Changing weather doesn’t mean work can stop, and when cold weather hits, your machinery should work as hard as you do. However, oil stability, traction, and tire pressure can all take serious hits as temperatures drop. If you want to keep your motor humming and ready to go when you are, let’s review some tips that will help you protect your construction equipment from the cold.
Proper Storage Is Critical
If you don’t store or cover your equipment properly, rust and corrosion from snow and moisture buildup will quickly become your biggest hurdle. Tarpaulins are useful for smaller equipment, but they aren’t sufficient in extremely cold weather. Ideally, your storage space should be dry and heated, but warehouses can be hard to find for remote projects. Construction site managers who work at considerable distances from brick-and-mortar buildings should consider fabric buildings. One of the most common uses for fabric coverall buildings is seasonal storage, and companies offer features like heating, insulation, and mobility.
Inspect the Equipment’s Undercarriage
During winter, the undercarriages of your equipment see more wear and tear than in other seasons. The slippery conditions put a lot of stress on the frame, suspension, and tires, which makes consistent inspections incredibly important. Conduct professional inspections before the winter season, and do regular checks once a day. Examine the undercarriage for cracking, debris, loose parts, or other visible damage before operating. During these daily inspections, you should monitor the grease points and fluid levels.
Use Seasonally-Appropriate Fluids
Ensure your machinery’s oils, grease, coolant, and fuel formulations are all seasonally appropriate. The formula of these fluids can become unstable in the cold, and lubricants can change in viscosity and underperform as a result. Fortunately, manufacturers are aware of this and provide winter formulations with chemical additives that keep everything stable.
Keep an Eye on Tires and Batteries
As the temperature drops, the air inside of a tire condenses. Engineers and automotive scientists estimate that tire pressure decreases by one PSI for every 10 degrees dropped. Again, check tire pressure daily to avoid operating machinery in dangerous conditions. If you store your machinery on concrete, consider slightly overinflating tires to prevent flat spots.
Cold weather is tough on batteries and can reduce their power by up to 60 percent; they will struggle to maintain sufficient power in cold climates. Charging batteries is important, but you must also keep them warm. Idling your machines may be your best bet in extreme weather, where temperatures can drop as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit. While this can elevate foot load and add hours to a machine, it may be better to leave things running in well-ventilated storage.
Now that you know how to protect your construction equipment from the cold, you can keep your machinery and your crew safe. If you conduct inspections every day, you’ll become a pro at avoiding expensive and dangerous malfunctions.