Just as we feel the effects of harsh Canadian winters, so does our heavy machinery and road maintenance equipment. Many components can be affected by the cold weather, but fortunately there are preventive measures you can take to keep your fleet running smoothly all year.
The Negative Effects of Cold Weather on Heavy Machinery
There are a number of ways that winter weather can negatively impact your equipment.
Tire Pressure: As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your tires. Underinflated tires won’t perform as well, and will cause tires to wear unevenly which impacts your alignment, steering, and traction. It’s important to check your tire pressure regularly, especially during the winter months.
Batteries: Cold temperatures can cause batteries to drain more rapidly and lose power, making it harder to start your equipment. Signs of a weak battery can include slow engine crank, corrosion around the posts, leaking, unexplained ‘check engine’ light, and other issues with electrical components like wipers, windows, and headlights.
Fluids: Equipment fluids can thicken in the cold weather, causing friction around joints and seals. Have your fluids flushed and filled with the proper recommended fluid viscosity for winter to avoid issues, and keep an eye on the following fluids: radiator, transmission, brake, oil, and hydraulic fluids.
How to Prepare Your Road Maintenance Equipment for Winter
A bit of planning and preparation can go a long way in avoiding costly issues associated with extreme weather. Here’s a checklist to keep in mind when you’re getting your fleet ready for the winter season.
- ✔ Check the engine’s oil and filters for proper viscosity, level, and filter condition
- ✔ Top up all fluid levels
- ✔ Charge batteries fully and remove any dirt or corrosion
- ✔ Review windshield wipers for splits and cracks
- ✔ Test all lights and switches
- ✔ Check belts for wear and make sure they are in good condition
- ✔ Review the heater and make sure it is operational
- ✔ Lubricate all points and moving parts on the machine
- ✔ Fix minor repair items or track them for future correction
- ✔ Ensure chains, spinners, and belts are in good condition and properly adjusted
- ✔ Equip mechanical fuel/water separators and fuel warmers to diesel engines
- ✔ Clean all mirrors and windows
- ✔ Check brakes, including the parking brake, for optimal operation
- ✔ Change the oil on 4-cycle engines
- ✔ Use or add fuel stabilizers as needed for weather conditions
- ✔ Check fan belts for condition, tension, and alignment
- ✔ Make sure there are no fuel, oil, or transmission leaks
- ✔ Be sure to equip winter tires if you plan on operating in snowy or icy weather
Keep Your Machinery Serviced Regularly
Regular maintenance will ensure your heavy equipment runs smoothly throughout its life cycle and saves money in the long run by helping you get the most out of your machines. It’s important to work with an experienced service provider who will consult with you and keep you informed to extend the life of your equipment and reduce downtime.
Amaco is Ontario’s heavy equipment specialist and has helped municipalities, contractors, and owner-operators across the province find the right machine solutions for them. Contact us today to discuss your needs!
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