Snowplow Maintenance Tips
As every business owner knows, equipment is crucial in the success of any snow removal service. Today’s state of the art equipment allows us to accomplish our job quicker, better, and easier. For example, today’s vehicles perform better, last longer, and provide greater comfort. Likewise, current plow offerings include numerous multi-position configurations, easy attachments, and push button controls. Despite all the technological advancements there is one feature which will probably not be discovered: True Long Term Maintenance Free Operation. Although maintenance is unavoidable, it is also very simple to perform. A little preventative maintenance can help minimize breakdowns and maximize profits.
The following tips will focus on preventative maintenance practices intended to provide a basis for a sound maintenance program which can be tailored to individual needs. Please note that proper equipment sizing, installation, operation, maintenance, and storage all work together in ensuring the longevity of equipment lifecycles.
1. Use Dielectric Grease on Electrical Connections. Dielectric grease is inexpensive and very effective in sealing out moisture while preventing corrosion. It should be used liberally on all electrical connections. Some key areas are battery, solenoid, and any plugs.
2. Use Waterproof Grease on All Moveable Components. There is not much that will wear quicker than metal against metal. Again, grease is very inexpensive. Using wheel-bearing type grease on moveable components such as cylinder pins and connection devices is cheap insurance which will keep your plow tight and fresh.
3. Change Hydraulic Fluid in Reservoir AND Clean Screen (although this tip really involves two practices for two different reasons, it is easiest to do them at the same time). The hydraulic system in a plow is subject to extensive pressure and temperature changes; both of which produce moisture. Also, small fragments of metal from moving parts such as pump and cylinder components along with broken-down hose particles all get trapped within the system. Since most systems have around 3 quarts of total capacity, it doesn’t take long for the oil to become contaminated. Fortunately, the pump does have a fine pick-up screen which acts as a filter. However, all the debris gets sucked into the screen and blocks flow to the pump; which could hinder performance and eventually starve the pump of oil. Also, that debris could eventually get sucked through the screens into the pump which could destroy the pump and cylinder(s). Annually removing the reservoir, cleaning the screen, and replacing the oil will protect those vital components and keep the hydraulic system operating at peak potential.
4. Maintain metal components. Metal components carry the largest loads and absorb the greatest impacts. However, metal’s greatest weakness is rust so carefully inspect all welds and bolts along with surrounding components, paying particular attention to any areas where paint has been worn or flaked off. Properly replace/repair any cracked, broken, or fatigued metal and properly protect it from the elements. Not only will the plow last longer and perform better, but will look fresh as well.
By implementing these tips as ritualistic practices, you can be confident your equipment will perform when you need it most.