Study: 4 percent drop in fleet car maintenance costs

GE Capital Fleet Services announced the results of its 19th annual fleet passenger car maintenance study, which found that overall fleet car maintenance costs decreased by four percent in 2013 as compared to 2012. Maintenance costs include unscheduled repair services, preventative maintenance, tires and replacement rentals. 

The study analyzed actual maintenance expenses incurred by nearly 37,000 passenger cars from January 1 to December 31, 2013. Research found monthly preventive maintenance expenses decreased 14 percent in 2013 and average vehicle maintenance costs decreased from $50.47 to $48.36 per vehicle per month. Key factors referenced in the study that influenced the downward trend include:

  • Increased oil service intervals – Despite the fact that costs for oil services increased by three dollars from the previous year ($39 to $42), the interval for oil changes increased from 3.6 months to 4.3 months and from 7,515 miles to 8,817 miles. This can be attributed to improvements in engine design, onboard vehicle technology and oil quality. 
  • Proper vehicle cycling – Although costs for replacement tires increased by 10 percent in 2013 as compared to 2012, fewer tires were purchased due to proper vehicle cycling. This resulted in a three percent decrease in overall tire cost per vehicle. Additionally, new tire technology has helped to extend tire tread life.
  • Improvement in overall vehicle quality – Overall vehicle quality continued to improve across the industry, resulting in longer lasting parts and less frequent maintenance requirements. 

“Vehicle quality improvements will continue to present opportunities for fleet maintenance savings in 2014 and beyond,” said Eric Strom, maintenance and safety product manager for GE Capital Fleet Services. “However, labor rates, rental costs and the price of replacement parts are expected to increase in the year ahead. As cost savings remains a top priority for fleet managers, our team of experts aims to provide customers with a thorough list of options for finding and achieving savings within their fleet.”