Cold weather can really take a toll on your equipment. Diamond Equipment has created a few helpful tips to help you avoid 2 am breakdowns and make sure your machine is ready for winter.
Check chain tanks, final drives, swing gear baths and gear boxes for water
Make sure you’re using coolant that complies with ASTM standard D-621, with a freeze point low enough for your climate. If coolant freezes, it can crack the engine block and ruin the engine. For detailed information about coolant, read our coolant tips.
Add fuel conditioner
Fuel conditioner prevents your fuel from freezing and makes sure your engine starts in the cold. It’s like adding Heet to your car. The amount of conditioner required varies, based on the brand and model of the machine. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Make sure you match the fuel conditioner to the type of fuel you’re using (e.g., low sulfur).
Check the fuel filter
If the fuel filter is clogged, moisture can build up and freeze in the winter, causing your machine to run improperly or fail to start. Most filters have water traps that should be emptied before cold weather arrives. Keep an extra set of fuel filters in your cab to avoid downtime due to fuel problems.
Check cold start aids
Diesel engines spray ether into the air system to help the engine start in cold weather. For older machines that have ether spray bottles, check the bottle to make sure it contains a sufficient amount. For new machines with an automatic ether system, check to see whether it is functioning properly by visually inspecting the connections and hoses for cracks or loose connections.
Check for proper functionality of block heater
Block heaters keep fluids at the appropriate temperature and viscosity. If the block heater isn’t working, oil can thicken, making it harder to turn the engine over and adding stress on the battery. Check the block heater by plugging it in and touch the hoses to make sure they are warm.
Inspect lights, wipers, belts, cutting edges and back up alarms
It’s much easier to make repairs without needing to deal with the cold, snow and ice. Inspect your equipment thoroughly and take the time to test the lights, wipes, belts, cutting edges, back up alarms and anything that might be an inconvenience to fix during the winter.
Inspect air pre-cleaners
Large dust particles and debris can build up during the summer. If these particles are not removed, snow and ice could collect around them, allowing moisture into the air system, which could cause engine failure.
Check battery and connections
Corrosion around battery connections causes less voltage to be transmitted, and increases the strain on the battery. Corroded connections can drain the battery, preventing your machine from starting. Periodic inspections for corrosion could reduce the chance of being inconvenienced with a drained battery.