For much of the country, winter means cold temperatures and the possibility of snowy, icy conditions, whether intermittently or regularly. Winter weather doesn't stop your company from using the heavy equipment you acquire through a financial loan or lease from Cat Financial, but it can have a major impact on how your machinery operates.
Keep these maintenance tips for winterizing your heavy equipment in mind as colder weather begins to settle in:
REGULARLY INSPECT YOUR EQUIPMENT, ESPECIALLY YOUR TIRES
Inspecting equipment should be a yearlong effort, but there are certain unique conditions to watch out for as temperatures begin to drop. Tires are a good place to start, as air pressure inside them can fall along with the mercury in the thermometer. Follow these two steps to avoid the complications that result from underinflated tires.
- Put the equipment inside a heated area, such as a garage or larger facility, before filling the tires. The insulated location helps the tire bead sit firmly within each wheel's groove.
- Use dry nitrogen gas instead of compressed air or a similar mixture when re-inflating the tires on your equipment. This helps fight against ice crystals building up inside the tire during especially cold periods, which can push the valve stem open and lead to increased deflation.
Inspections should cover the rest of the machine as well. You already have a comprehensive understanding of your equipment and conduct inspections during warm weather, too. So you recognize the importance of checking everything from lights and windshield wipers to fluid levels, brakes and, especially important for winter work, heaters. Leverage this as an opportunity to engage in some additional preventative maintenance by lubricating necessary engine parts and doing the same for joints and hinges.
PROPER STORAGE AND CARE FOR EQUIPMENT BATTERIES
An excavator, backhoe loader paver or any other type of heavy equipment can be in perfect working order but never function if it doesn't have a battery that's ready to supply vital power. You should always take extra care of your batteries to make startup easier and reduce stress on the engine as the vehicle turns on. One of the simplest ways to protect battery life and get the equipment it powers to work quickly is by storing these cells in a warm, dry environment.
While stored, maintain their useful life by recharging them when they drop below 75 percent capacity and cleaning them to remove rust, moisture and dirt. If you plan to keep batteries out of use for an extended time, unplug them from their ground wires and check in on them once a month. These simple steps will help them last longer and provide a more reliable source of energy.
CHANGE OUT THE FUEL
Most heavy equipment runs on No. 2 diesel fuel during the warmer months of the year. Because this type of fuel can solidify, it's not recommended for use in the colder months. A simple switch to No. 1 diesel fuel will help hold off the ice that can form when No. 2 fuel remains in the tank and lines.
FIND A GREAT FINANCIAL PARTNER
Cat Financial helps businesses like yours get the equipment they need with loans and leases that offer a variety of attractive options, no matter the time of year or weather you work in. To learn more, get in touch with us today