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Cleveland Brothers

Winter Equipment Maintenance Checklist

By: Brittney Christopher

WINTERAs winter quickly approaches, it’s crucial to be prepared for the harsh weather in Pennsylvania, western Maryland and northern West Virginia. As the temperatures continue to drop and snow begins to fall, it is time to prepare for the cold weather.

If you’re a business owner who relies on heavy equipment like skid steers, excavators, compact track loaders and backhoes, you understand the toll the winter weather can take on your valuable machines. Now is the time to ensure your fleet is ready for the cold. The following checklist can simplify the winter equipment maintenance process and help you prepare for what lies ahead.

1. Install the Correct Lubricants and Condition Hydraulic Hoses

All kinds of equipment rely on hydraulic systems to control the function of various components. Ensure they’re ready for winter by changing all vital fluids and checking filters. Condition the hoses to prevent cracking.

2. Store Equipment in Closed Facilities and Keep Fluids at Room Temperature

Cold temperatures can impact oil performance and prevent your machines from starting. The best practice is to keep your equipment in a heated, enclosed building when not in use, especially overnight. Keep your motor oil supply as close to room temperature as possible but not below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Use Block Heaters

Block heaters will keep the engine warm, making it easier to start in cold weather. They can also prevent the oil from becoming thick and sludgy.

4. Keep Batteries Fully Charged and Warm

Cold weather makes batteries work harder and drain faster. Frequent charging can ensure they have sufficient power. Consider removing the battery from a machine you don’t use very often and storing it at room temperature. If you don’t plan to utilize the equipment during the cold season, disconnect the battery to eliminate the need to charge it continually.

5. Use Starting Fluid

An ether-based starting fluid can help the engine fire up more efficiently in cold weather. These products are highly flammable and toxic, so use them cautiously.

6. Always Run the Engine Until It Reaches Operating Temperature

Giving the machine’s engine sufficient time to warm up and achieve the ideal operating temperature—typically 87 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit—enables it to run more smoothly and reduces the risk of cold-weather damage.

7. Ensure Your Tires Are Properly Inflated

Tires lose air faster when it’s cold, so check the pressure before each shift and add air if necessary.

8. Conduct a Visual Inspection

Walk around the machine before taking it out. Be sure to check for cracks, puddles of fluid and other signs of damage. Remove snow and ice from the windshield, tires and undercarriage.

9. Store Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) Properly

Fluctuating temperatures can impact the shelf life of DEF. Storing it in an area where you can maintain a consistent temperature is essential.

10. Always Fill the Tank at the End of a Shift

A full gas tank prevents condensation from forming and helps keep the fuel line from freezing. When you’re done operating your equipment for the day, make sure to fill the tank.

Contact Cleveland Brothers for Your Winter Equipment Maintenance and Construction Needs

Whether your projects involve building, plowing or excavating in the winter, Cleveland Brothers has the right heavy equipment for the job. Contact us for more winter equipment maintenance tips today.