Portal Vehicle Guide

Portal Vehicle Guide

The field vehicle is a 2015 Toyota Tundra.

Motor Pool vehicle number 5277.

A little maintenance and preparation goes a long way. Once you leave Tucson, you’re on a tight schedule to get everything done, and services get thinner until they’re basically nonexistent. We have had no luck getting a tow truck to come to the site. There are lots of capable folks around Portal, but organizing help will burn a day or more. And take care to avoid avoidable disasters - take good care of the battery, don’t leave the accessories on without turning the truck on, watch your fuel gauge, hang the keys in the same place in the ramada every time so you don’t lock them in the truck, don’t drive excessively fast on the dirt road so you don’t pop a tire or rattle something loose.

Monthly Maintenance

  • Before you leave the parking lot, do a ‘walk-around.’ Deal with any issues before you leave Tucson. If you’re already on your way, Wilcox is another good place to stop.
    • Check for (new) dents/scratches
    • Check the tires, including the spare - are they low? is the tread wearing thin?
    • Check the headlights/taillights/running lights
    • Note how the vehicle starts - does it seem slow? does it sound wierd?
    • Brakes - do they seem sluggish or noisy?
    • Warning lights - Be mindful of these - the only normal light is the regular maintenance light, which should come on about the time we need an annual inspection.
    • Windshield wipers - these are safety equipment! And they’re cheap to replace, especially compared to the rest of the truck. If they start to be less-than-perfect, get them replaced ASAP at AutoZone/Napa/etc.
  • Refill out of stock or expired items in the first aid kit
  • Jumper cables are under the back seat. Use another vehicle if you have one available, otherwise use the:
  • Jumpstarter - this is a big red box that lives in the truck. You can use it to jumpstart the battery if it has recently died and the battery is healthy. Keep the jumpstart battery healthy by charging it in a hotel room whenever you get a chance.
  • Before you head back to Tucson, check for rodents trying to make a home in the truck.

Tool Kit

A tool kit lives in the bed of the truck. Feel free to stock it with whatever you need, and put it on your P Card (eg for repairing cattle fence, ramada, trap boxes, plot fences).

First aid kit

This lives in the backseat of the truck. Check it regularly for out of stock items and expired meds. This is covered by per diem (not P card). Oft-requested items from volunteers:

  • Bandaids, all sizes
  • Neosporin
  • Bite/sting ointment
  • Wraps
  • Medical Tape
  • Aleve/Ibuprofen/Tylenol
  • Allegra/Zyrtec
  • Benadryl
  • Dramamine
  • Eye drops
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Scissors
  • Tampons

Annual Maintenance

Once a year, we make an appointment at Desert Toyota to service the truck. Usually this is done before the spring plant census, since we have extra time. Kyle Brooks is our service advisor. Always make an appointment in advance.

When making the appointment, request:

  • Lube, Oil and Filter Change
  • Air Filter - Replace
  • Cabin Air Filter - Replace
  • any suggested Mileage-based service (eg 25,000 Mile Service)
  • Tires - Rotate and Balance
  • Brakes - Clean and Adjust
  • any specific concern you have

The mechanics will decide what is actually necessary when they look at it, but this will (hopefully) budget enough time to get everything done. In general, just have them do everything they suggest. Kyle knows the vehicle is used under special circumstances and will make reccomendations based on that. Ask they run it through the car wash before you leave. Check the tires are properly mounted before you drive away!

We get the tires replaced at Discount Tire (not Desert Toyota). If Kyle says they need to be replaced, you can usually get in the same day.

Saftey Inspections

Annual saftey inspections are required by UF Motor Pool.

The inspection checklist provided by Desert Toyota with your invoice works for this. Email it to motorpool@facilitiesservices.ufl.edu.

AZ Collecting Permit

Morgan will be issued an AZ Collecting Permit each year, to allow trapping rodents. This should live in the truck. If you don’t get one for the new year, ask Morgan.


A sticker should be sent to Morgan every year. If it’s out of date, ask Morgan.


This does not change and does not need to be in the vehicle. The government plates and sticker should be sufficient. But, if someone requests it, you can request a certificate of coverage.