Engine Hour Meter

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At Lytx, we’re dedicated to helping fleets understand more about their drivers and vehicles, so they can become safer, improve productivity, and reduce costs. There are several factors that can impact a fleet’s bottom line: fuel consumption, number of services or deliveries completed, mileage, idle time, customer service, safety, and vehicle wear and tear.

One important factor fleet managers need to understand is the relationship between engine hours vs. - Which is a better indicator of performance? - the short answer is that you need to look at both. Overseeing the intricate factors of fleet management requires more forethought than standard preventative vehicle maintenance.

One of the essential differences that a fleet manager needs to consider is engine hours vs miles. Calculating engine hours to miles and vice versa can help you develop a comprehensive program for vehicle replacement, optimize maintenance schedules, breakdown vehicle usage, and manage the fleet’s total expenditures. By knowing a vehicle's engine hours, you’ll have a better grasp over its actual condition.

Mileage is still one of the most common indicators of a vehicle’s condition and performance. However, as fleet managers will understand, a vehicle’s travel distance doesn’t fully encompass all the duties of a medium or heavy-duty truck.

ModelPictureBrief DescriptionPrice
1. Discogoods
[Best Overall]
No external power needed. Just wrap around the wire to the spark plug


2. Docooler
K955B
No external power needed. Just wrap around the wire to the spark plug


3. Hardline
HR-8065
No need to connect to spark plug. Works based on vibration. Works for non-engine device


4. Runleader
RL-HM011F
Hour meter and RPM tracker (tachometer). Replaceable battery. Maintenance reminder.


5. Hardline
HR-8061-2
Hour meter and RPM tracker (tachometer).


6. Trail Tech
742-A00
Modern look. Nice to use for your dirt bike.


7. BluericeStylish and nice look. Works on DC power. IP67 rating waterproof.


8. Searon
WZXHM-SRT-09
Works on DC power. Ideal for lawn tracker, lawn mower, that uses battery.


9. Aimilar
AY2027
Works on AC power. Suitable for generator.


10. Searon
WZXHM-HM038H
Works on both AC and DC power. Multifunction hourmeter.


Tracking Performance Indicators

Measuring hours vs. miles

To help turn to more accurate methods, fleet managers will convert hours to miles or calculate the fuel consumption to better measure performance. Lytx clients, for example, rely on the GPS technology already in their DriveCam Event Recorders or utilize data from an Engine Control Module (ECM) plug-in. ECM data provides highly specific information such as engine hours and true idle vs. driving, while GPS provides high-level information, such as miles driven and daily route time.

How to calculate engine hours to miles

Measuring a vehicle’s condition by its mileage has long been the benchmark, mainly due to fleets using a mileage replacement policy. Still, it’s becoming more evident that this may not be the best method. Using an hours to miles calculator is quickly being adopted by fleet managers. One of the main criticisms of using mileage as the primary metric is that by converting idle hours to miles, you will get a radically different rate at which a vehicle needs maintenance.

3. Hardline HR-8065 Vibration Hour Meter for Non-Engine Application

For example, for a medium-duty truck’s engine, one gallon of fuel processed through idling is equivalent to traveling 30 miles. A vehicle that spends most of its operating time idle needs to determine its hours to miles ratio to maintain a proper preventive maintenance schedule. By knowing a truck’s engine hours to miles, you can adequately estimate the lifecycle cost to the company.

A medium-duty truck that needs to idle to perform its primary function, such as operating a crane, can easily use up to a gallon of fuel for two hours of idling. These types of work trucks will usually register low mileage but will endure significantly higher strain on its engine than is reported. A company’s projections are only as good as the data inputted.

4. Runleader Digital Hour Meter (Battery Replaceable)

For national companies, fleets might experience significantly divergent results when comparing different regions. The effect of mileage on trucks in a rural location will produce wildly different data from trucks in a major city.

The impact that engine hours vs miles has on specialty vehicles also needs to be taken into account. If a fleet includes vehicles with power take-off (PTO) equipped, the truck needs to run to charge the battery continuously. The idle time isn't always reflected when calculating vehicle utilization.

5. Hardline HR-8061-2 Hour Meter for up to 2-Cylinder Engines

By incorporating an hours to miles conversion, your fleet is better equipped to account for standard wear-and-tear on its engines. Are engine hours to miles the best metrics to oversee a fleet? This ultimately depends on what a fleet uses its trucks to accomplish. Companies that predominantly operate by traveling on the road may find mileage calculations to be the best method.

6. Trail Tech 742-A00 Black Surface Mount TTO Hour Meter

Long-haul trucks may find that a standardized replacement schedule is improved by using mileage over time instead of engine hours. Trucks that operate while idle for their primary application would produce inaccurate cost per hour data if measured by mileage.

After converting engine hours to miles, it’s not uncommon to find that a low mileage truck requires more maintenance than a highway-based truck, increasing its cost per hour. To help determine preventative maintenance, factoring a vehicle’s engine hours will help to determine future oil, fuel filter, air filter changes. Factoring a vehicle’s mileage will help when monitoring its chassis, suspension, and driveline components.

7. BLUERICE 2″ Hour Meter Red Backlight for Boat 9-32V Waterproof

Understanding both metrics and how a fleet utilizes its trucks will give you the best method that should be incorporated into future projections. A truck engine’s operating time is monitored by an engine meter. The meter activates whenever the engine turns on and deactivates when the engine shuts off. By pulling the data from the engine meter, an engine hours to miles formula can determine an approximation of the miles traversed since the meter was last zeroed.

8. Searon DC 12v 24v 36v 48V 60V 72V Electromechanical Hour Meter

Follow this engine hours to miles calculator:. Pull the data from the engine meter to determine how many hours the engine has run. Calculate the hours by a factor of 60 to approximate the miles accumulated on the engine. Formula: Engine hours x 60 = Approximate mileage.

If you are looking to increase your company’s productivity and measure vehicle utilization, contact Lytx today. We provide solutions to help fleets with driver safety, GPS fleet tracking, DOT compliance, and fuel management.

9. AIMILAR Mechanical Hour Meter AC 110-250V (AC 110V 120V 220V 230V)

You can forecast expenditures by monitoring idle time and reduce fuel consumption based on accurate reports derived from the vehicle’s engine control module (ECM).

10. Searon Hour Meter AC/DC 5-270 (12V 24V 36V 48V 110V 220V 230V AC/DC)

Contact Lytx and book a free demo today to see how our solutions can improve your company’s bottom line.

How Does An Hour Meter Work?

As the name suggests, an hour meter counts the elapsed time of an engine has passed. Right the machine turns on, the hour meter starts off. Simply, you need to connect the wire to the spark plug by wrapping it around several times.

There is also a type of hour meter that works based on the vibration. This is the model you need to install onto your electronic devices (non-engine devices). As long as it emits vibration, the tool will work.

Some of the hour meters come with battery-powered. In this model, you can simply connect the wire to the spark plug and stick the hour meter at the place you are okay with as long as the wire is long enough to support. However, it’s recommended that you attach it not far from the engine.

On the other hand, several hour meters need external power to work off. It’s not a battery-powered model. You need DC or AC power in that case. Some of them work with limited AC/DC power range. It’s not weird if you find the one that works with both AC and DC power.

This AC powered model is suitable for the generator such as the Honda generator, compressors, electric motors, etc. While the DC-powered type is great to work for battery-operated things such as RTV, boat, lawn mover, lawn tracker, trucks, tractors, and even airplanes.

Aside from the power source, you need to know the look. Some models are digital, while the others are electromechanical. The electromechanical uses mechanical reading but still needs electric power. They may have different advantages. What we like from the electromechanical type is the reading will stay on there even though the power is off.

Final Verdict

Before deciding to purchase an hour meter for your need, it’s necessary that you need to take time for some reading.

If you don’t have so much time to make some researches, then you are recommended to take the DiscoGoods above. It works for most purposes except for non-engine devices. You need that works based on vibration for that case.

If you have read further, you can select the ones that work best on DC or AC power. Finally, an hour meter is actually a nice tool to help you manage maintenance intervals so that you can save money from any damage to your valuable engines.