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Cold Weather Effects on Heavy Equipment

As winter begins to set in, there are several elements we at Pro Crane need to think about when running heavy equipment in sub-freezing temperatures.  When appropriate precautions are not taken, there is a real possibility of us not making it to your job site. Fear not as there is no reason to be afraid of this time of year as long as the proper preparations are made in advance.

It all begins with our pre-trip inspection. The most common items checked first are: oil and coolant level, tire pressure, and lights. Cold weather can affect all of these in many ways.

Colder temperatures cause the air pressure in tires to decrease. For every 10 degree drop in temperature, roughly one psi (pounds per square inch) is lost. This can cause abnormal wear and decreased traction on tire tread. Both of which are not safe for heavy equipment. There is a greater chance of blowing out a tire if the pressure is not correct, which in turn, causes us to be late to your site.

Proper coolant level and temperature range is very important. Too little coolant in the engine could cause the engine to overheat. If the coolant is mixed incorrectly, it could freeze in the engine. Keep in mind, there are many different ways to test coolant range. However, the most important factor is making sure it is checked prior to use.

Making sure all the lights are in working order is crucial. A turn signal or brake light that isn’t functioning properly could cause an accident. Wiring becomes hard and brittle as it reaches freezing temperatures. Broken wires and burned-out bulbs are the most common reasons lights stop working.

A battery can start showing signs of a weak charge as it gets colder outside. Fluids become thicker, which in turn makes it more difficult for the engine to crank over. A battery with a low charge can freeze, leading to equipment not starting. Because an increase in power from the battery is required to start the engine in the winter, it does result in it becoming easier to spot a problem with your battery or charging system.

The above, aforementioned factors are just a few items we at Pro Crane keep in mind as the season ticks on. Checking and repairing these items leads to loss of downtime, which in turn means work gets done on time, a win-win for all involved.

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