Transportation:

Use of Remanufactured Parts in the Federal Vehicle Fleet Is Based On a Variety of Factors

GAO-13-316R: Published: Mar 7, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 2013.

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Lorelei St James
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What GAO Found

The 14 agencies GAO reviewed have vehicle repair processes that generally allow field office staff, such as the vehicle operator or local fleet manager, to make vehicle maintenance and repair decisions. These processes neither mandate nor prohibit the use of remanufactured parts. The agencies we reviewed generally do not keep data on the extent to which remanufactured parts are used. Agency officials from the 14 agencies in our review said that they use remanufactured parts when warranted, and we observed the presence of remanufactured parts in the stock rooms during our visits to repair facilities. Deciding when to use remanufactured parts, according to agency officials and related guidance, depends on a number of factors including the cost, availability, and reliability of the part. According to agency officials, these factors are considered on a case-by-case basis for each repair to yield the best value for the federal government.

Why GAO Did This Study

In fiscal year 2011, federal civilian agencies reported about $975 million in maintenance and repair costs for approximately 588,000 vehicles that the agencies owned. These vehicles can be maintained and repaired using new or remanufactured parts. While there is no standard definition of a remanufactured vehicle part, the Federal Acquisition Regulation defines remanufactured parts as factory rebuilt to original specifications. Remanufactured vehicle parts tend to be less expensive than comparable new parts. The principal remanufactured products in the motor vehicle sector are engines, transmissions, starter motors, alternators, steering racks, and clutches, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Given the potential for cost savings from using remanufactured parts in the federal fleet, you asked us to examine this issue. Thus, this report describes (1) the vehicle repair process for selected agencies, including the use of remanufactured parts, and (2) the factors that agency officials consider when deciding whether to use new or remanufactured parts for repairs.

For more information, contact Lorelei St. James at at (202) 512-2834 or stjamesl@gao.gov.

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