We’ve already seen the first snow, and it’s not even the middle of winter yet. Thankfully, that didn’t stick around for very long, but it might have been the wake-up call we all needed to get our snow plows in order. Before winter gets here, make sure you have your plow truck and snow plow ready, including lubrication, repaint and the snow plow wear bar. As you know, winter certainly stresses things out, from electrical systems to hydraulic systems and even mechanical parts.
Plow Truck and Snow Plow Preseason Maintenance
On your plow truck, make sure you have your snow tires mounted and your brake system is up to spec. Perhaps now is a good time to flush them — a frozen brake line won’t stop you in your tracks! The front suspension and steering will take a beating, so make sure everything is tight and working right. Check for cracked or broken springs. Check your battery and alternator output, not only for cold-starts but also for the high-amperage draw needed by electric plows, lighting, heating and defrosters — and don’t forget the drive belt!
To improve your electrical system, consider adding a second alternator and battery and upgrading your winter rigging with LED lights, which are super bright but draw little from the electrical system. Finally, make sure the cooling system is working properly because hard winter usage will put it to the test.
On your snow plow, inspect the hydraulic system for leaks, weak hoses or cracked lines — they’ll give up on you when you least expect it. Ensure everything is tight and then flush the whole system with new fluid. Check electrical connections for corrosion and repair or replace as necessary. Stuff the connectors with dielectric grease to prevent corrosion. Check and tighten all fasteners, lubricate all moving parts, and repaint any bare metal. Inspect the wear bar and plow shoes for wear, and replace as necessary.
Snow Plow Wear Bar Tips
The snow plow blade, frame and hydraulics take the brunt of the physical force, but it’s the snow plow wear bar that is literally the cutting edge. It’s right out there, hitting rocks and curbs, grinding along the pavement and gravel, generally taking a beating all winter long. Usually made of tempered steel for durability and wear resistance, the snow plow wear bar is meant to be replaced, and snow plow wear bars have multiple lengths, depending on your application.
As to when you should replace the wear bar, it depends on the type of plowing you do, which determines how fast the wear bar wears down. If you have more than an inch of wear remaining, you might get through the season. If you have between 3/8″ and 1″ you can probably start the season, but definitely order a set of replacement wear bars and a full set of hardware before you start. If you have less than 3/8″ remaining at any point in the wear bar, replace it before you start plowing this year.
To replace the snow plow wear bar, most plows simply use carriage bolts, which make replacement easier than some weld-on wear bars. A ratchet should be all that’s required, but you might need a hammer and punch if the bolts won’t budge.
Before the snow truly starts to fly, let’s get our plow trucks and snow plows ready for the work ahead.
Check out all the snow plow parts
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Ben has been taking things apart since he was 5, and putting them back together again since he was 8. After dabbling in DIY repairs at home and on the farm, he found his calling in the CGCC Automobile Repair program. After he held his ASE CMAT for 10 years, Ben decided he needed a change. Now, he writes on automotive topics across the web and around the world, including new automotive technology, transportation legislation, emissions, fuel economy and auto repair.