Fleet managers saw maintenance costs go up in 2012 over the previous year, but a younger fleet age and quality of vehicles offset some of that expense. GE Capital Fleet Services just released its 18th annual fleet passenger car maintenance study. Data came from 32,000 passenger cars and was collected between Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012. Monthly preventive maintenance expenses rose 4% during the year, and bringing in more new vehicles into fleets offset some of that increased parts and labor expense. Although scheduled maintenance costs increased, overall car maintenance costs were down 1.5 percent from 2010 due to vehicle replacement initiatives. Overall, the car maintenance per vehicle monthly cost average rose from $49.20 to $52.66 in 2012. Tire expenses had much influence on the increased maintenance costs.
Here were some of the key factors from the study that influenced maintenance costs in 2012:
- Increased preventive maintenance expense – Costs for oil changes increased by $5 from the previous year. However, oil change frequency decreased, from 7,752 to 8,850 miles, lessening the total impact of the cost increase.
- Increased average tire expense –The cost per tire increased by eight percent and replacement tire costs increased by 15 percent due to higher manufacturing costs, larger rim diameters and limited availability in the retail market.
- Improvement in overall vehicle quality – Overall vehicle quality continued to improve across the industry, resulting in longer lasting parts and less frequent maintenance requirements.
“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.