Winter is Coming: Get Ahead on Maintenance
Get a jump on winterizing your equipment so you don’t get left out in the cold. Now is the time to take the proper precautions so that your equipment can stay productive through the most frigid conditions.
Get Things Started
If your fleet sits in the cold all night, your machinery will need time to get warmed up. Fluids need to circulate, and joints and hinges may need to be lubricated. Be proactive and perform regular inspections, especially during the winter. Below are some key areas of your equipment to keep an eye on:
- Ether Start System: When starting in cold conditions, diesel engines require a controlled amount of ether to reduce rough combustion and high cylinder pressures. The lack of this assistance can result in broken pistons and piston rings, as well as piston scuffing.
- Coolant System: Make sure you keep the radiator clean, belts and hoses in good condition, use water that meets the recommended specification, use proper antifreeze mix, add coolant conditioner on schedule, and take a coolant sample at each engine oil change interval.
- Tire Tread and Pressure: Having sufficient tread is vital as slippery conditions put your machines at risk of sliding. Cold weather also makes maintaining proper tire pressure more difficult, and underinflated tires can lead to lower fuel efficiency.
- Battery Charge: Your battery function is likely to be impacted by the cold. Regularly check the charge on batteries before startup and watch out for any corrosion. Never attempt to jump-start a frozen battery.
- Fluids and Lubricants: Fluids can thicken, clog filters, and strain hoses so check for leaks and build-up. Always top off your fuel tank to avoid moisture collecting and crystalizing in your tank as well.
Winter is the darkest time of year so optimizing visibility and knowing your surroundings is the best way to maintain on-site safety. Here are some things to keep in mind during operation.
- Defrosters, Wipers, and Lights: Good visibility is essential, especially with shorter daylight hours. Keep your windows free of condensation and replace broken headlights immediately.
- Heaters: Heat will prevent muscles from stiffening and inhibiting operation, so check your heating systems before temperatures drop.
- Watch Your Site: Snow and ice can obscure your site and cover material that can damage tires. If your worksite is close to water, beware of hidden ice that can crack or cause your machinery to slide.
Shutting It Down
Ideally, equipment should be stored inside to protect it from the elements and keep fluids from solidifying. If that is not an option, there are measures you can take to protect your equipment outside.
- Park on Raised Surfaces: Your equipment can freeze to the ground if it’s left outside overnight in frigid temperatures. Park equipment on a raised surface, like planks, to prevent tire damage.
- Elevate Attachments: Like tires, attachments can get stuck to the ground during winter. Raise them up or place them on planks to reduce strain on machinery joints.
It’s critical that your machine’s engine valve adjustment, ether start system, and cooling system be maintained at proper operating specifications. Carter Machinery will inspect your entire fleet to prevent unnecessary downtime, short component life, or failures.