As the odometer clicked over to 500,000 miles, photos were excitedly taken and texted to commemorate the milestone. And soon thereafter: retirement. The history-making Ford F-250 was part of the fleet within the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s FIRST Group, and it was their first-ever vehicle to reach 500,000 miles. The FIRST acronym stands for Freeway Incident Response Safety Team, so you could call this Ford a true FIRST responder. It began its job in May 2007, and since then has been racking up the half a million miles patrolling mainly the freeway system in the northwest metro area of Minnesota – Maple Grove area of the Twin Cities, for those in the know – looking for stalls, accidents, debris or anything else that might affect traffic or be blocking roadways.
As you probably guessed, this has meant duties for the F-250 have included pulling and pushing cars, trucks and buses and yanking whatever is in the way, plus experiencing numerous fast-acceleration moments to get back into traffic. And it has taken a lot of abuse, putting in 14-16-hour workdays, in all sorts of extreme cold and heat. Yet upon retirement in with 512,584 miles, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said that the Ford never needed major work on the engine, transmission or rear differential. And it’s still running and driving. It’s also the last of the V-10–equipped Ford trucks in the fleet (FIRST has had three V-10s to date). The sister truck, which was identical in build, reached around 400,000 miles before its retirement. Most vehicles in the FIRST fleet are retired between 200,000-300,000 miles.
Interestingly, FIRST vehicles typically have two drivers – one in the morning and one at night. For at least 400,000 of its miles, this F-250 had the same two drivers.
The F-250 will be replaced with a new 2014 extended-cab model.