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How to get your machines ready for Spring Thaw

February 11, 2018

When the weather drops below freezing and harsh winter storms are in the forecast it’s time to put your machines into storage. The snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can all cause severe damage to your equipment when stored incorrectly. Damages can include frozen fuel, frozen coolant, drained batteries, hardened seals, and decreased diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) quality. All of these problems can add up to more than just a quick fix. From excavators to track loaders, the only way to steer clear of damaged equipment is to take proper care of it during the winter season.

Machines with an open-cab are the most at risk because of their exposed interiors. Damage to the motor, ignition, and control panels can mean costly repairs that delay getting back to work. Proper storage is the easiest way to minimize the likelihood of needed repairs when you go to start your machines in the spring. When possible, store machines indoors to keep them dry and safe. If indoor storage isn’t possible, investing in tarps to cover your machines will help keep repair costs to a minimum come spring.

The first step to proper winter storage is making sure that you have a clean machine. Giving the equipment a thorough wash will help prevent dirt, mud, and salt from causing corrosion to the machine. Retracting the machine’s cylinder rods or covering them with a protective grease layer will help minimize scratches and rusting during its idle time. Along with this, greasing all the grease points will help ensure that your pins and bushes remain clear of rust.

Frozen fuel tanks and dead batteries are horrible ways to start off the spring season, so it’s important to take preventative measures before storing the machine. Filling up your fuel tank all the way to the top with fuel treatment and letting it run for about fifteen minutes is an easy way to make sure that fuel doesn’t gel during the cold winter months. Also, consider draining your fuel tank and fuel water separator to prevent freezing. Before storing, disconnect your battery so that it doesn’t drain throughout the winter months; nothing is worse than not being able to use the machine even after following every other storage strategies.

Even if the proper storage techniques are followed, it’s still possible the machine will require special care at the beginning of the season.  In fact, taking special care at the beginning of the season is just as important as properly storing the machine at the end of the season. The first step to getting the machine ready for use is checking oil levels before starting the machine and pulling the plugs on the swing motors to remove any sediment or water that may have collected. DEF quality has a tendency to deteriorate over time, so it won’t hurt to give that a quick check before you start using the machine.

The spring thaw is also a good time to take care of any preventative measure services. Think of it as a little spring cleaning for your equipment; spending a little money upfront will save you from paying for costly repairs in the future. A thorough inspection alone can take up to six hours, and depending on the types of services your machines need and the severity of any problems you might have, services can take anywhere from a couple hours to a few days. It’s important to start this process early so that you can get back to work in a timely manner.

The spring season will be here soon, which means that warmer weather is coming and machines are almost ready to get started up again. Winter weather can be brutal, so proper storage and start-up of your machines is essential for keeping them in tip-top shape.

Do you have a question about winterization techniques or need help with a repair caused by winter weather?  If so, please contact our service department or our parts department at Company Wrench today.


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