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Long Term Equipment Storage

Storing Equipment Long-Term: What You Need to Know

The days are getting shorter, the winds colder, and the trees more bare with every passing day. Winter is just around the corner. For some, the colder months mean a downturn in operating time, or just downsizing your operation in general. Whether you’re looking to save some time and money over the winter or need to go into complete lockdown, it might be time to look into storing some pieces of your fleet. Heavy equipment storage doesn’t have to be scary, as long as you prepare your machines and the space.

Preparing Your Machine for Storage

When getting your machine ready for storage, there are several steps you should take. As a rule of thumb, however, you will want to bring your machine to top condition before storing it long-term. By doing this, you give it the best chance at leaving the storage in that same condition.

Check for Small Damages

Bring your equipment in for a round of maintenance before storing. Identify any small repairs that need to be made, and make sure to complete them before storage. The little things that bother your machine now can snowball into larger issues once you handle it again.

Grease Your Parts

Lubrication is key when preparing for the winter months. All of the moving parts of your equipment should receive some grease before going into storage. When not in use, the machinery will get cold and dry. Properly lubricating can prevent any damages.

Fill Your Tires

While servicing your machine, make sure to check the tire pressure of all the wheels on your machine. While in storage, some air will likely escape the tires, so make sure to check them after coming out of storage as well.

Choose What to Do with Your Fluids

The oil, hydraulic fluid and fuel in your machines are tricky once the temperature drops. On the one hand, you could top off all of your tanks. This way, you leave little room for condensation to form and cause damages. However, doing this also runs the risk of your fluids gelling or freezing outright. Draining the fluids in your machine prevents gelling, but at the same time, costs considerably more time and energy. Plus, you have to fully replenish all of those fluids once you take the machine out of storage. What you choose is likely dependent upon the conditions of the storage space and the length you wish to store your heavy equipment.

How to Store Your Equipment

You have a lot of options when it comes to storing equipment. Really, the only requirement is to have the space to keep it there for an extended period of time. Not all spaces are equally suited for heavy equipment storage, but each option poses specific advantages.

Indoor Storage

Perhaps the best way to keep your heavy machinery safe in long-term storage is to store it in an enclosed space. Somewhere indoors, such as a shed or warehouse, will protect your fleet from the inevitable rain and snow, as well as harsh wind. Even if the indoor space is not climate-controlled, you’ll be able to keep the majority of the cold out. If you don’t own an indoor space of your own, there are plenty of companies that will rent you indoor space. Although this method is likely the most costly, it gives your machinery the best chance of avoiding long-term damage.

Outdoor Storage

Storing equipment can still be done outdoors, and is still extremely beneficial to prepare for. Likely, if you’re storing outdoors you will be doing so in a storage yard. If you can, place your most valuable equipment under some kind of shelter. This will minimize the inclement weather that affects those machines. For others, it’s worthwhile to cover with a tarp to protect from the rain, snow and wind. Similarly, if you do not have space for your own storage yard, you can find others who will allow you to rent that space. However, the issue of safety and security arises when storing outside. When you leave your machines unattended and exposed, you run the risk of someone trying to damage or steal your equipment. Luckily, there is an easy solution. Tracking software, such as EquipmentShare’s T3, can manage your entire fleets’ location from your desktop or smartphone.

Why Store Your Equipment?

Just like your home and your car, your equipment goes through a decent amount of stress and changes when the environment gets colder. First and foremost, the cold is likely to take a toll on your machine’s health. Problems that already exist might be exacerbated by the cold, wind and weather. Even a perfectly working machine can suffer damages from the cold alone. Because of this, there is a lot on the line in the winter. Damages can decrease the value of your machine, making reselling it much more difficult down the line. Even if you do not sell your machine, taking winter-related damage will drastically shorten its lifespan. By properly storing equipment, you can circumvent these problems. Plus, storing your machines in the proper way will keep them in good shape for when it’s time to take them out of storage. You will be ready to get back to operating the machine daily with little to no trouble. If you decide to pass on proper winter storage, then you will have to deal with maintenance issues once the days grow longer. Overall, long-term storage should be a priority when it comes to winter planning. Heavy equipment storage will protect the value and longevity of your fleet, meaning bigger returns down the line. Need help with winter preparations? Contact one of EquipmentShare’s 140+ locations for all your renting, owning and service needs.

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