As 2015 comes to a close, winter will soon be upon us, but that doesn't mean the construction season has to come to an end. Here are 10 operational tips for the winter.
- Protect. Your tractor should be protected from the elements as much as possible when not in use. Colder weather brings condensation, which can lead to engine problems. Keep it indoors whenever possible, or under a weather resistant tarp.
- Manage. Any job that involves going into the ground, like road work, are more difficult in the winter due to frost. This, combined with fewer hours of daylight, make scheduling harder in the winter. Plan ahead to maximize productivity.
- Clean. When it snows at the jobsite, clearing away even the smallest amount of snow is important. Any snow that lingers can easily turn into ice, presenting both safety and logistical issues.
- Fuel. Fuel efficiency becomes even more important when the weather turns cold. Use only high quality winter diesel with a fuel conditioner that matches the type of fuel used, such as low sulfur. Check with the manufacturer to make sure the fuel you use is compatible with your tractor.
- Spare. The fuel filter has to work overtime during the winter. To save some time, make sure you have a spare on hand so that you can quickly install it as needed.
- Start. In order to start a construction tractor in the winter, it first needs to be warmed up. If the place where you store the tractor isn't climate controlled, use block heaters to warm up the engine.
- Warm. Even though block heaters can help you start the tractor, it is still recommended to let the vehicle warm up completely before putting it to work. Using the tractor while it' still cold can decrease it's lifespan and make it more difficult to operate. For example, the steering response will be sluggish when cold, especially for machines with hydraulic steering. Let it idle for a while before use.
- Ice. Ice and snow tends to build up in places while in use, which may hinder operation and operator safety. Typical spots include the exhaust, intake, throttle and brake areas. Check these frequently and clear snow and ice away as needed.
- Earth. On earthworks projects in the winter, it is important that chunks of excavated earth be placed in designated areas. These frozen pieces of dirt contain water that can cause major problems when they thaw, such as sink holes.
- Safe. Working in snow and ice can lead to injuries when not careful. Wear a seatbelt whenever possible. Also, make sure to have three points of contact at all time when mounting and dismounting your machine.
Following these steps will help keep you and your tractor running well through the winter. When you need replacement parts, don't waste time and gas driving from dealer to dealer. Instead, rely on our simple digital hub where you can easily and quickly search for what you need. The online database instantaneously searches through millions of records to give you a list of sellers around the country who have the parts you need at highly competitive prices. Best of all, they can ship them straight to you!