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10 Tips to Prepare Heavy Equipment for Spring

10 Tips to Prepare Heavy Equipment for Spring

10 Tips to Prepare Heavy Equipment for Spring

Reading time: 6.5 min

In many places, the long, cold winter months bring construction activity to a screeching halt. To keep your heavy equipment in good condition, it’s often necessary to store machines in storage yards or warehouses where they’re kept out of the elements.

As winter gives way to spring, it’s time to bring your equipment out of hibernation and get it back on the job. With the onset of spring, however, comes new challenges for your heavy equipment fleet. Rainy and muddy conditions are part and parcel of springtime construction projects – and your machines need to be ready to meet these challenging conditions head-on.

Before your heavy equipment fleet is ready for the demands of spring, you’ll need to bring your machines up to prime operating condition. It’s crucial you catch up on preventive maintenance tasks and make sure your machines are ready to be operated effectively, safely and with minimal downtime.

Here is everything we think you need to know about preparing your heavy equipment fleet for spring.

Tips for Preparing Your Heavy Equipment for Spring

1. Perform a Thorough Inspection

After a long winter spent in storage, it’s possible your machine has suffered some damage. Before it’s ready to get back to work, you’ll want to perform a thorough inspection to catch anything that has gone awry while it’s been sitting.

While inspecting your machine, pay attention to any signs of insect or rodent infestation. Small rodents, like rats and mice, may have turned your machine into their abode while waiting out the harsh winter weather. Look for chewed cables or wires, signs of nesting or droppings.

In addition, look out for any damage caused by the winter elements. If your machine was stored outdoors, you’ll want to check for any damage caused by ice, snow or rain.

2. Check the Battery and Electrical Components

If you’ve stored your equipment with the battery in place, it’s likely the battery has died and the engine won’t turn over. Before bringing your machine out of storage, check the battery’s charge and make sure its electrical connections are still tight.

If you’ve stored your machine without the battery in place, now is the time to re-insert the battery and ensure it’s securely connected.

Once you’ve verified the battery is in place and sufficiently charged, check the machine’s electrical components. Make sure safety components like the lights, wipers, flashers, etc., are in good working condition.

3. Top Off Fluids

Crucially, before bringing your machine out of winterization, you need to ensure its engine oil, hydraulic fluids, DEF and any other fluids are topped off. If you’ve stored your machine with its fluids drained, now is the time to replace those fluids.

In addition to topping off your machine’s fluids, you’ll also want to lubricate any moving parts that require greasing. Don’t forget to grease any attachments you haven’t used over the winter, such as buckets or augers. 

4. Ensure the Machine Starts Properly

Once you’ve verified the machine’s electrical systems are functioning and its fluids are topped off, start it up to verify everything is working properly. 

If you can’t get the engine to turn over or notice unusual noises – like grinding or hissing – you may need to have your machine serviced before bringing it out of storage.

This is also the time to check that the machine’s brakes and other crucial systems are working.

5. Clean Your Machine

Spring is the ideal time to clean your machines and get your fleet looking shiny and professional. Use a broom to clear away any accumulated snow, ice or dirt from your machine’s exterior and undercarriage. Be careful not to use sharp metal objects to clear away debris, as they may damage your machine’s paint.

Inspect the machine’s interior/operator cabin and clean it thoroughly. Check to see if the seat liner is ripped or cracking and wipe down the machine’s controls. Keeping the cabin clean and free of clutter creates a safer environment for operators.

6. Check Your Tracks and Tires

As you ready your machine for spring, it’s crucial to bring its tires into good working condition. Spring is often rainy and muddy, so you’ll want to make sure your tires will be able to handle this kind of terrain.

Check your tires for cracking, chipped lugs or worn down tread. Damaged tires will need to be serviced or replaced before your machine is ready to go.

Using the appropriate pressure gauge, check that your machine’s tires are inflated to the tire pressure indicated by the manufacturer. Since your machine has likely been sitting for several months, you may need to add some air to the tires. 

If you’ve stored your machine outdoors, then you’ll also need to clean your tires of debris and frozen material. Make sure they haven’t become stuck to the ground.

For track-based machines, you’ll want to make sure the track tension is set properly for the muddy conditions of spring. You should also inspect the machine’s undercarriage to ensure parts haven’t disappeared or become loose during the winter.

7. Make Sure Safety Info is Updated and Visible

During the winter, it’s common for the decals attached to your vehicle to deteriorate or fall off, especially if your vehicle was stored outside.

Before operating your machine, make sure it has all of the necessary safety decals. Decals for moving parts or hazards on the machine are typically required and will help keep your operators safe.  

If you’ll be operating your machine on roads, then make sure it has the proper signage, as well. For example, signs that indicate wide turns or frequent stops will keep drivers safe on the road.

8. Replace Winter Attachments

If you’ve used your machine over the winter for tasks like snow plowing or digging in tundra, then you may need to refit it with attachments appropriate for spring.

With the arrival of spring comes the rain and mud, so make sure whichever attachments you choose are suited to work in these conditions.

9. Replace Parts that Require Regular Updating

Spring is the ideal time to replace any parts on your machine that require regular updating. Since you’ll likely be changing out your machine’s fluids, it’s a great time to also replace its engine oil filter and hydraulic fluid filters. Other parts that may need to be updated include your machine’s air filters, clamps, seals, hoses and wipers. 

10. Review Warranties and Manuals

As you bring your machine out of winterization, it’s a good idea to review its warranty documentation, as well as its operation and service manuals.

Certain maintenance tasks need to be performed on a consistent basis in order to maintain the validity of your machine’s warranty. Go over the requirements of the warranty and make sure you’ve fulfilled the maintenance requirements before setting your machine loose on the job site.

In your machine’s service manual, you’ll find a list of maintenance tasks that need to be performed in order to keep your machine functioning properly. It’s a good idea to review these tasks to make sure you haven’t missed anything before bringing your machine out of storage.

Additionally, have your operators review the operation and service manuals for machines they will be operating. Reviewing these manuals can help them recall any details about their machine they may have forgotten during the winter– keeping them safe and making them more efficient on the job. 

How EquipmentShare Can Help

As you bring your machine out of winterization, you may realize you need new filters, gaskets, seals or other components. EquipmentShare offers a wide selection of heavy equipment parts from popular manufacturers.

Best of all, our parts catalog is available and easy to view online, saving you time and effort. If you need replacement parts for your machine, EquipmentShare is here to help.

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