Is Your Equipment Ready? – By Steve Taylor

Truck Mounted Snow Equipment can take a beating when you put it to work removing snow and controlling ice. Before you put it to use every season, check and repair problems while they can be fixed in the garage, not when the equipment is out there in a storm under the stress of removing and controlling snow and ice. Plan ahead; don’t wait for a breakdown that will cost you dearly for towing, middle of the night repairs and maybe even lost customers.
At the end of each season, have the equipment gone over to look for structural weaknesses, bending metal, cracked paint, broken welds, cracked hoses, weak hydraulic solenoids, loose wires and corroded connectors, etc. Each plow manufacturer generally knows which parts are chronic problems when their plows are used in service. They each have a recommended replacement parts list for each model. That’s a good sign that you need those parts on hand in case of a breakdown, or better still for replacement before a breakdown as you have noticed a part that needs replacing before it fails.
But don’t rely on the manufacturer to provide all the information that you need, use your social network including other plow users, contractors and websites such as Plowsite.com to keep up with how your model plow is performing in use and what issues are being found in the field. At Plowsite.com use the http://www.plowsite.com/forumdisplay.php?f=3 to find each make and model plow and read the user posts on breakdown experiences. If you read a number of these posts even going back in history, you may find issues which may tip you off on what to look for on your own equipment.
In addition to going over the plows and spreaders, have the truck looked at as well. Plowing and Spreading puts big loads on the truck, sometimes these loads will cause extra wear on the frames, axles, steering, transmissions, etc. For example your truck frame may have a small crack that has developed over time and using it to plow might load the frame more and propagate the crack failing the frame. That’s something you definitely don’t want to happen, especially during a storm!
Further, if you are having recurring problems of the same nature, don’t take for granted that the equipment manufacturer is aware of it. Make sure you report it back to the dealer or distributor where you purchased your equipment. Ask for their feedback and the factory recommendations for corrective action. Make sure you know if it is covered under factory warranty or maybe even a recall campaign. Read what others are reporting on the same issues and make sure you let it be known if you suspect you might have product that is part of a chronic problem. And if you are not satisfied with the resolution, you can even email me (see below) as I might have other suggestions for you.

Guest post by Steve Taylor:  Steve is a consultant in the Truck Equipment business with over 30 years in the snowplow and truck body manufacturing business. He specializes in the design and quality/reliability field and may be reached by email at steve@truckarchitect.com. You may visit his website at http://www.truckarchitect.com/

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