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All You Need to Know about Utility Vehicles

All You Need to Know about Utility Vehicles

Utility vehicles today represent a necessity for a lot of jobs in construction, sports, road maintenance, and even in the army. Given their diversity, their practicality, and their brute force, these cars can become invaluable for any enterprise. We’re here because we know this, and are set to bring our readers a complete rundown of the pros and cons, the do's and do not's, the key things, and the in-betweens of utility vehicles that you need to know.

For the sake of easy-reading, we’ve split our guide to utility vehicles into three main parts. In the first section, we’ll be making a summary of all the types of utility vehicles that exist today and their respective uses. In the second section, we will talk about how to use these types of utility vehicles in a safe and worker-friendly manner. We will also mention how utility vehicle owners can make sure they pass vehicle safety inspections, and how they can instruct their workers so that they stay safe while using the cars. Last but not least, the third section of this article will deal with how the rental process for utility vehicles works. We will look at the usual companies and dealerships that offer to rent utility vehicles or golf buggies in the UK. The last bullet point on our utility vehicles guide will deal with finding the perfect service provider for your business enterprise.

 

Contents

Main Types of Utility Vehicles

Top 13 Tips for Using Utility Vehicles Safetly

Passing a Vehicle Inspection Procedure

Keeping Your Workers and Your Utility Vehicles Safe from Harm

Renting Utility Vehicles: All You Need to Know

Examples of Utility Vehicle Rental Companies

How to Select a Reliable Service Provider

 

Main Types of Utility Vehicles

The main types of utility vehicles in use today are electric. Electric utility vehicles are classified according to three distinctive features: what they’re good at, what they’re used for, and what technical specs they have. Therefore, seven separate types of utility vehicles can be clearly distinguished.

Some of these 7 types of utility vehicles are used in areas where the average consumer may not have access. To help our readers have a better understanding of the types of utility vehicles that are consumer-intended, we will dedicate more space to those. For the average utility vehicle user, it’s not that important to know everything about army utility vehicles.

Army utility vehicles. Famous for their reliability and for their practicality, the utility vehicles used by the army consisted some of the most invaluable equipment pieces for the British and the US Army during many of the armed conflicts of the last century. Subcategories of army utility vehicles span from tanks to trucks, to trailers, to cargo carriers, and even to military light utility vehicles. The latter have become famous all over the world as their WWII models represented the basis for what we know today as modern jeeps or SUVs (see the next subcategory). This off-road, all-terrain conqueror has been commended by General (and future president of the US) Dwight Eisenhower as being one of the key elements that ensured victory in the Second World War.

Sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Of course, SUVs are not a typical utility vehicle. Although that’s precisely what their name stands for, these cars have transpired into the public market and have become general purpose vehicles rather than utility vehicles. Still, many people today do buy them as utility vehicles since their 4x4 transmission ensures equal weight distribution. There’s simply no better choice for going on a trek into the wild, unexplored lands where the terrain is unreliable, the weather tricky, and the roads sometimes missing. Some of the best SUVs can climb steep hills, conquer every rocky mountainside, and still have enough power to give a typical family car a run for its money. Today, sadly, SUVs come in all shapes and sizes, some very much unworthy bearing the name “utility vehicle.”

Multi utility vehicles. Also known as minivans, these utility vehicles have become family favourites in all corners of the world. Their utility being that they can hold at the very least 7 passengers, the multi-utility vans are typically used by large families, small companies, small touring bands, groups of friends, or even travelling salesmen. There are a lot of minivans out there, but the ones that actually qualify for the title of utility vehicle are the ones which feature sliding doors and room for at least 7 or 8 people, on top of having an unusually large trunk space.

Crossover utility vehicles. A crossover utility vehicle is a more consumer-friendly version of an SUV. It has the greatest features that make a sports utility vehicle and combines them with the best features of a user-friendly, general-purpose car. A typical CUV features a body shaped like a hatchback vehicle, with a unibody build, 4x4 drive, independent rear suspension, and fuel economy to make up for its size and power. Although considered to be off-road utility vehicles, crossover utility vehicles should not be put through too much strain in harsh outdoor environments. However, a trip to the countryside up steep valleys won’t prove too much of a challenge.


A UTV with an added cargo box.

Light equipment utility vehicles. Light equipment utility vehicles are the same as utility terrain vehicles (mentioned below), only they feature light equipment that is generally used for maintenance. A good example of a light equipment utility vehicle would be a Kawasaki Mule with added snow-removal equipmentt. Light equipment utility vehicles are employed by construction or road maintenance teams that need something able to circulate through narrower areas.

Coupe or tray utility vehicles. It’s time for a long-time favourite of people in the US: the pickup truck. All things considered, this mean, big, and powerful piece of machinery is perfect for hauling anything from construction materials to other vehicles or even people (not advised). While at first pickups were designed specifically as utility vehicles, time made motor companies add a bit of a flair to these vehicles. Thus, the modern pick-up truck emerged, with a more styled design, from a nobler time (probably). A variant of the pick-up utility vehicle (aka the tray utility vehicle) is the coupe utility vehicle. Now, some motoring enthusiasts may see this as a crude mix of the utility of a truck and the looks of a coupe. We like to think of it as crossing the thin line between the two. Today, the coupe utility vehicle has all but gone.

Utility terrain vehicles. We’re off to the realm of the MULE. The Kawasaki MULE, that is. While this is the most famous vehicle in this category, the MULE is far from being the only one. Utility vehicles are just what their name says they are. Light, practical, and incredibly useful, these vehicles, also called Side by Side utility vehicles or UTVs, have many features that make them a dream for sportspersons, elderly people, and construction workers alike. Utility vehicles typically feature two or more seats, a roll cage, and a small boot. The two seat option is great for those wanting room for a friend. The roll cage comes in handy as these little carts are usually the ones used for golf. Lastly, the luggage space is useful for all who typically employ the services of this little vehicle, be it for storing groceries, golf sets, or construction equipment. Needless to say, these are the most common types of utility vehicles.

Important note: the ATV, although keeping within the basic concept of a utility vehicle, is considered a recreational vehicle since its practical uses are limited.

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Top 13 Tips for using Utility Vehicles Safetly


Using a John Deere gator utility vehicle for gardening and park maintenance.

Safety first. It’s what everyone says and people, companies, and their employees should pay much more attention to that piece of advice. In the following section of this guide to utility vehicles, we will be going over the basics on how to keep you, your employees, and everyone else safe. Using gators, mules, and golf carts responsibly should be the first thing new employees should be taught. Unfortunately, many of them don’t pay too much attention even if they are given instructions on how to use everything properly. So, in the last section of this part, we’ll also give a few ideas on how to raise awareness of the dangers of driving utility vehicles irresponsibly.

For starters, however, let’s take a glance at the top basic tips on how to be professional around UTVs:

1.   Know the instruction manual. People using utility vehicles should detain firm knowledge of how that vehicle works. For this, a most important first step would be reading the car’s manual.
2.   Do not use the UTVs in unsafe environments. Public roads or highways should be off limits except for cases in which the vehicle is appropriately marked and does not get in the way of the faster traffic.
3.   Test all the controls before proceeding. A person making use of a utility vehicle must know how to start its engine, how to turn, how all the other controls operate, and most importantly, how to break.
4.   Check the utility vehicle’s levels. The fuel level must be optimal, as does the oil level, and the tire pressure. On-board gauges should indicate the first two while the tires can be checked manually. It’s also important to test the breaks prior to each drive.
5.  
Do not crowd the vehicle. Aside from the fact that this is illegal, it’s also not recommended that people do so, even in their own backyard. Overcrowding can lead to balance issues which in turn may lead to life-threatening accidents.
6.   Don’t take cargo box riders. No matter how great an idea it may seem at the time, taking extra riders in the cargo box just because they fit is a no-no. This is extremely unsafe and should be taken seriously.
7.   Manoeuvre the vehicle with care. Caution is advised in turns or when manoeuvring the vehicle in a strange manner. Sharp turns of the wheel may cause the car to spiral out of control, especially at high speeds. Keep both hands on the wheel.
8.   Reduce speed on rough terrain. Bumpy roads must not be taken lightly. Reduced speed is advised and an alerted state since there are many dangers there. Rocks are very likely to be shot around the car and may even hit the driver.
9.   Do not let go of the acceleration on hills. Basic advice when going uphill. Reducing or eliminating thrust altogether may result in accidents.
10.  Do not accelerate when going downhill. Likewise, when on a slope, it’s extremely important that brakes be engaged and that speed be maintained or decreased, if possible.
11.  Park like a professional. Adequate parking implies stopping the UTV on a level plain, locking the handbrake, stopping the engine, removing the key, and waiting for everything to stop before leaving the vehicle.
12.  Don’t go riding while standing. This is not a bicycle. A utility vehicle must be ridden with care and from a seated position.
13.  Take extra caution when refuelling. This is often not stated enough. No smoking or flame shall be allowed while a vehicle is refuelled. Static electricity should be prevented by touching the fuel nozzle in contact with the container.

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Passing a Vehicle Inspection Procedure


Some electric utility vehicles are street-legal

In the UK as well as in many other countries around the globe, cars and other pieces of machinery that will be used in companies must pass a test and get approved for the specific type of work that they will help sustain. In light of this, here is another list of steps to take in order to make sure the utility vehicle is safe for use:

•   The vehicle can sustain the task it will be used for.
•   The driver can safely access all the parts that he/she will need.
•   The vehicle had appropriate nirrors so that extended visibility is assured.
•   The vehicle has working lights, horns, beacons, and reversing lights.
•   The vehicle's breaks are in perfect order.
•   The vehicle has seatbelts to protect its passengers and drivers from sudden jolts.
•   The vehicle gives some protection against weather/working conditions.
•   The vehicle has protection for the driver (e.g. a roll cage).

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Keeping Your Workers and Your Utility Vehicles Safe from Harm

There are multiple ways to assure that the people who are employed to work with utility vehicles are kept out of harm’s way. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that workers generally respond well to positive reinforcement. Here are a few ideas to promote good work ethics around utility vehicles:

•   Use Power Point presentations.Compiling a slideshow with all the dos and don’ts when working with utility vehicles is a good way to show the drivers how serious their safety is being taken.
•   Give on-the-spot relevant instructions.In the case of negative behaviour displayed by the workers around UTVs, the employer must assign the task of disciplining the workers.
•   Never forgive horseplay.Fooling around with company-owned equipment should be reprimanded.
•   Hire special trainers for your drivers.Drivers of utility equipment can be trained either by another employee with considerable experience or by a specially hired trainer.

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Renting Utility Vehicles: All You Need to Know

First of all, given that utility vehicles are generally so diverse, there are multiple places where one can apply for a rental. On the other hand, looking for utility vehicles for sale can end up giving buyers a headache to last a lifetime. As of today, the most viable and hassle-free way by which to get a utility vehicle is to rent it. In the UK, there are plenty of services that offer professional, no-fuss utility vehicles for rent at a decent price. However, it all depends on the specific type of utility vehicle one is going for. For example, if I were looking for an SUV or a 4x4 CUV, I would have nothing to do with buggy hire companies. Instead, I could easily go to a local car rental service and easily find dependable sports utility vehicles. On the other hand, if someone is looking for Deere or Kubota utility vehicles, he/she might be better off looking for them at specialised vehicle rental companies. To give another example, if I were looking for golf carts for rent in the UK, I would go to rental enterprises specialized on golf buggy hire in the UK. Another important distinction is diesel utility vehicles vs. electric utility vehicles. The UK market for utility vehicles is generally made up of several golf carts rental services that also offer gators and other general utility vehicles. Here is the full range of purposes for these utility vehicle rental companies:

•   Agricultural;
•   Industrial;
•   Utility;
•   Equestrian;
•   Outdoor & Indoor Events;
•   TV & Film Production;
•   Private Parties;
•   Festivals, Local Shows;
•   Corporate Events.

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Examples of Utility Vehicle Rental Companies


Kubota utility vehicle being used for the maintenance of a golf course.

In this next part, we will offer some examples as to the main utility vehicle rental services in the UK. In order to obtain typical rates for their services, one has to select the appropriate vehicles they would want to rent and then either use the online quote form or give the respective company a phone call. None of these two options obligates the inquirer to make any sort of purchase.

• GolfBuggyHire
- Do not let the name be misleading. This utility vehicle rental service in the UK offers all sorts of UTVs, perfect for just about any type of operation. They even offer some sport utility vehicles along with the smaller ones.

Featured brands: John Deere, Kawasaki, MPT Cadet, Polaris, Miter, Mauser, Segway, Cudham.

• GatorHireUK.co.uk
- GatorHireUK.co.uk is also a really nice company that offers utility vehicle rental. Unfortunately, the only brand to be featured is John Deere. However, they also offer a lot of improved utility vehicles: with snow equipment, track, or with extra cargo boxes.

Featured brands: John Deere, John Deere Gator.

• ForkRent
- This company doesn’t specialize in golf carts or UTVs. However, by comparison, they have a wider range of products. They offer many types of construction vehicles (such as forklifts and cranes) besides all the normal utility vehicles.

Featured brands: Bobcat utility vehicles, Caterpillar, John Deere Gator, Bomag, Volvo.

• APL Utility Vehicles
- APL offer a smaller range of vehicles, but their services seem particularly professional. Plus, they have some UTV brands that the others don’t.

Featured brands: Polaris utility vehicles, Brutus, John Deere, John Deer Gators.

• GatorHire.com
- Although the range of vehicles available at this Gator hire service is less extensive, their company stands out because they have professional snow and ice removal equipment. They also offer gator trailers and an XUV model from John Deere utility vehicles.

Featured brands: John Deere, John Deere Gator, John Deere XUV.

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How to Select a Reliable Service Provider


A fleet of golf carts UTVs ready for rental.

We’re almost at the end of this marathon run about utility vehicles and utility vehicle rental in the UK. Before we go, we’ve also made a small list of the things to look out for when selecting a utility vehicle rental service. People out for renting UTVs should know that cheap services nearly always have tricky footnotes in their rental agreement that may not be too fair to the renter.

When selecting a utility vehicle rental service, make sure the companies pass this checklist:

•   They have an extensive selection of utility vehicles.
•   The utility vehicles on display are good quality.
•   The UTV rental rates are acceptable for the respective area.
•   The UTV can be inspected upon delivery and rejected.
•   They will offer a full refund for defective UTVs.
•   They will offer compensation for human injury on account of faulty UTVs.
•   They will not sign that the renter has inspected the equipment before its shipment.
•   The street legal utility vehicles’ features are in working condition (lights, horn, etc.).
•   The used utility vehicles are subject to periodic maintenance.
•   The renter will not be made to pay for the clean-up of the utility vehicles.

If a utility vehicle rental company passes all of the checkpoints above, then renting from them should be safe. Remember: careful consideration of the rental agreement is advised before making any kind of purchase. This has been our guide to UTVs. Our readers are welcome to send in any other utility vehicles related questions that they may have. We will strive to answer these as best we can.

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Posted by Mark Harris
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