Winterizing Your Equipment
Cold weather can wreak havoc on even the most well maintained equipment. Follow these tips to keep your machine running all winter long.
Check your machine's cold start aids
Diesel engines spray ether into the air system to help the engine start in cold weather. For new machines with an automatic ether system, inspect the connections and hoses for cracks or loose connections. For older machines that have ether spray bottles, check the bottle to make sure it isn't empty.
Test the block heater
Block heaters keep fluids at the right temperature and viscosity. If it isn't working, the oil can thicken, making it harder to turn the engine over and adding stress on the battery. Plug in the block heater to test it, and then touch the hoses to make sure they are warm.
Inspect your 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. Empty the water traps in the filters before cold weather arrives. To avoid downtime, keep an extra set of fuel filters in your cab.
Inspect air pre-cleaners
Large dust particles and debris can build up during the summer and should be removed. Otherwise, snow and ice could collect around them, allowing moisture into the air system, which could cause engine failure.
Clean battery 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 reduce the chance of having a drained battery.
Use the right coolant
If coolant freezes, it can crack the engine block and ruin the engine. Check the label to make sure you're using coolant that complies with ASTM standard D-621, with a freeze point low enough for your climate.
Keep your fuel from freezing
Fuel conditioner prevents your fuel from freezing and makes sure your engine starts in the cold. Check the manufacturer's recommendations for the amount of conditioner required. Match the fuel conditioner to the type of fuel you're using (e.g., low sulfur).