Top 5 Fleet Maintenance Trends

Fleet Maintenance Trends

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.

Read the entire Fleet Maintenance Trends article here

DOT Issues New Distracted Driving Guidelines for In-Vehicle Technologies

DOT Issues Distracted Driving Guidelines TechnologyVehicle interior technologies are rapidly advancing with improved device integration, new comfort controls, and touch screens that resemble computer tablets. Prompted by these recent technology changes, the DOT has issued a set of guidelines targeted towards reducing distracted driving in relation to in-vehicle technology.

With driver safety as their top concern, the DOT has made 5 recommendations to automakers:

Reduce the complexity of in-vehicle devices, and the amount of time it takes to use those devices;

To limit system operations to require only one hand;

To limit the time required to glance at a device to no more than 2 seconds;

To limite the amount of unnecessary visual information in the driver’s field of view;

To limit the number of manual inputs needed to operate a device.

It’s hard to argue with any of these points as distracted driver trends have consistently increased with in-vehicle technology.

Read the full article regarding this issue here.

Read Poll: Most U.S. Drivers Admit to Distracted Driving

Top Mobile Apps for Truck Drivers

Top Mobile Apps for Truck and Commercial Drivers

Smart PhonesTruck Drivers are reaping the benefits from the latest mobile applications.  Whether it’s finding cheap gas, a truck wash, planning routes, rest stops, or another convenience, truck drivers have easy access to whatever they desire right from their mobile phone.

The Valor System has put together a top mobile application list for Android and iPhone users including apps such as MyDAT Trucker Services, GasBuddy, Blue Beacon Truck Washes, and more.

View the Top Truck Driver Applications

Find Cheap Gas Prices With GasBuddy.com

Find Cheap Gas Prices With GasBuddy.com

Gas Buddy Mobile ApplicationFuel prices for 2012 are estimated to be higher than ever before, but Safety Track and GasBuddy.com want to help.

GasBuddy.com is an interactive web-site that allows users to enter an address, city, or zip code to find current prices for all local gas stations. The gas station results are listed in order from lowest to highest price and provide a map and directions.

Download the mobile application or visit GasBuddy’s web page and you’ll be ready to fight high gas prices for 2012!

Visit Safety Track’s fuel management page for additional information on reducing your fuel costs.