A Long and Useful Life

November 2007, Government Fleet - Feature

by Paul Dexler - Also by this author

Los Angeles County Fire Station 92 sits at the southern edge of the Antelope Valley, about where it starts to flow into the Mojave Desert. The San Gabriel Mountains are 10 miles to the south, and looking through the desert air toward the north, the Tehachapi Mountains can be seen clearly 60 miles away. Between lies a mostly flat, sunburned plain. The enormous infl ux of new residents who work in the Los Angeles area, 50 miles to the south, is increasing the strain on all the county facilities in the Antelope Valley.

According to Captain Richard Robinson of Station 92, the Ford F-350 crew cab diesel that became Squad 92 was put into service in 2001, equipped with a service body immediately loaded to its maximum GVW rating with emergency and rescue gear. It has just been retired, with the odometer reading more than 337,000 miles.

“All those miles we put on it, none of them were easy miles,” Robinson said. “We put 200, 300, 400 miles a day on it since we put it into service. And that’s all emergency driving, so you’re going kind of hard. When we’d come to an intersection, we’d brake hard, too.”

Service is the Key
Robinson noted that part of the longevity equation was regular servicing, including oil changes. He gave credit to his service technician for the reliability. “I have to give credit to our particular fi eld mechanic, Mitch Cohen, who is designated as ‘Repair 10.’ Mitch was always right on top of taking care of everything we needed.”

Robinson added that the turbocharger had been replaced once or twice, but it was never involved in a major accident, and the engine was never taken apart. He said that because of the distances traveled in the high desert area, people travel fast. If there is an accident, it is usually severe. But, he added, “The guys didn’t crash it.”

It comes down to the old story. No matter how hard a vehicle is used, if regular preventive maintenance is performed, and it isn’t wrecked, it will in return provide reliable service for as long as it is needed.

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