Cold Weather Operation
Protect your machine
If you can’t keep your machine inside when it’s not in use, at least keep a weather resistant tarp over the engine. With snow comes condensation, which can cause problems for the entire engine.
Cold weather makes the earth harder, and frost can penetrate roadways and aggregates to make utility, road, and crushing jobs much more difficult and time consuming. Winter months have less daylight, so manage your time wisely.
Keep the jobsite clean
It is imperative to keep jobsites neat and clean during winter months. When not working, leave a layer of snow on the ground to keep frost from penetrating the ground – the snow will actually insulate the ground beneath. When working, make sure to clear all snow and ice to avoid accidents.
Clean areas designated for snow removal
Clean up debris or equipment that will be hidden by fallen snow. Mark any areas of concern with reflective stakes, so that snow removal crews can easily identify and stay away from those areas.
Plan for earthworks projects
Frozen chunks of ground need to be placed in designated areas. The frozen chunks of earth contain water that can cause major problems in the spring, such as sinkholes.
Use the best fuel
Make sure you are using high-quality winter diesel fuel. The fuel conditioner should match the type of fuel you are using (e.g., low sulfur) and should be approved by the manufacturer.
Check starting devices
Make sure block heaters and cold weather starting devices are working properly.
Warm up the machine
Let machines come up to operating temperature before working.
Keep a spare fuel filter
Keep an extra fuel filter in the cab, and follow installation instructions in your operator’s manual.
Check ice buildup
Check for ice or snow buildup in exhaust or intake if applicable. Inspect and clear ice or snow from throttle and brake area.
Warm up to improve steering response
Steering response on equipment with hydraulic steering may become very slow at low temperatures, even when the correct oils are used. Once the engine is started, let the machine idle until the engine reaches operating temperature.
Stay aware of safety
Mount and dismount your machine using three points of contact. Remember that you are working with snow and ice slips and falls are a common cause of injuries. Wear your seatbelt when operating equipment and stay alert.