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Temperatures are dropping, but your focus on maintaining equipment should not – particularly, if you live in an area with near or below freezing temperatures.
Here are four considerations every equipment operator should review as we enter the snowy season in many parts of the country:
Take the Time: Daily Winter Inspections. It’s cold and you just want to get to work, but daily inspections are even more critical during the winter months. Taking a few extra minutes every day for daily cleaning and inspections is critical to identify the small problems that can quickly turn major if left unaddressed. Examine fluid hoses regularly for cracks – cold temperatures put added stress on hoses which can crack in very cold temperatures. Other areas to inspect include oil and grease lubrication, coolant, fuel levels, battery function and the undercarriage. It’s important to keep your ag equipment clean, especially the undercarriage, as excess snow, salt, and ice can get stuck to the machine causing performance and mobility issues.
Conduct Routine Maintenance PLUS Check & Change Your Fluid Type (if Needed). Seasonal maintenance should be conducted regardless of temperatures, including changing fluids and filters. Each climate is different, so it’s important to check your owners manual on what fluids to use given your specific model number and your local climate. For example, in some cold climates it’s important to change from the typical Number 2 Diesel (2-D) to Number 1 Diesel (1-D) for the snowy months, to avoid fuel hardening and ice pieces forming. And in some cases a blend of 1-D and 2-D may be the most appropriate. The owner's manual is the first place to look prior to changing fuel types or performing routine maintenance.
Store Indoors and Keep it Warm. Housing the equipment inside a shed or building will reduce the winter strain on the equipment. When it’s time to start it up, allow the machine to properly warm up – machine function is better when the engine and machine have time to warm above 40 degrees. Adding a block heater to the machine will decrease warm up time and more efficiently heat the cab.
Utilize Downtime for Repairs. If there is a season that presents itself with natural downtime, it’s winter. Use this time to fully inspect and repair any equipment. You’ll be happy that your fleet is ready and raring, come busy season.