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How To Winterize Your Heavy Construction Equipment

Dec 29, 2021

How To Winterize Your Heavy Construction Equipment

Schools may close this winter, but your business won’t when you figure out how to winterize your heavy construction equipment. Not everyone can close operations when the weather gets rough. Still, maintaining your utility vehicles proves difficult once temperatures dip below freezing.

Be the first one ready to plow roads when you know how to use heavy equipment in the winter. You can keep your company pushing out products when you take these key steps. Check them out ahead.

Store Equipment Indoors

It’s wise to store your heavy equipment indoors during the winter. If you leave it outside, you may spend a great deal of time clearing snow and ice from your equipment every time you need it. If you plan to keep equipment outside, we suggest covering it with a tarp.

Store Fuel and Other Fluids Inside

Having a shed, barn, or garage that you can heat during the winter is useful for many things. One of the most important is temperature control for fuel and other fluids. If these fluids freeze, you can’t use them. Diesel begins to take on a gel texture around the freezing mark (i.e., 32 degrees Fahrenheit), and it may solidify if it reaches 12 degrees or lower.

Another important fluid to store is starting fluid. It’s flammable and toxic, so don’t store it near other flammable items or in a non-ventilated space near people or animals. You should inject it into the engine as it cranks and keep the product at room temperature.

Inspect Your Operator Compartment

Ensure you can complete your project without stopping by maintaining interior elements. Check the heaters and defrosters in your vehicle before winter to make sure they work. Defrosters make it easier to clear your vehicle. Plus, you want the heat to work so you can stay comfortable.

Switch Your Fuel

Depending on where you live or conduct operations, you may need to switch out your fuel for winter. Change from Diesel #2 to #1, which can withstand lower temperatures. You could also use an additive to prevent fuel from gelling and clogging your lines.

Refill Your Fuel Tank After Each Use

In addition to using the right fluids, you also want to ensure your equipment is full. Like a car, running on a quarter tank in the winter may not cut it. Once temperatures hit freezing, start refueling your equipment after each use.

Don’t Contaminate Your Engine

Water is more likely to get into your fuel tank during the winter due to snow and ice. You’ll need to be extra careful when fueling up so you don’t push a pile of ice into your tank.

Cover Your Engine and Battery

Keeping your engine and battery from freezing will ensure you can use your equipment throughout winter. Cover your engine with an engine blanket to trap the heat and keep it warm. You can also use electric-powered options, as a frozen battery likely won’t operate.

Use a Block Heater

The fastest way to heat up an engine is with a block heater. This device uses a hose and plug to quickly raise the interior temperature of the engine, including the hydraulic fluids.

Let the Engine Run

When it’s cold out, you’ll need to let your engines run before using a utility vehicle. Whether you take time to heat it up with a block heater or let it idle, it’s important to warm up the engine. Keep valves from sticking and keep your engine working correctly when you follow this important step in the winter.

Increase Equipment Inspection

Typically, you only need to inspect your equipment once a month or so throughout the year. But during winter, you should increase your frequency to a weekly—if not daily—inspection. This way, you can ensure your equipment is always in good condition.

Pro Tip: You may need to check the tires the most. They can easily deflate when temperatures switch to freezing.

Condition Hydraulic Hoses

The hydraulic hoses in your engine can crack if they get too cold and aren’t well lubricated. Condition them throughout the cold season by running your engine for at least an hour and using oil designed for winter use.

Lubricate Moving Parts

Check fluid levels to ensure all parts of your engine are lubricated and ready when you need them. You need different fluids for different parts of your equipment. Make sure you use the right starting fluid, hydraulic, transmission, and drive lubricants for the season and your area.

Pro Tip: To know if you have enough fluid, check each fluid container before operation. If fluid drips from the dipstick, then it’s properly filled.

Keep Tires Inflated

You’ll need to inspect the tires of your tractors and other equipment often throughout winter to ensure they’re full. Prevent ice from forming inside when you fill tires with dry nitrogen gas. It’s essential to keep tires inflated so they support the weight of your machines and provide the efficiency you desire.

When To Get Heavy Equipment Ready for Winter

Start taking steps to winterize your tractors and other heavy-duty equipment as you anticipate the start of winter. Though it doesn’t truly begin until the end of December, temperatures begin to drop in November (and possibly sooner depending on your region). Begin more frequent inspections, fuel switches, and engine warming habits as soon as temperatures get below freezing. Come up with a plan for how you’ll maintain the equipment you want to keep using and that which you’ll store for the season. These steps will keep you, your workers, and your business safe.

Proper maintenance is key to making sure you can use your tools and equipment throughout winter. Save this guide on how to winterize your heavy construction equipment so you can refer to it whenever the cold season comes around. Following these steps could make or break your business. Don’t let maintenance costs ruin you this winter when you get proactive. Find parts and more when you shop Kitsap Tractor & Equipment. We’re your premier Kubota dealer in Washington. Visit our online collection or stop at one of our stores today.

How To Winterize Your Heavy Construction Equipment

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