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Avoid Snow Equipment Breakdowns with These 5 Maintenance Tips

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By Mark Holman, General Manager 

When you and your crews are out pushing snow during a blizzard, you don’t want to be bothered with equipment breakdowns. From the minor annoyance, such as the snow plow’s cutting edges wearing down or one where the truck stops working mid-job, snow equipment breakdowns keep you and your crews from completing your jobs in a timely manner.

Yet, when you’re in-between storms, it’s a good time to use that downtime to inspect, clean and repair your snow removal equipment to avoid future breakdowns. Here are 5 things you and your crew can do during those slow days:

1. Check vehicle oil and fluid levels: Check your trucks’ oil and fluid levels to make sure that everything is filled. If it’s time for an oil change, do that task while inspecting your truck’s fluid levels.

2. Check truck tires for low air pressure, no air pressure, and loose or missing lug nuts: Your trucks will be more efficient if their tires are properly inflated. Also, make sure you check the lug nuts to tighten any loose ones and replace missing ones.

3. Inspect vehicle hoses, couplers and rams: Rust and leaks can lead to water into the hydraulic system or a loss of oil pressure. Repair or replace bubbling or cracked hoses as well as rusted and leaking couplers and rams.

4. Inspect your fleet’s electrical system and battery terminals: To keep your trucks operating at their best, your electrical system needs to be working at 100%. Make sure that battery terminals are clean and free of any corrosion. Likewise, check your trucks’ electrical connections to make sure they’re tight and corrosion free. Here are three other areas to inspect:

  • Make sure all wires aren’t touching any moving, sharp objects or any hot engine parts.
  • Make sure the battery, alternator and regulator are in top form.
  • If needed, add dielectric grease to all of the electrical system connections to prevent corrosion.

5. Inspect snow pushers: The snow plows take as much, if not more, of a beating during snow events than your trucks. Make sure you inspect them for

  • Missing
  • Loose
  • Worn
  • Cracked or
  • Damaged parts.

And make sure you repair or replace those parts before your next snow and ice event.

Don’t forget to pressure wash your equipment

Pressure washing will get off all that gunk and salt spray that your vehicles and pushers collected during the last snowstorm. When you’re ready to clean your vehicles and snow plows, make sure you point the pressure washer to clean

  • The vehicle and plow’s undersides.
  • Hard to reach places where salt spray residue can corrode parts.
  • Wheels and lug nuts. If you didn’t do it earlier, it’s also a good time to inspect those wheels and lug nuts for a tight fit and good air pressure.

To avoid costly breakdown repairs and safety issues, your crews’ downtime between storms is a great time to check and wash your snow removal equipment.

Do you want to learn more about snow equipment maintenance? Then read these two articles:

  1. Avoiding Plow Breakdowns
  2. Making the Best of Idle Time.
Sources:
Keep, Dale, “Making the Best of Idle Time,” Sima.org.
Thomas, Rob, “Avoiding Plow Breakdowns,” ASCAonline.org: March 30, 2012.

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