Top 5 Fleet Maintenance Trends
Overall vehicle life expectancy continues to increase year over year, with modern automobiles lasting longer than ever before. This statement is proven by the fewer amount of warranty claims that occur compared to past years. Additionally, OEM extended powertrain warranty coverage has assisted in reducing expensive repair costs for vehicles with higher mileage. Also, with the increased utilization of high tech diagnostic equipment, the likelihood of successful first-time repairs has increased, which reduces labor costs and the use of unnecessary parts to repair a vehicle.
Although quality is at an all-time high, modern vehicles are becoming very complex, especially with the addition of new in vehicle technologies. These new technologically advanced gadgets include touch screens, dash GPS units, safety equipment, several new sensors, and increases in vehicle entertainment technology. While these systems are generally reliable, when things go wrong it can be very difficult to solve problems, which drives up labor costs.
Check out the Top 5 Fleet Maintenance Trends below to see what you can expect in terms of repairs for 2012 and beyond.
The Cost of Parts & Labor is Rising
The price of parts is estimated to rise due to the increased cost of raw materials and manufacturing. Additionally, there appears to be shortages for certain parts which is impacting maintenance expenses by extending vehicle downtime and increasing rental costs.
Increased Cost of Replacement Tires
Unfortunately, another area we can expect prices to rise is our replacement tires. In 2011, tire prices increased at a higher rate than inflation, especially for commercial vehicles, and this trend is expected to continue during 2012. The main reason for the spike in tire prices is because raw materials are rising, especially the cost of oil which is a primary ingredient used in manufacturing tires. Also, the world’s supply of rubber is far more constrained than in the past due to increased global demand which has the price steadily climbing.
Extended Oil Drain Intervals Prolonged
A common OEM maintenance trend is an increased interval for oil draining, which has decreased preventative maintenance costs. Additionally, more fleets with common cars and small trucks are utilizing onboard oil monitoring systems which extends oil drain intervals. During 2010-2011, the average months between an oil change increased from 3.2 months to 3.5 months, and the average mileage for an oil change went from 6,312 miles to 7,026 miles, according to GE Capital Fleet Services
Rapid Growth of Non-Traditional Powertrains
Trends show that automakers are switching to enhanced engine motor oils. For example, GM vehicles utilize Dexos oil and Ford and Chrysler are switching to a GF-5 oil standard. The oil industry promotes these new products as having first-class protection qualities, which increases mileage intervals for oil changes. The new oils also allow engines to run more efficiently and promote higher MPG estimates.
Preventative Maintenance is the Large Repair Expense
Roughly 65% of all fleet vehicle maintenance expenses are related to conducting preventative maintenance and replacing worn items such as belts and tires. As discussed above, vehicle quality is higher than before, but there continues to be incidents of premature part failures. However, manufacturers usually catch problems and quickly issue recalls and campaigns to remedy problems before they occur.