Winterizing Equipment for Storage

by Melanie Baravik
February 13, 2018

During the slow winter season, you might have a few pieces of equipment you don’t get much use from. Don’t make the mistake of leaving assets out in the cold — winterize your machines to keep them kicking for years to come.

Pre-winterization checklist

Establish a procedure and make a checklist that can be followed every time you winterize heavy equipment. Just like with any kind of routine maintenance, having a procedure eliminates guesswork and speeds up day-to-day operations. Make sure you can easily identify which machines have already been winterized. Try tagging them and add a note to digital asset records detailing the maintenance that was done. Create this checklist long before it’s needed — don’t let your machines start collecting snow!

Clean equipment

It’s best to take this step before cold weather sets in — pressure washing isn’t too appetizing in freezing temperatures. Equipment that is going to sit all winter shouldn’t be stored covered in mud and debris. Your machines are an investment, so don’t lower their value by skipping an easy step like keeping them clean. You can also use an anti-corrosive spray and grease the metal parts of the machine for further cold-weather protection.

Remove the battery

If a piece of equipment is going to sit idle for an extended period of time, remove the battery. Store them indoors and don’t forget to charge them! This is especially important if you’re unable to store machines indoors; batteries and cold weather don’t mix.  Make sure they’re clear of dirt, debris, calcium and corrosion — corroded or calcified batteries usually need to be replaced. And if you utilize predictive maintenance, you’ll never forget when it’s time to replace a battery again.

Perform regular maintenance

Before you store equipment for the winter, perform regular maintenance so it’s ready to go in the spring. Check engine fluids and lubricants and replace them with winter-ready products. Stabilize fuel or drain the fuel tank if you don’t plan to run the machine at all through the slow season, since diesel contains paraffin wax that can begin to gel in cold temperatures. Your best bet is to follow OEM guidelines on proper machine storage.

Store equipment indoors

If you have the space, store your heavy equipment indoors. That way, snow and ice won’t accumulate on machines, potentially causing damage like rust. If the storage space is temperature-controlled, that’s another plus, because fluctuating temps won’t affect engine fluids and fuel. It’s also recommended that you remove and store any attachments to minimize stress on joints and hinges while the machine sits.

Winterizing heavy equipment seems like a daunting task, but making the effort now saves you tons of time — and money — come spring. Fed up with extra maintenance? Get your equipment rented out with EquipmentShare and start generating income even in the off season.

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