Ger Tonra, a loyal and long serving truck driver recently retired after 43 years with Mayo County Council has put his high milage truck to good use. For almost two decades Ger’s pride and joy was his 19-year-old Volvo FM, driving the 4×2 tractor-unit daily, going about Council work throughout the far stretches of the county, clocking many miles each day. At the end of term the Volvo has amassed almost one million miles on the clock, without ever breaking down. The truck has a new after life as it has recently been used to deliver a road safety message to 35 young people from Comhairle na nÓg on blind spots in trucks.
This reliability of the truck is mostly down to the care and attention Ger and the Mayo County Council’s Maintenance Staff bestowed on the vehicle, with the majority of the service carried out by in the Local Authority’s Machinery Yard in Castlebar, using all genuine Volvo Truck parts. “We always had the FM serviced at the correct mileage and changed the filters as we should. A few small bits went in it over the years and other than that we had no problems, the engine has never been stripped down, nor has the gearbox and it’s still has the original gearbox,” explained Ger proudly.
Purchased from then Volvo Truck dealer Enda Birmingham in Charlestown, Ger and the Volvo undertook usual and some unusual tasks, from road-making duties, delivery of water to communities in times of boil water notices, collecting salt for road maintenance in winter from Carrickfergus and Kennedy Quay, County Cork, to the annual run to collect the Westport Town Christmas Tree from Letterkeen Forest.
Today, the mileage showing on the vehicle is 500,013KM, this is after the clock has already gone around once, the true reading of kilometers travelled is in fact 1,500,000 or 932,064 miles. This is equivalent to travelling around the world over 37 times or just short of travelling to the moon and back…twice!