320 FW 6
Motor Vehicle Service, Maintenance, and Inspection

Supersedes 320 FW 6,

FWM 073, 03/11/93

Date:  October 31, 2008

Series: Vehicle and Equipment Management

Part 320: Motor Vehicle Management

Originating Office: Division of Contracting and Facilities Management



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6.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter describes how we service, maintain, and inspect Government-owned and leased motor vehicles.


6.2 What are the authorities for this chapter? See 320 FW 1.3 for a list of authorities for all the chapters in Part 320. 


6.3 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter? See 320 FW 1.5 if you need a definition for a term used in this chapter.


6.4 Who is responsible for servicing, maintaining, and inspecting Service motor vehicles? We describe our general responsibilities for motor vehicle management in 320 FW 1.6. Following are our specific responsibilities for servicing, maintaining, and inspecting motor vehicles:


A. Regional Directors are responsible for establishing a motor vehicle maintenance program(s) in their Regions. The programs must ensure that:


(1) All motor vehicles are equipped with safety equipment and accessories in accordance with applicable Federal, State, county, and municipal requirements (also see 243 FW 1);


(2) Procedures are in place for Service employees to meet manufacturers’ recommended maintenance schedules (preventive maintenance), including more rigorous preventive maintenance schedules for vehicles that operate under severe conditions to comply with warranty coverage;


(3) Vehicle operators use approved technical manuals and service bulletins as recommended by the manufacturers; and


(4) All vehicles comply with applicable emission standards.


B. Accountable Officers:


(1) Ensure motor vehicle inspections are competently performed and corrections are made for any deficiencies found during the inspections,


(2) Ensure that all repairs covered under vehicle warranties are performed under the warranty so that the Service does not pay for them, and


(3) Identify and report suspected incidents of driver abuse.


6.5 What are the requirements for fuel, oil, lubricants, and tires? We must use alternative fuels and refined oils that meet standards from the manufacturer’s operating manual whenever possible. 


A. Fuel, motor oil, and lubricants.


(1) Vehicle operators:


(a) Must follow fuel, motor oil, and lubricant requirements specified in the motor vehicle owner’s manual. 


(b) May only use a lower grade fuel, oil, or other fluid if the one specified is not reasonably available. Operators must plan for such factors as the distance between areas of operation and the supply sources, compatibility between hours of vehicle operation and the suppliers' hours of operation, and the ability or willingness of a supplier to furnish supplies.


(2) When we pay for the fuel in a vehicle we lease from a GSA Fleet Management Center, we must seek reimbursement from GSA because lease rates typically include projected fuel costs. To obtain reimbursement from GSA, complete GSA Form 1374, Motor Vehicle Petroleum Issue Record.


(3) At least semi-annually, the Accountable Officer closes out Service-owned fuel pumps and summarizes the amount of fuel and oil issued, reconciles station records, and inputs fuel use data in the Personal Property Management System (PPMS) database. 


(4) At the end of the fiscal year, the Accountable Officer is responsible for the preparation and submission of all vehicle performance information required to complete the Federal Automotive Statistical Tool (FAST) record for all motor vehicles. The Regional Property Manager gets the input dates from GSA and determines the timeline for submission for the Region.


(5) For gasoline pumps we operate, the city or State weights and measures division must annually calibrate the pumps and seal the metering regulators.


B. Tires.


(1) Tire Replacement. The Accountable Officer must ensure that tires are rotated and replaced according to the vehicle manufacturers’ specified load rating and classification and follow the State guidance for bus tires and other specialized cargo vehicles. Do not replace motor vehicle front tires with retreaded tires.


(2) Tire Recall. Tire manufacturers and retreaders maintain the name and address of customers and the identification number of every tire sold. For a tire recall, GSA, the tire manufacturer, the tire retreader, the tire dealers, or the vehicle manufacturer gives instructions to the Accountable Officer.


6.6 What are the requirements for preventive maintenance other than fuel, oil, lubricants, and tires?


A. The Accountable Officer must establish procedures for and monitor preventive maintenance to ensure that duty station staff perform maintenance at least as frequently as the manufacturers' recommended maintenance schedules require. We must follow maintenance schedules to ensure warranty protection.


B. In the following circumstances, staff should inspect and perform preventive maintenance more frequently than those the manufacturer specifies:


(1) In severe operating conditions that include, but are not limited to, environments that are abnormally:


(a) Hot,


(b) Dusty,


(c) Wet,


(d) Corrosive (e.g., operation in coastal environments or on heavily salted roads), and


(e) Muddy;


(2) When vehicles are driven off-road, on unimproved roads, or in mountainous terrain; and


(3) When vehicles have several different drivers.


C. The failure of responsible officials to schedule preventive maintenance and to notify the vehicle operator of the maintenance requirements is negligence and may be cause for disciplinary action. You may make an exception to preventive maintenance only when compliance with maintenance schedules will imperil the life or safety of vehicle operators or the people using the vehicle.  


D. Accountable Officers must ensure that the employees or commercial providers of preventive maintenance are: 


(1) Technically competent, and


(2) Familiar with State, county, and local requirements for vehicle systems, maintenance, and emission control.


E. For GSA Fleet Management Center vehicles, the duty station must comply with the safety and preventive maintenance schedules, instructions, and notifications the Fleet Management Center issues.


6.7 How do warranties impact vehicle maintenance?


A. Most motor vehicle manufacturers offer some type of warranty. Within the limitations of the warranties, manufacturers, through dealers, will repair or replace defective parts or systems without charge to the customer. The periods of coverage and types of covered repairs vary in warranties. Accountable Officers should consult the vehicle warranties for specific details.


B. The Accountable Officer must ensure that all repairs and corrections covered under vehicle warranties are performed under the warranty. Warranty work must take place at the manufacturer's facility or at a manufacturer's authorized representative (dealer).


6.8 What type of maintenance facilities does the Service use?


A. Service-owned maintenance facilities.  Many Service installations have vehicle maintenance facilities that are staffed and equipped to handle most routine maintenance. These facilities should be used before using a commercial facility.


B. GSA maintenance contract facilities. GSA maintains contracts with commercial facilities to service and maintain Government vehicles at negotiated contract prices.


(1) If a GSA contract facility is available in the area in which the vehicle is located and there is no Service-owned maintenance facility, we should use the GSA contract facility before using a commercial facility.


(2) The Regional Property Manager may obtain a list of the available GSA contract maintenance facilities from the local Fleet Management Center manager or from the GSA regional office.


C. Cross-servicing agreements with other Agencies. We use the facilities of other agencies such as the Department of Defense under cross-servicing arrangements when Department-owned facilities are not available and when activities and geographical locations make such arrangements practical. Our maintenance, storage, and fuel dispensing facilities are also available to other Federal agencies through cross-servicing agreements.


(1) We only provide services to other Agencies if it will not require additional staff or an expansion of existing facilities, and we can perform the work within the normal work hours of the installation.


(2) Each Region must coordinate with the Headquarters Division of Contracting and Facilities Management for any cross-servicing agreement to ask the other agency to forecast how much support they are likely to need. Likewise, other host agencies ask us to forecast our needs.


(3) Although they vary in content from location to location, all cross-servicing agreements should include, at a minimum, the following:


(a) The effective date of the agreement,


(b) The duration of the agreement,


(c) The name and address of the other agency,


(d) The facility’s address,


(e) Applicable accounting and appropriation data,


(f) A description of the supplies and services furnished under the agreement,


(g) Applicable labor rates (including fringe benefits), and


(h) Administrative charges.


(4) The Accountable Officer must put a list of all local Federal agency facilities with existing cross-servicing agreements in each vehicle (see 320 FW 4). Established local procedures ensure that vehicle operators are aware of and they can use facilities of other agencies when Department-owned facilities are not available.


6.9 Does the Service use commercial maintenance facilities?


A. Yes, you may use commercial maintenance and repair facilities:


(1) When Service, GSA contract facilities, or other Government vehicle maintenance facilities are not available; or


(2) When the in-house or other agency facilities are not capable of completing the work due to:


(a) The volume, or


(b) Complexity of the work.

B. When you anticipate a continuing requirement for commercial maintenance, you should establish indefinite quantity contracts or ordering agreements for cost effectiveness and convenience.


C. You should use purchase orders or repair orders that specify the following:


(1) The exact tasks for the shop to perform, if known,


(2) The mileage on the odometer,


(3) The time estimate to complete each repair, and


(4) The time estimate for all services.


D. The Accountable Officer must:


(1) Approve any additional work not on the purchase order before the work begins,


(2) Inspect the work and record that it is complete as specified on the order, and


(3) Sign and date the order to accept the work and verify the accuracy of the costs of repairs and supplies. 


6.10 Do inspections and maintenance activities sometimes reveal operator abuse and misuse? Yes, vehicle maintenance specialists can identify suspected operator abuse and misuse during the maintenance and repair process. An operator’s supervisor may take appropriate action, including suspension of vehicle operating authority, against any employee who abuses or misuses a Government-owned or leased vehicle.


A. Following are some situations that may indicate operator abuse. Because operating conditions and inherent structural or mechanical deficiencies can often explain the kinds of situations listed, one occurrence of one of these situations does not mean that the vehicle was abused.


(1) Oil is excessively low.


(2) Excessive clutch wear or frequent clutch repairs.


(3) Coolant or other fluid levels abnormally low.


(4) Excessive brake wear or replacement.


(5) Vehicle requires repetitive front end and suspension work.


(6) Physical damage (dents, punctures, etc.) to oil pan, suspension components, gas tank, or other parts of the undercarriage.


(7) Repetitive body repairs required.


B. Regional Property Managers must ensure that there are procedures for Government or contract maintenance personnel to report instances of suspected vehicle abuse to the vehicle operator’s supervisor. The supervisor must investigate the incident(s) and report the findings, in writing, to the Regional Property Manager. 


6.11 Who conducts scheduled vehicle inspections? The Accountable Officer at each duty station ensures that the following motor vehicle inspections are performed and that corrections are made for any safety or operational deficiencies found during the inspections:


A. Operator Inspections. Vehicle operators must inspect motor vehicles daily before driving and report any noted deficiencies for corrective action. The operator checks for obvious vehicle malfunctions that may make the vehicle unsafe or unserviceable, such as inoperable wiper blades and turn signals, excessively worn tires, and low fuel.  


B. Annual Safety Inspections.


(1) Qualified, competent mechanics must inspect each motor vehicle for safety at least every 12 months. Safety inspections must comply with State and local requirements.


(2) To avoid downtime, we typically schedule the safety inspection at the same time as the scheduled preventive maintenance inspection. When these time intervals do not coincide, the interval for the State and local safety inspection should stand. The Accountable Officer must establish procedures to ensure deficiencies that may affect safety are corrected before returning the vehicle to service.


For information on the content of this chapter, contact the Division of Contracting and Facilities Management. For additional information about this Web site, contact Krista_Bibb, in the Division of Policy and Directives Management.  

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