Your machinery must maintain its running ability all year long, even in the cold of winter. Winterizing your heavy equipment ensures it will work in subfreezing temperatures. If you fail to follow proper winter equipment maintenance, the machines could sustain severe damage that will net you expensive repair bills.
The heavy equipment in your fleet needs care before the winter weather drops into subfreezing temperatures. Just as your car must get winter tires, antifreeze and engine preparation, so, too, does every piece in your machinery fleet. Whether you will continue to use your fleet occasionally during the winter or need to store it over the cold months, winterizing will ensure your equipment will be prime for use.
Ice and cold are extremely destructive forces. Without preventing ice build-up in your machinery and parts from the wintry weather, you may find yourself needing to replace numerous components in your fleet. Even after the weather warms, you’ll need to give your vehicles another inspection and repair parts to prepare them for the spring.
If your company does not operate during the winter, you’ll need to get your fleet ready for storage. Long-term storage in the cold can be just as harmful to your heavy machinery as using it during the winter. Though the steps needed to ready equipment for storage and use over the winter differ slightly, both processes are critical for maintaining your company’s heavy equipment.
Winterizing your machinery requires inspecting and tending to multiple systems. But how you prepare the equipment will depend on whether you will use it before the spring. Machines that will get regular use and those that are stored must be thoroughly prepared to avoid problems when you next take them out for use.
As you change your equipment for winter storage or use, conduct a thorough visual inspection to look for worn parts. Lubricate any moving parts, including door hinges. Check the viscosity of the oil and select a lubricant based on the temperatures your equipment will experience over the winter. Lower viscosity oils perform better in colder temperatures because they flow smoothly.
Just as the lubricant for parts needs changing based on the temperatures, so does your machinery’s engine oil. Change the oil before the weather turns cold. Of course, change your oil filter and air filter when changing the oil, regardless of if you will store or use your equipment. If you’d prefer someone change the oil for you, use our mobile lube service. We come to you and even have heated oil for speedier oil changes in chilly weather.
Add antifreeze rated for your climate to the engine. Whether you will store or use the equipment over the winter, the radiator could still freeze if you have plain water or warm-weather coolant in it. Antifreeze in the engine prevents an expensive mishap when you next use the machinery.
If you intend to store your equipment throughout the winter, you must get it ready for long-term storage. Remove any attachments from the equipment for storage in a separate place at room temperature. If you haven’t already, lubricate the accessories and the machinery. A high-viscosity lubricant will not drip off your equipment in the cold, and it will coat the parts better than a low-viscosity grease.
Drain all liquids from the engine, including the fuel. Removing the fuel with the engine running ensures you get all the diesel out. Additionally, remove the battery and store it at room temperature to keep it from losing its charge. If any systems in your heavy equipment store water or fluid, drain those and dry them thoroughly to keep the storage tanks from freezing.
Any equipment in storage, place a tag clearly labeling it as stored and not ready for use. The labels will prevent the machinery from inadvertently attempting to take the equipment out before it’s prepared for warmer weather. If you have covers available, cover the equipment to protect the machinery from dust and scrapes during the winter. Additionally, even a tarp covering the vehicles will keep the temperatures slightly warmer, adding further protection from the cold.
To prepare your equipment for over winter use, you’ll need to exchange a one-time pre-season maintenance with daily and weekly tasks. Freezing weather and ice can take their toll on the diesel engines in your heavy equipment. If you don’t care for your machinery daily, you could pay to replace the vehicles instead. A small amount of prevention will go a long way toward keeping your business running.
When the temperatures freeze, you don’t want your equipment to do the same. Here are the things you need to check every day when operating your machinery in chilly weather.
Though cumbersome, these daily tasks will ensure your fleet remains ready for operation the next workday.
It requires experience and training to properly winterize your fleet. Many machinery owners take on this task themselves. It’s possible to prepare all your equipment if you plan well and schedule it before the temperatures drop too low.
However, things can happen in your business. Sadly, the cooler temperatures also herald the start of cold and flu season. Many companies have numerous employees call in sick this time of the year. You could find yourself short-staffed just when you need to get your equipment ready for the winter. Alternatively, sudden, severe weather could enter your local forecast, giving you only a few days of notice before you need to have your machinery ready. These common scenarios occur more often than you think.
Even if you’ve winterized your equipment in the past, you may find yourself needing help with the process or needing additional preventative maintenance services. And if you’ve never undertaken to prepare all your heavy equipment for freezing weather, consider asking for professional assistance. We offer a range of preventative maintenance services including mobile lube service and a fluids analysis lab.
Not winterizing your equipment has several dire consequences, depending on how much the preparation lacked. Some of these effects from missing important winterizing steps are below. Don’t let these scenarios apply to your fleet. Properly winterize all your equipment for either long-term storage or use through the winter.
Clearly, you’ll save your equipment and headaches by properly winterizing your heavy equipment. But we understand that this is a significant undertaking. If you need assistance with preparing your fleet for winter, you can contact us at Wheeler Machinery Co.
Let our professionals at Wheeler Machinery Co. help you prepare your heavy equipment for the coming winter weather. With our headquarters in Salt Lake City, we know about winter weather and how to properly ready your fleet. You can contact us online with our online form. Alternatively, schedule service with one of our experts with our service request form. If you’d prefer to talk to one of our team members, give us a call at (801) 974-0511 We’d love to hear from you to help you maintain your machinery for this winter and throughout the year.