Maintenance cost increases slowing

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Parts and labor expenses stabilized during the first quarter this year, according to data released Wednesday in the latest Decisiv/American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council North American Service Event Benchmark Report.

While high prices for parts and higher wages for labor during the past year are unlikely to return to prior levels, the latest Decisiv/TMC Benchmark Report — organized by Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standard system level codes — shows a slowing of cost increases. 

"Fleets are weathering the impact of aging trucks and higher parts prices, and are addressing the need for technicians,” said Decisiv President and CEO Dick Hyatt â€śThe data that Decisiv collects and analyzes for the TMC Benchmark Report on Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standard system level codes clearly indicates that service costs are more stable.”

Compared to the fourth quarter of last year repair costs rose only 0.7%, a sizable drop when viewed against the more than 8% increase from a year earlier.

This recent report was expanded to incorporate service activity reporting on the parts and labor costs for the top 25 VMRS system codes, which account for more than 97% of the total service activity during the first quarter of 2023.

Between the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of this year, parts costs dropped by 0.4% and labor costs increased 2.3%, reflecting that new vehicles backordered for historically long periods are finally reaching end users. There is also a general decrease in mileage across all trucking segments, driven down by a reduction in freight volumes.

According to data released monthly by ATA, on-highway truck tonnage continues to fall annually, and on a month-to-month basis.

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.