If you live in the North, you may have already had your first taste of snow. Though it hasn’t accumulated yet, it’s probably a wake-up call for anyone who will have to deal with snow removal this winter. Have the first flakes brought a plow truck to the front of your mind?
You could just slap a plow on any truck with a frame — they make plows in all sizes and weights — and get out there and start plowing. But it’s better to begin in the opposite direction. Start with the job, which will determine what kind of plow you need. Then, you pick a truck that can handle the plow.
A Plow Truck With the Right Stuff
What’s the job? If you’re planning on plowing your own driveway, or maybe your mom’s or your neighbor’s, then you’ll need a light plow. If you have big parking lots to handle, then you’ll need a heavy plow and most likely a sander. If you have a mix of jobs, then you can probably get something in between.
What plow do you need? Light plows are made from plastic or lighter metals and are only 6 or 7 feet wide. Heavy plows are available up to 10 feet wide and can move a lot of snow. Of course, there are plows that range between, depending on the job at hand and the plow truck you plan on putting it on.
Finally, we get to the truck itself, which depends on what kind of plow you need for the job and your existing truck or budget. Finding the right balance is critical — a light plow on a heavy truck will waste time and a heavy plow on a light truck will cost you in repairs.
You can classify three truck types for snow plowing:
Light trucks and SUVs, such as Toyota Tacoma or older Chevy S-10 Blazer, are suitable for noncommercial plowing with light plows. Since these plows don’t weigh more than 300 pounds, they won’t weigh down the nose of your truck and make it hard to handle. You might consider putting an equal amount of traction sand in the rear to improve traction and level out your truck while the plow is mounted.
Midsize trucks up to 1/2 ton, such as the Ford F-150 or Ram 1500, are good for light commercial plowing with midsize plows, usually no more than 8 feet wide. These trucks can handle heavier plows with ease, between 300 and 600 pounds, and are exceptionally durable. If the truck hasn’t been outfitted with an adjustable suspension, it makes a great upgrade during plow season.
Larger 3/4 ton to Class 5 trucks include the Chevy Silverado 2500, Ram 3500, Ford F-350, Silverado 4500 or Ram 5500, among others, and can handle the biggest plows. Bigger commercial plows range between 8 and 10 feet in width and weigh 600 to 1,000 pounds, which means that only the bigger trucks can handle them safely and effectively.
One caveat if you’re planning on buying a 2015 Ford F-150, you’ll need to purchase a lot of traction sand or consider upping your game and mounting a sander. The new truck is nearly 800 pounds lighter than previous years, which reduces traction. Similarly, stay away from trucks with dual rear wheels, as the higher flotation also reduces traction.
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.