For the northern two-thirds of the U.S. and Canada, November signals the beginning of the season where some special steps must be taken to prepare the equipment for cold-weather work. When the snow flies, construction activity slows, but it doesn’t stop. Contractors depend on rental companies to have reliable equipment field-ready, so they can complete their winter projects on schedule.
In addition to routine maintenance items, the following is a checklist of extra steps the service technician should take in order to keep your rental fleet in the field and out of the shop over the winter.
Take your time…
Allow the equipment to warm up at the beginning of the day
Workers and equipment alike need an opportunity to warm up before going full speed in subfreezing temperatures.
Allowing the equipment to properly warm up gives the oil a chance to flow through the system and heat up hydraulic components.
Additionally, the engine and transmission function better if given ample time to warm up before using.
Don’t get stuck…
Check batteries for proper capacity and the ability to operate in cold temperatures
Dead batteries or those with low acid levels will freeze and not allow the equipment perform up to its standards in cold weather.
Grease and lubricate all moving components
Water can penetrate seals and bushings and, once it freezes, can crack machine components.
Thorough greasing and lubrication greatly reduces the chance of water penetration to sensitive areas of the machine.
For extreme cold weather applications, change to specialty oils in your machines
Several “Arctic Oil” options are available on the market for subzero operation.
Make sure to select the correct oil viscosity for the temperature range in which the equipment will operate.
Select cold-weather package options for equipment
Block heaters, battery blankets, hydraulic tank heaters, etc. are available for extreme cold temperature operation.
Inspect cold-weather package items frequently for proper operation.
Following the above maintenance tips will help your machine deliver consistent and reliable operation during the winter months for your customers.