Equipment Maintenance, MSG

Tips for Handling Heavy Equipment During Winter

Even though heavy construction equipment is built to operate in the tough conditions, a few simple procedures will keep machines in top operating condition during cold and freezing weather.

Keep Visibility Clear
Visibility can be the key to safety – keep machines on the job site clean and windshields free of ice and debris.  Washing your equipment regularly during the winter months will help prevent the build up of corrosive material and rust. Check for cracks, cuts and worn spots on all hydraulic hoses, belts and tires. And always be sure to remove snow, dirt and debris from tires or undercarriages.

Inspections Are Necessary
Don’t forget the inspections, even in the cold weather. It’s tempting to skip the walk around when it is cold, but it could be more important than ever during frigid temperatures. Before you head out, check tire pressure, inspect air line hoses for cracking and make sure all lights are working and free of snow, and dirt.

Battery Care
Cold weather causes batteries to generate nearly twice as many cranking amps in order to turn over, so keep yours charged and warm for easy starting. Frozen batteries can be a hazard. You can always use heat tape to keep your batteries, wires, and hoses from freezing.

Warm Up the Engine
Before you begin to work, warm the engine and help prevent the intake and exhaust valves from sticking by running your engine until it reaches operating temperature. Cycle through all of the machine’s functions to distribute warmed oil until they all operate with ease.

Tires Should Be Properly Inflated
Cold weather can cause tires to lose air quicker. Always check your tires at the beginning of a shift to make sure they are filled to the proper pounds per square inch for your machine and inflate the tires in a heated area if possible.

Handling DEF in Freezing Temperatures
Diesel Exhaust Fluid freezes at prolonged exposure to temperatures of 12 degrees or lower, so make sure the area you choose to store it at is well-insulated. Like water, DEF will expand up to 7% when frozen and can damage the storage tank if it is full or nearly full when it freezes. Keeping your DEF tank less than full in cold temperatures is ideal.

Be sure to continue to take care of your excavators, bulldozers, cranes, forklifts, backhoes, dump trucks, and skid steers during the winter months. A few basic steps and precautions will ensure that your equipment continues running at peak shape.