A poorly-maintained fleet is one that isn’t going to do you any favors. The name of the game when it comes to snow and ice removal is reliable. If you can’t clear a client’s property because your fleet is experiencing technical issues, then your client is going to start to look elsewhere for help.
The maintenance of your fleet can be a routine that becomes an integrated part of your business. Follow the snow removal equipment maintenance checklists below to take the guesswork out of your maintenance needs and take a look at the tips we gleaned from various snowplow veterans for additional ways to withstand the wear-and-tear of the industry.
Pre-Season Maintenance for Snow Plows
Yes, your snow plow needs to be maintained even when it’s off-season. The peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that your fleet is primed and ready before the first flurry falls feels great. Follow the snow removal equipment repair tips below to stay ahead of the weather.
Pre-Season Snow Plow Maintenance Checklist
- Inspect your plow cutting edge for severe wear
- Flush and replace hydraulic fluid
- Check all other truck fluids
- Inspect and replace hoses and fittings, if needed
- Inspect and replace your plow shoes, if needed
- Clean all electrical connections; corrosion can build up especially when not used
- Test your truck’s battery
- Get a mechanical inspection to ensure your fleet is free of mechanical issues
- Tighten all fasteners for the season
Pre-Season Snow Plow Maintenance Tip
According to our favorite plow forum, many drivers have found a diesel/oil mixture applied to their undercarriage can prevent seasonal rust. Take a look; there are a few different methods mentioned.
Post-Season Maintenance for Snow Plows
Post-season maintenance should work to reverse the wear-and-tear of the season and get your plow into a healthy state for its spring and summer hibernation.
Post-Season Snow Plow Maintenance Checklist
- Touch-up your paint job; missing paint will turn into rust
- Clean your plow of dirt and salt
- Lubricate your plow’s sliding pins and pivot points to keep them from locking and to minimize rust
- Lubricate the exposed portions of your cylinder rods for the same reason
- Coat all electrical connections in a layer of dielectric (nonconductive) grease to minimize corrosion
Post-Season Snow Plow Maintenance Tip
When you touch up the paint on your truck. Be sure to use a grinder and fully grind the affected area to remove any peeling paint or rust from the body. Once you’ve removed it all, touch up the area with a truck paint. Whatever you do, don’t paint over rust!
Pre-Season Maintenance for Spreaders
In many ways, your spreader takes a bigger beating than the truck itself. For one, it holds corrosive material like rock salt and ice melt. Lastly, it’s constantly jostled by the road. Pre-season is the perfect time to make sure your spreaders are in working order to avoid bad surprises when it really matters.
Pre-Season Salt Spreader Maintenance Checklist
- Inspect and tighten chain tension; it’s more than likely loosened
- Inspect and tighten all hoses and fitting; replace any that are cracked
- Is your spreader electric? Then check the battery and charging system
- Inspect and tighten all screws and fasteners
- Inspect spreader for mechanical damage
Pre-Season Salt Spreader Maintenance Tips
Take a look at the spinner disc on your spreader. Discs can get worn out and aren’t easy to see. The vanes on your disc should be well-defined. If they’ve been worn down too much, then it’s time to replace the disc. A worn-out disc will mean your aggregate won’t be spread out effectively.
Post-Season Maintenance for Spreaders
Just like with your plow, post-season maintenance is usually the most important due to the wear-and-tear from the season. Expect some damage; brace for it and do what you have to do keep your spreader in working order.
Post-Season Salt Spreader Maintenance Checklist
- Remove the spreader and store it in a dry, sheltered location. Ensure the spreader is standing upright.
- Clean the spreader thoroughly, ensuring no material is left to sit
- Grease all connections to prevent corrosion
- Touch-up paint
Post-Season Salt Spreader Maintenance Tips
Some spreaders have bare metal surfaces that do not have paint. Those spots are just asking for rust. If painting seems too labor-intensive, then a simple application of grease to the bare metal will keep the rust away while you await the next season.
Regular Maintenance is a Must; Protect Your Investment
Protecting your investment means maintaining it so it lasts as long as possible. There’s no reason to buy a new plow, spreader, or even truck because you neglected one or the other to the point where it’s broken down by the elements.
As you can see, most of these maintenance items are done to battle two things: rust and corrosion. While it’s impossible to keep either away completely, your efforts to mitigate its impact could mean that the damage is negligible. As a snow and ice removal business, your prerogative is to make your things last as long as possible; don’t let the weather beat them down by neglecting them!