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Fleet maintenance and repair costs continue to rise

March 14, 2022
Benchmarking report from TMC, Decisiv details higher parts and labor expenses in Q4 2021 due to increased labor costs, supply-chain disruptions

The American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council and Decisiv Inc., recently reported that maintenance costs rose 3.7% in the fourth quarter of 2021, and are up more than 10% from the previous year.

“The North American economy continues to impact parts and labor costs for fleets in several ways,” said Dick Hyatt, Decisiv president and CEO. “However, the ongoing drive to implement more effective and intelligent service management practices among fleet maintenance operations is helping ensure the highest possible levels of equipment utilization.”

The quarterly Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark Report was released during TMC’s 2022 Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition.

The report found that the average cost of parts and labor for vehicle repairs rose 3.7% in the fourth quarter, driven primarily by increasing labor costs.

From the third quarter to the fourth, labor costs increased 5.4%, while parts cost rose 2.7%. Compared to a year earlier, combined parts and labors costs rose 10.8%. Year-over-year labor costs spiked 14.2%, while parts cost jumped 8.8% from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the final three months of 2021.

The Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark Report also shows where fleets spent the largest percentage on maintenance and repairs in Q4 2021 based on VMRS System Level Coding. Topping the list are Power Plant expenses, which accounted for 36.8%, followed by Exhaust systems at 14.9%. Rounding out the top three categories at 5.0% of costs were Brakes.

While the higher percentages of costs associated with Brakes may reflect increased mileage, higher engine and exhaust system related costs could indicate the need to keep vehicles in service longer. Extended trade cycles have become the norm as fleets await production of new and replacement vehicles to return to pre-pandemic levels.

That factor may also be driving some of the increases in parts and labor costs. At the same time, supply chain and inflation issues are likely impacting parts prices. Likewise, higher labor costs are the result of both additional repairs to higher mileage vehicles as well as a reflection of the highly competitive labor market, which requires fleets to increase spending to retain and recruit technicians.

The Decisiv/TMC North American Service Event Benchmark reports are generated using data from the Decisiv SRM platform on service and repair events for more than 7 million commercial assets operating across the U.S. and Canada. The industry’s largest asset service management system is being used to manage a weekly average of 70,000 service events at nearly 5,000 locations.

ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council issues the reports to its fleet members. The reports are organized based on the Council’s Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards sorted by VMRS-coded vehicle systems and geographic location.

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BT staff