Winter weather checks: Take action to cut wear and tear

Winter weather checks: Take action to cut wear and tear

Finning, the world’s largest dealer of Cat® machines, is urging operators and owners to make sure their machines are fit for the winter to continue to operate at full capacity by minimising unexpected downtime.

Frost, muddy conditions and plummeting temperatures can all take a toll on machinery through excess wear and tear, which makes winter maintenance essential. 

While construction machinery is designed to withstand tough conditions, adverse weather can still have an impact and lead to issues such as damage to the undercarriage, freezing and corrosion. 

Cheryl Griffith, Wear Parts Product Manager at Finning UK & Ireland, shares some expert advice on how to keep winter wear and tear to a minimum:

Check your levels

Fluids are essential to the operation of a machine and are one of the areas that winter weather can really have an impact on as the cold can affect the viscosity of engine and hydraulic fluids. Check the oil is the right type for use in winter conditions too, while low temperature grease or coolant additives can also improve performance. 

Using a high-quality anti-freeze to protect cooling systems ensures the engine operates at the right temperature – and always allow the Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) system to fully purge to remove any excess moisture.

This is also a good time to look at replacing oil and filters – and to book a basic maintenance service to check for any issues.

Daily checks are essential

The undercarriage is particularly vulnerable to worsening wear and tear, if you don’t carry out regular checks. With additional pressure being placed on tracks, tyres, suspension and the frame of the machine in negotiating muddy and wet conditions, regularly checking for loose parts, cracks and signs of damage can flag up an issue before it becomes a real and costly problem. 

Also take time to check wipers and lights as well to ensure operators can work safely in rain, wind and darker conditions.

Battery power

Cold weather will not affect the life of a battery, but it can highlight if it is weak. Winter conditions place additional stress on uncharged components. If the battery is showing signs of weakness, then be sure to choose a good quality, heavy duty battery that will offer year-round performance. 

Take your time and extra care

Giving machines time to warm up properly is essential in the winter to allow them to operate at capacity – and to avoid costly and unnecessary damage to components and hoses. Where machines are not going to be used for a while, move them to a covered area if possible and disconnect the battery. 

Servicing is everything 

If you have a service agreement in place, make sure to book in at regular service intervals based on machine operating hours and guidance from the manufacturer or dealer. Not having regular services throughout the year can really take its toll on a machine in the winter when the working conditions mean the equipment and all its components have to work harder. 

Preventative maintenance is by far the best solution to avoid unexpected downtime during the winter months. Regular servicing and maintenance is proven to keep machines up and running. 

At Finning we offer a range of service options for all levels from delivering parts for a maintenance schedule to planned repairs, and tailored solutions to give customers the support that is right for them. 

Find out more about our servicing capabilities here at Finning online

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