Local limousine company offers advice for renters

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Brian Sullivan, who owns and operates BTS Limousines, is considering ramping up his safety measures following the death of five women trapped in a burning limo in California. [Full report]

"I have looked at some additional options as far as taking cars in for additional service to have them looked at, but some of the things that we've done are in place already," Sullivan said.

Sullivan has 14 cars in his fleet. Six of them are stretch limos. He says he has them serviced monthly.

"Limo drivers should get their vehicles serviced monthly by a certified mechanic, and the service should include an oil change and visual inspection," said John Turman, assistant service manager at Mike Davidson Ford. "The average costs is $65."

"The first thing we are going to look at under the hood is the electrical connections. We are going to make sure that they are clean , secure and free of corrosion," Turman said. "The coolant, the tires, and fuel tank are also inspected."

Turman points out that some limo companies he's dealt with before have put off regular maintenance because of the cost.

Some of the unperformed maintenance could lead to catastrophic failure of certain systems - which could have led to accidents. Some of them were simple where it just needed an air filter.

Sullivan said, "It's a tough economy it's expensive to get your vehicle serviced. I have spent $10,000 in the last 60 days having vehicles maintenance at the car dealership."

According to Sullivan, customers should always do an visual inspection of the limo, ask to see the company's limo license issued by a municipality. He says limo licenses in Jacksonville require annual inspections.

Sullivan also says don't be afraid to ask what year the vehicle was manufactured. He tells us "a 10-year-old limo is likely to have more problems than a 5-year-old limo; a 20-year -old limo could have all types of issues, the same as your personal car would have."

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