Whether it’s for your own driveway or a slew of driveways, your snowplow truck needs regular, specific maintenance to keep going through the season. Aside from engine oil changes and regular inspections, trucks with snowplows require extra care in certain areas: The front suspension is susceptible to wear, the electrical system is under extra load and the snowplow has its own maintenance needs.
Here’s how to service your snowplow truck before, during and after winter.
Before hooking up the snowplow, inspect the truck and plow for warning signs. Resolve these problems before they become a liability in the snow:
- Electrical System: Check the battery and charging system for cranking power, reserve capacity and output under load. Check for and clean corrosion at battery terminals and plow connectors. Coat your battery terminals with dielectric grease to prevent water entry and future corrosion.
- Drive Belts: Check drive belts for tightness and wear. Replace worn belts and tighten to the owners manual’s specifications. Oil- or coolant-contaminated belts mean bigger problems. Fix leaks to prevent future problems with the belts or the engine.
- Engine Cooling: This is a good time for a cooling system flush and a system pressure test. Don’t forget to pressure-check the radiator cap. While thermostats don’t have a maintenance interval, changing them before abusing them all winter is a smart idea.
- Transmission: Check the transmission’s fluid level and condition. Some plow truck operators change automatic transmission fluid every 24 months or less. Be sure transmission cooler lines are free of kinks and aren’t leaking. Consider adding an auxiliary cooler if one isn’t already equipped.
- Suspension and Steering: Check the suspension and steering for loose parts, such as ball joints, tie-rod ends and control arm bushings. Check wheel bearings, too. A four-wheel alignment helps your tires last longer, but may need a recheck during the season.
Before, during and between snowstorms, snowplow maintenance should be at the top of your list. It’s an all-season project that could keep you from being sidelined:
- Snowplow Hydraulics: With the lift ram retracted, top off the hydraulic fluid. Check for leaks and wet spots on all hydraulic lines. Be wary of kinks and dampness at hydraulic fittings, which may fail under pressure. Consider an annual hydraulic system flush.
- Plow Cutting Edge: To prevent damage to the plow, replacement is critical at 3.5 inches for a 5-inch blade. Torque all cutting edge bolts, replacing any that are missing.
- Pivot Points and Pins: Apply chassis grease to all pivot points and slide pins. Some parts may not have a grease fitting, but you can use a standard high-pressure grease gun for those that do to prevent excess wear and corrosion.
- Springs: Check and adjust spring tension. Paint over rusted springs and hardware with several coats of rust-converter primer and paint to prevent premature failure.
- Hardware: Torque all hardware periodically, as they loosen during use. Extra nuts and bolts and a torque wrench are a great addition to your snowplow truck toolbox.
Keep up with maintenance year-round to ensure your snowplow truck keeps performing at its best this winter and is ready for next year’s first snowfall.
Check out all the service tools available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on snowplow trucks, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of pxhere.
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.