To avoid the all-too-common plant and equipment problems that can arise during cold weather, it is important to properly service equipment before winter sets in and to follow service schedules diligently during the winter months. Following these guidelines will help prevent such problems.
Proper brake maintenance is critical during cold weather months because of the added potential for moisture-related freezing of brakes and valves. Draining the air reservoir daily is one precaution that can be taken. On vehicles equipped with air dryers, it is a good idea to replace the desiccant cartridge each fall. Other brake system parts, such as hoses, should also be checked and serviced before winter sets in.
In sub-zero temperatures, an engine block heater, oil pan heater, or other type of heating aid may be necessary to keep the engine warm at all times, especially during shutdown. A fuel warmer for diesel equipment can prevent gelling of fuel. Other techniques to prevent fuel system problems during cold weather include checking all fuel hoses, connectors, pipes and filters. It is also important to use the correct engine lubricating oil and to diligently maintain engine lubrication maintenance programs before and during cold weather.
By selecting the right battery and performing routine inspection and maintenance, owners can extend battery life and dependability. Always check the physical condition of the battery (look for twisted or corroded terminals or internal damage) before using a piece of equipment. Check electrolyte levels as well.
Beware of carbon monoxide: in cold weather, doors and windows are closed and equipment cabs are sealed tightly. Lack of sufficient ventilation can allow carbon monoxide gas to accumulate and pose serious health risks.