The trees are budding and the threat of accumulating snow is now behind us. For many snow plowing professionals this means it’s time to shift from snow removal to lawn care – from snow plow to lawn mower. When checking off the storage of your snow plow from your spring “to do” list you will want to keep these common mistakes in mind and avoid them when preparing your snow plow for storage.
Snow Plow Storage Mistake #1: Putting The Snow Plow Away Dirty
Your snow plow has seen the worst of winter weather and no doubt has encountered its fair share of salt and grime during the season. Putting your snow plow into storage without a thorough cleaning is a common mistake made by snow plow owners. To prevent corrosion, always wash your snow plow thoroughly before putting it into storage to remove any excess salt and sand that may have accumulated during the season. If you want to add an extra layer of protection, you may want to consider adding a coating of vehicle wax to the plow.
Snow Plow Storage Mistake #2: Parking The Plow In The Yard
While hiding the snow plow behind the shed in the back yard may seem like a good idea, it’s not the best storage option. Another common mistake is storing the plow under an enclosed tarp. Snow plows are generally made out of steel. Storing the plow on the ground or under a tarp can accelerate the rusting process. To limit rust on your snow plow, keeping your snow plow inside a garage or storage building is your best option. If you do need to store the plow outside, it is recommended that you elevate the plow on a platform so the plow is not directly exposed to the ground. If using a tarp, make sure that air can flow thru and does not allow moisture to become trapped.
Snow Plow Storage Mistake #3: Not Changing The Hydraulic Fluid
Forgoing the changing of the hydraulic fluid is a very common mistake that plow owners make. Many wait until they take their plow out of storage to change the hydraulic fluid. However, this mistake puts the hydraulic system at risk for rust as moisture in the hydraulic system can build up during the season. It is recommended that the hydraulic system be completely drained and new snow plow hydraulic fluid added before storing the plow. Check your snow plow manual for information on the types of hydraulic fluid recommended as factory fluid may be formulated differently than generic fluid.
For those looking to take an extra preventative measure, you may also want to consider cleaning/replacing the filter on the plow pump assembly. This involves a bit more work but it will ensure that you are getting out any foreign objects that may have lodged in the unit during the winter.
Snow Plow Storage Mistake #4: Forgetting To Grease The Plow Components
When storage time comes around it’s also time to break out the grease. Before you detach your snow plow you will want to grease any exposed chrome on the lift cylinder rod and on the angle cylinders to protect them from corrosion. After greasing is complete, power the lift tower forward until the lift cylinder is completely compressed. This will add an additional layer of corrosion protection. In addition to the lift cylinder, it is also important to grease the electrical components. Disconnect all electrical plugs and coat each connection with dielectric grease (lights, valve assembly, pump, pump solenoid and battery). Then install all dust caps and plugs provided. Also, if you own a v-plow you will want to grease the coupler spring pins and the vertical hinge bushings.
Snow Plow Storage Mistake #5: Maintaining Spring Tension
It is recommended that trip return springs, during operation, be tightened so that a business card can be slid between the coils in the middle of the spring. However, when storing the plow, it is unnecessary to maintain this amount of tension on the springs. When storing the plow, loosen the trip return springs and if you own a v-blade you will also want to loosen the blade return springs.
Avoiding these common pitfalls when storing your snowplow will extend its life and ensure that it is ready to go when the first flakes start to fly next season.