As the temperature starts to rise and more construction jobs roll in, heavy machine owners learn the value of spring cleaning. If they live in a climate with long winters, the cold months can bring work to a halt, spelling out long periods of storage or idleness for their equipment. Winter can take its toll on these vehicles, with the cold temperatures, moisture and inclement weather. However, with proper care and attention, these machine owners can keep equipment in good condition, preventing breakdowns and lengthening the life of the machine.
So what exactly does readying construction equipment for spring entail? Construction spring cleaning involves a variety of tasks, from regular maintenance to repairs and record-keeping. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process and explain how the different tasks can benefit your equipment and operation.
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While most people are outside enjoying the beautiful new weather, prepping your machine might be the last thing on your mind — but you can't skip this vital step. Preparing your heavy machinery for spring is necessary for a smooth transition into the working season. Without appropriate care, you can create safety hazards and extensive repair costs. You could be guzzling more fuel than necessary due to a leak or pushing your machine through an agonizing engine malfunction without realizing it.
Readying your construction equipment for spring offers several benefits, including:
Some pieces of equipment will have an easier time adjusting to the spring weather. For example, tracked vehicles can handle slush and wet conditions much more easily than their wheeled counterparts. Tires tend to dig into the ground, sinking the vehicle and trapping it in the mud.
Another condition that can make spring easier on machinery is keeping it indoors. Of course, not every operation is going to have that luxury, and some vehicles are too large to be store inside. In those instances, winterizing your machine is especially important.
Preparing your heavy equipment for spring is going to vary slightly from industry to industry and vehicle to vehicle, but the process still covers similar aspects. You'll need to perform routine maintenance tasks and keep an inventory of your equipment. It's also a great time to perform other housekeeping tasks, so you're ready for the busy season. By getting all of this work out of the way, you can be better prepared to dive in when the warm weather hits.
Here are some tips for preparing your equipment for Spring:
Spring is an excellent time to conduct periodic maintenance. You can do damage control on components that might have struggled over the winter and make sure your machine is as ready as possible. Some of the maintenance tasks you'll want to complete are:
As you work on your machinery, make sure you're keeping track of the tasks you're doing. Update your maintenance logs or start keeping records, if you don't already. Your maintenance log keeps a detailed report of technical information about your machine and the steps you take to keep it in good condition. Some of the things you should jot down include the:
For larger operations, you can also use this time to check your inventory. Is anything aging that may need a replacement, or are there additions you may want? Do you see a repair or other issue in your near future?
Spring cleaning is also an excellent time to check on your paperwork. Dig out your filing cabinet or the folders on your computer and take a look at the following:
These are the kinds of tasks you do not want to forget about, so it's a good idea to check in on them once a year. Since you're already working on spring cleaning, you can get these done now. Another good time to do them is in the winter when jobs are low.
While spring cleaning is a significant task on its own, another way to ease the process is by winterizing your machines beforehand. If you get your vehicles ready for the cold and ice in the fall, you can help it better stand up to the elements over the winter months. Whether you use your vehicles during winter or hunker down and wait for the sunshine, you can save yourself an expensive repair by getting ready beforehand.
Some of the tasks you can do to winterize your heavy machinery include:
When winterizing your vehicle, be sure to remove the battery. It can continue to drain even if your machine is turned off. Do an inspection, cleaning the cables and connections and looking for any signs of corrosion. Then, you'll want to store it in a heated location with a full charge.
If you don't take care of your vehicle's battery, you risk the possibility of it freezing. The electrolyte solution in a battery includes a high percentage of water, and as the battery is discharged, the percentage of water increases. So if it freezes, it can expand and damage the battery. It could crack the housing or pose a risk by releasing acid. Keeping the battery fully charged can bring the freezing point down from 32 to negative 76 degrees Fahrenheit, giving you much more leeway in the colder months.
One approach that you may find useful is using a trickle charger. Trickle chargers provide your battery with a small amount of charge to keep it topped off throughout long-term storage. Even when not in use, batteries lose a small amount of power each day. If you do use a trickle charger, you'll still want to keep the battery in a room that is above freezing.
After you've finished your maintenance, it's time for an overall inspection — this step will help you ensure no new surprises have appeared over the winter, like broken wires or leaks. Even without regular use, the elements can take their toll on a stationary piece of equipment.
Here's a list of what to check before starting heavy equipment this spring:
Spring maintenance is an essential part of construction equipment ownership. If it sounds like a bit much to take on, you can also rent your equipment. When you rent heavy machinery, we take care of the maintenance tasks, so you can get straight to work. Alternatively, if a job comes up before you've had the opportunity to get your vehicle ready, a short-term rental can get you moving without delay. Whether you need a short or long-term rental, The Cat® Rental Store has you covered. We also offer purchase options, so you can hang onto your equipment all year long.
With over 1,300 locations across the globe and a wide range of Cat products, we've been helping construction workers, contractors and more get back in the groove of warm-weather work for years. Check out our equipment offerings or find a location near you to get started with The Cat Rental Store.