As much as we’d like to plow snow year-round, winter has to come to an end at some point—at least for most of us. And when the seasons change, we have to adapt, too. The plows go into hibernation for the summer, and you bring out your other equipment to get you through the spring, summer and fall.
But just because you don’t need your snowplow right now doesn’t mean you aren’t going to need it ever again. There are a bunch of things that you can do now that will help ensure that when winter arrives again, your plow is ready to take care of business for another year. And good news! Most of these tasks are simple, inexpensive, and will add years to the life of your plow.
Give Your Snow Plow Shelter
First, store your plow in a sheltered place, out of the elements and sun, and preferably on a concrete or at least a gravel surface. Heat, cold, and moisture can all take a toll on hoses, fittings, electronics, and plow powder coats. And as these wear down, they break down, often requiring replacement. In the worst cases, these elements can kill the plow years before its time, as corrosion destroys the vital structure of your plow.
More than any other action you can take right now, putting the plow inside a garage or warehouse or other structure is the single most impactful thing you can do.
Don’t Throw A Tarp On It
Please note that “shelter” does not translate to “Put a tarp on it.” In fact, placing a tarp over the plow traps moisture and heat and can damage the plow. Even if you are protecting it from UV exposure, ventilation is important too.
Wash Your Plow Clean & Remove All Salt Residue
Above and beyond location-specific measures, there are things you can do to the plow itself to increase its life. This should go without saying, but you should make sure that your plow is well washed before you leave it alone for the next several months. It’s been bathing in salt and other corrosive materials, and you need to make sure it’s clean and dry when you step away for summer.
Top Off Hydraulic Fluid
In addition, make sure the hydraulic fluid is topped off. Pockets of air in the system will lead to condensation and then water in the system, corroding your system from the inside out. For the cost of less than a quart of fluid (unless you’ve REALLY been neglecting your maintenance) you can cut off any number of valve and fitting replacements come fall.
Get the Plow In Proper Position
In addition, in order to keep your hydraulic system healthy, either fully angle (for a straight blade plow) or fully retract the wings of a V or wing plow. The idea here is to put as much of the chrome piston inside the ram where is protected from corrosion and pitting. The remaining exposed section of piston can be coated in some sort of petroleum product to coat it in a layer of oil/grease, which is another reason to try and ensure that the plow is on a concrete floor.
Coat All Plow Connections in Grease
Before applying grease to electrical components, make sure to carefully clean all the electrical connections, removing dust, dirt and any build-up. While greasing, coat ALL electrical connections with dielectric grease. This protects the vital electrical connections and ensures that come fall, your plow will act the way you want it to. Basically, if it’s susceptible to corrosion, or might be, put something on it to protect it.
At this point your plow has been “summer-ized”. We can’t guarantee that nothing bad will happen in those 7 or 8 months, but we do know from experience that to help your plow last longer, “summer-izing” it is crucial.
For more information or if you have questions on how to protect your plows in the summertime, don’t hesitate to ask your local certified dealer.