There are going to be costs associated with any business. A survey done by GE Capital Fleet Services recently, shows that maintenance costs for fleets in the United States have increased by 7 percent for 2012. This has many fleet managers wondering just how much of an increase these costs will incur for 2013.
“In terms of monetary value, GE Capital Fleet Services found that monthly average maintenance costs for these vehicles amounted to $52.66 per vehicle, against $49.20 in 2011. Two of the most frequent elements within maintenance costs – oil and tires – both increased. GE Capital Fleet Services expects a further slight increase this year”.
Studies have shown that while the cost for monthly preventative maintenance increased in 2012, younger fleet age did help to offset some of the increased labor and parts cost. The average car maintenance cost raised about $3.46 from $49.20 to $52.66 for each vehicle each month. Factors that influenced these costs include increased preventative maintenance expenses. Costs for oil changes increased although the frequency in which oil was changed decreased which helped to lessen the total impact.
Tire expenses also increased, by eight percent and the cost of replacing tires increased by 15 percent. These increases are attributed to higher costs for manufacturing tires as well as larger rims which naturally mean more expensive tires. Overall, the quality of fleet vehicles has risen as well and continues to improve which has resulted in parts that last longer which ultimately means less frequent maintenance in the long run.
“‘While we expect passenger car maintenance expenses to rise slightly in 2013, improvements in vehicle quality will present opportunities for fleet maintenance savings in years ahead,' said Eric Strom, maintenance and safety product manager for GE Capital Fleet Services. ‘As cost savings remain the largest area of focus for both fleet and executive management, we're committed to working with customers to identify and reduce costs across their vehicle fleets.'”
Fleet management can expect maintenance expenses to continue on the upswing, particularly for fleets that are not yet accepting vehicle replacement cycles. The number of miles driven will increase the chance of component failures that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. The individual costs for replacing things like tires, changing oil and other repairs will also likely increase over the next year. Many industry experts believe that the best way to keep these costs to a minimum is to implement a fleet management system. Software programs that aid with fleet management can be very beneficial in helping to keep costs down.
Another way to offset cost increases is to cycle older vehicles. Aging of fleet vehicles is a large factor in the increased cost of maintenance and vehicles with higher mileage risk even higher costs than average.
“Cycling older vehicles is a great way to mitigate increases in maintenance spends, but careful consideration must be made not only to maintenance, but all aspects of lifecycle costs. The market today is actually favorable to cycling in many cases, due to stronger resale markets as well as better technology that is increasing fuel economy.”
Companies that are looking to keep costs to a minimum can find vast amounts of information on lowering costs. Those who do not have a software program for fleet maintenance are urged to find one. There are a number of programs on the market that will ensure that vehicles are maintenance on a regular basis. Preventative maintenance goes a long way in keeping overall costs down. As a general rule, preventing a mechanical problem is less costly and less time consuming than repairing one.