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Regular maintenance of vehicles under management is important year-round but even more so as we approach the New England winter season which can test transportation reliability.

OSD’s Office of Vehicle Management (OVM), the unit responsible for the acquisition, administration, leasing, maintenance, and repair of the Executive Branch fleet of light duty and passenger vehicles, publishes seasonal maintenance recommendations to keep vehicles working optimally. Paired with these recommendations are an arsenal of products and services on Statewide Contract to help you bring those recommendations to fruition.

winter-carNow is a perfect time to ensure your vehicle is equipped for the challenges ahead. Take this opportunity to inspect to make certain the hot, dry temperatures of summer didn’t crack or degrade their functionality. Test the remaining life of with a voltmeter and inspect terminals and cables for corrosion, cracks, or breaks. Check all levels – oil, antifreeze, transmission, brake, power steering, and winter-grade windshield washer. As a reminder, preventive maintenance measures, such as these, are simplified when using VEH84A authorized dealers and repair shops across the Commonwealth for as little as $2.50 per vehicle per month! Another tip for this time of year is taking care to remove leaves and other debris from your windshield. These items may restrict water drainage, creating a ripe environment for ice dams to build up in cold temperatures which, in turn, may damage wiper blades and even crack .

Seasonal tire inspection always is advised, but is particularly important following the summer months when tire wear may be accelerated due to sunlight and heat. Per OVM, sidewalls should be free of cracks, cuts, or blisters and tread depth should be at least 4/32”. Don’t forget to inspect spare tires and have an on hand. Take note that tire pressure is important to the safe operation of a vehicle and it can drop one pound per square inch (PSI) for every 10 degree drop in temperature. Check the interior of the driver door for proper tire PSI. Perhaps new tires are needed. Consult with our three VEH97 contractors which offer a wide selection of tires, competitive pricing, and locations around the Commonwealth.

Of course, even with regular upkeep, vehicle replacement is inevitable as time passes, maintenance requirements increase, and reliability diminishes. OVM publishes criteria to assess when a move toward replacement makes sense: vehicles 10 years of age or older; odometer readings of 100,000 miles or more; and maintenance expenditures of $10,000 or greater over a vehicle’s lifetime.

Adding food for thought, an article published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in April 2018 shows a direct correlation between the age of a vehicle and the severity of injuries sustained in fatal crashes. When considering a new vehicle, take a look at OSD’s comprehensive vehicle price list through the Purchase of Vehicles contract.

A final recommendation for the winter season is equipping your vehicle with items that may come in handy during an emergency. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation suggests traveling with a number of items, including , snow shovel, scraper, extra windshield washer fluid and antifreeze, snow melt, flares, fire extinguisher, and basic tools, among others.

Refer to our Vehicle Handbook for summary information about our vehicle Statewide Contracts. As you have questions, get in touch with our Sourcing staff.

We at OSD wish you safe travels during the upcoming fall and winter seasons.

 

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