The onset of the cold weather season presents numerous challenges for the construction industry. From hard starts and equipment failure to inevitable accidents and accelerated wear and tear, the winter weather can cause severe damage to your construction equipment, forcing you to pay costly repair bills. Luckily, you can protect your valuable assets and avoid expensive repairs and downtime by preparing your construction equipment for winter and keeping up with preventative maintenance.
If you’re concerned about improving the performance and lifespan of your equipment, consider the maintenance tips outlined below.
Lubricate Parts and Check Fluid Levels Before Any Use
Before the cold weather sets in, put enough lubricants in all fluid compartments. Before powering on any machine, check the fluid levels in the hydraulic and transmission components and the oil tank to ensure the efficient flow of the equipment. To do so, check each dipstick, and if the oil drips, then the compartment is adequately lubricated. Avoid using oil that’s diluted with kerosene.
Condition the Hydraulic Hoses
Hydraulic hoses are another component you should check before each use during winter, as they can crack if used during cold temperatures. To prepare the hydraulic hoses for cold-season operation in advance, operate the motor to raise the oil temperature to 150 F, and then allow it to run for about an hour. For better results, use formulated arctic hydraulic oil meant for colder seasons.
Keep Your Equipment in an Enclosed Space
When snow falls and freezing winds hit, the effects can cause extensive damage to the internal and external components of outdoor equipment. In addition, the engine fluids in a machine can freeze if left exposed to freezing temperatures.
When your construction equipment isn’t in use, keep it in an enclosed facility to protect it from the elements. For better results, detach any attachments and store them separately. Also, keep all fluids at room temperature to prevent freezing.
Warm the Engine With a Block Heater
One of the easiest ways to warm your engine during winter is a block heater, as it can raise the temperature of hydraulic fluid and internal components. To speed up the heating process, block the radiator to limit cold air from the engine fan.
Keep Batteries Warm and Fully Charged
When temperatures drop, a battery requires nearly double the cranking amps to turn on the equipment. To make it easier for the battery to power on your machine, keep them charged and adequately warm during the winter months. If the temperatures drop to zero, remove the battery and keep it in a room-temperature setting throughout the period the machine will not be in use.
Use Starting Fluid
Starting fluid comes in handy when powering on outdoor machines during the winter. Ensure that you store the starting fluid at room temperature between uses. Beware that starting fluid is highly flammable and toxic, so make sure you store it properly when not in use. Never keep it in the operator’s compartment. For better performance, inject the starting fluid as the engine cranks. However, it’s crucial to understand that you can’t use starting fluid on all machines. Get in touch with QuickLifts before using starting fluid on your construction equipment.
Always Run the Engine Until It Gets to the Required Operating Temperature
Before putting your equipment to use, run the engine until it reaches the required operating temperature to prevent exhaust and intake valves from sticking. In addition, run your equipment along your driveway or yard for a while to activate all the functions and distribute the oil evenly throughout the machine body.
Check Tires and Maintain Correct Inflation
Tires tend to lose air rapidly when the temperatures drop. To ensure the tires remain adequately filled to support the weight of the equipment, inspect all the tires each time before using the machine. Also, inflate the tires with dry nitrogen gas to remove ice crystals that can cause deflation.
Store Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) Properly
DEF freezes when exposed to temperatures of 12 degrees or lower. To avoid this issue, store DEF containers in a well-insulated space at room temperature.
Always Refill the Tank After Each Use
To prevent the tank from freezing overnight in the middle of winter, always refill the tank after every shift. In addition, clean and drain the water separator every day before filling the tank.
To learn more about winterizing about your construction equipment, and how you can keep it running longer, contact QuickLifts in Indianapolis today. We provide an extensive selection of services and products to keep your equipment running efficiently all year, including boom lift repair, mini excavators, rentals, and more.