for at least five, six years.’ Well, he’s putting five, six years’ worth of use in it in one year,” Moreira said.
He recommended the industry change how it looks at maintenance schedules to take into account these changes in driving, whether it’s ridesharing, food delivery or Amazon deliveries.
“Those should also be classified as fleet vehicles [considering] the amount of work that they put up,” Moreira said.