RALEIGH — North Carolina bean counters think the state can save taxpayers millions of dollars on its fleet of vehicles. The state may rebuild about a tenth of the fleet, rather than buy new cars, in hopes that the program pays off down the road.
Full size Chevy Caprice sedans are a favorite of police officers and other state employees who drive a lot, but they're no longer made. Twelve of the state's 800 Caprice sedans have been completely rebuilt by a Michigan auto dealer. The fleet manager says they're good as new.
"The cars come with a three year or 50,000 mile warranty on the engine and transmission, and a one year or 12,000 mile warranty on other replaced parts," said John Massey, director of the N.C. motor fleet.
Warranties on the rebuilt vehicles are actually better than those for new cars. All major components are replaced, in some cases even the seats, for about half the cost of a new car.
"We have spent $11,000 on rebuilding it which is $9,637 less than what it would cost us to buy a new one to replace it," said Massey.
A lot more than the engine and transmission are new.
The mechanical parts that wear out in a car are generally hidden, underneath and in some cases, most all of them are replaced, including shocks, springs, struts, drive shaft, universal and seal.
Taking one of the rebuilt cars on the road, WRAL-TV5'sTom Lawrencefound it performed well.
He said the rebuilt car drove nicely and had no rattles. It was obviously not a new car, Lawrence said, but it was much cheaper.
Cost efficiency is the idea behind rebuilding sedans with 90,000 miles on them. If all 800 big sedans are rebuilt rather than replaced, the state could save $8 million dollars.