Your snow plow will take a beating this winter. That’s what it’s made for. But if you slack off with maintenance, you run the risk of your plow breaking down at the worst possible moment. If your plow breaks down in the middle of a tough winter, that spells disaster for you and the people in your community who depend on you to keep the roads clear and safe.
Don’t let this happen to you. Follow these pre-season, in-season, and post-season maintenance tips to keep your plow in good working condition for years to come.
Pre-season and in-season snowplow maintenance tips:
- Do a thorough inspection of your plow to make sure everything is in working order.
Inspecting your snow plow seems like common sense, but it’s easy to forget. You probably don’t think about your plow much during the warmer months. After all, who would want to think about snow in the summer? And it can be easy to forget to inspect your plow during a busy season when you’re just thinking about getting on the road as fast as possible.
But if don’t do frequent, thorough inspections of all your plow’s working parts, you can overlook simple bits of maintenance that can lead to big problems when you hit the road.
The next few tips go over the things you should check in detail. Give your plow a good once-over before the season starts, then during the season, make sure to inspect it often and fix problems as when you see them. Don’t let them pile up. You can never be too careful.
- Check your plow’s cutting edge to make sure it’s adequate.
Make sure your plow’s cutting edge is in good enough shape to cut through the snow and protect your plow’s moldboard. If it gets too worn down, your plow isn’t as effective and you could be setting yourself up for severe damage. It’s commonly recommended that you replace your plow’s cutting edge when it’s worn down to about four inches.
- Check your plow shoes and replace if necessary.
If you plow on surfaces that require you to use plow shoes, make sure they’re in good enough shape to help your blade float off of the ground. If they’re not, replace them.
- Check and tighten all fasteners on your plow.
You want your plow’s fasteners to be tight and free of corrosion. After all, if your plow falls apart, it’s no good to anyone.
- Check and tighten all fasteners on your plow’s vehicle mount.
Ditto for the fasteners on your snow plow’s vehicle mount. Check them for corrosion and tighten them up.
- Check the welds in your plow and vehicle mount for cracks.
Make sure the welds in your plow and vehicle mounts are intact. Cracks will only get worse once your plow hits the road, so don’t ignore them!
- Grease your plow’s moving contact points.
Greasing your plow’s moving contact points fights wear and tear and corrosion. You’ll want to do this frequently to keep your plow’s moving parts in good shape.
- Make sure your plow’s battery is working.
If your plow’s battery doesn’t work, your plow won’t work. If the battery doesn’t work, replace it.
- Make sure your plow’s electrical connections are tight and clean.
Make sure all of the electrical components of your plow are connected properly. Connections should be tight, and the connectors should be free of corrosion.
- Protect your plow’s electrical connections with dielectric grease.
Dielectric grease protects your plow’s electrical connections from corrosion, dirt, and water. Snow plowing is a dirty, wet job, so this is essential for keeping your plow’s electrical components in good working condition.
- Tighten your plow’s trip and return springs.
Proper spring tension is essential to protecting your car and your truck from vibration and shock damage. Tighten your springs according to your plow manufacturer’s specifications.
- Check your plow’s hoses and fittings for damage, rust, or leaks.
Your plow’s hydraulic system is just as essential as any other component. Make sure your plow’s hoses and fittings are tight and free of corrosion or leaks. If you see leaks or corrosion, replace the damaged parts right away.
- Flush and replace your hydraulic fluid.
You should flush and replace your snow plow’s hydraulic fluid once a year, before plowing season starts. During plowing season, make sure fluid levels stay adequate. If there are leaks, you need to fix them right away.
- Check your plow’s lights to make sure they’re adjusted and working properly.
Plow lights are an essential safety feature for you and the other drivers on the road. They need to be functioning properly so you can avoid accidents (and tickets!). If you notice that bulbs have gone out, replace them immediately. Any other necessary repairs should also be taken care of right away.
- Pack an emergency kit and keep it handy when you’re on the road.
Even with proper maintenance, you should prepare for the unexpected. Winters can be brutal and unpredictable, so it’s best to have some emergency supplies on hand so they’re there when you need them.
Recommended items for your emergency kit include:
- Spare hoses
- Spare solenoids
- Spare fuses
- Spare springs
- Spare bolts
- Hydraulic fluid
- A safety strobe
- A tow strap
- A good, sturdy shovel
- Ice melt
- Sand or kitty litter to gain traction in slippery conditions