If you’ve read our article on warning signs, you probably have an idea of when equipment maintenance is needed. With the winter season and harsh weather conditions right around the corner, it’s crucial that contractors and business owners take care of their heavy equipment in preparation.
Whether your business has to tackle work in the freezing temperatures or needs to store equipment for the season, it’s important to follow proper winter maintenance to avoid costly problems come spring.
Your engine needs to be in great condition to prevent any major complications. When it comes to a machine’s engine, it’s important that you be more mindful about fuel, lubrication and air filtration. Failing to properly maintain your engine will lead to costly repairs and long machine downtimes that can completely derail your operations.
One important aspect of engine maintenance comes in the form of fuel system maintenance. This is why you’ll want to prioritize cleaning the fuel tank cap/vent and making sure the cap is functioning properly. You’ll also want to make sure that the quality of the fuel that you’re using is up to par. This is especially true during winter as the cold weather can aggravate fuel quality issues such as moisture in the fuel or other contaminants.
You should be inspecting your cooling systems regularly no matter what time of the year it is. You should verify that the coolant in the radiator is always filled to the cap. You should also make sure to inspect the cap for prepper relief pressure to avoid any complications. Failing to properly maintain your cooling system will lead to a slew of different problems. Aside from keeping the system from freezing, coolant also prevents corrosion and lubricates the shaft seals.
When it comes to the batteries, it’s important to note that maintenance should start in the fall. You should check if the battery electrolyte is up to the full indicator ring and over the top of the plates. Remember, plates that have dried will never be in optimal condition. It’s also in our best interest to check the rated current output of the alternator and load test the current output of the batteries. For heavy equipment that won’t be used during the winter but will be stored outdoors, it’s best to remove the batteries to prevent them from freezing.
The undercarriage may be the most taxing part of your machine to maintain. You need to make daily inspections to ensure that it’s clear of any mud, snow, and other debris. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for loose or worn parts as this can cause accidents and complications if neglected.
If your crew worked in dry conditions over the summer, now is the time to prepare your construction equipment for the winter months by replacing your air filters, as well as your oil and fuel filters. Most filters will have a visual indicator that shows when they need to be replaced, and newer equipment may even have a sensor that activates an in-cab warning.
Dust contains something called compound silica, which becomes abrasive within an engine. This is why air filters are such critical components of your equipment, and staying on top of changing them is so important to ensure dust does not damage the engine. Inspect your fuel filters to ensure they are clean and functioning properly and empty the fuel water trap before temperatures occur.
If you do not receive a replacement warning at the end of your summer jobs, it may still be a good idea to remove used air and oil/fuel filters and replace them with a new one for winter so that you’ll be ready to go when things get dusty again. Lastly, always keep spare filters handy!
Equipment maintenance is crucial to the success of your business. The last thing you want is for your equipment to bog down just when you need them. Be sure to be diligent with maintenance as this will go a long way when it comes to preserving your heavy equipment for the harsh winter season. Protecting your heavy equipment during winter is a smart investment for both the equipment and your future!
If you need help with your winter heavy equipment, then you’ve come to the right place. Our team of certified construction technicians here at Groff Tractor can help you with construction equipment repair assistance. For more information on what we can do for you, contact us today!
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