We all dread snow removal. You could shovel or tune up the old snowblower when the white stuff starts to fall, but if your driveway is long, you may consider buying a plow to finish it in a matter of minutes rather than hours.
Like any DIY project, knowing what you’re getting into beforehand can save you a lot of headaches later on. Here’s a look at what to consider if you’re ready to start plowing this winter.
You’ll likely have your plow installed at a service center, but there’s a lot to know about it before you head out. Get familiar with the owner’s manual. Keep a fire extinguisher, tool kit, tow strap, flashlight, first aid kit and some other winter goodies like a shovel, salt, lock deicer and extra washer fluid in your truck. You never know what could happen once you start plowing.
Along with basic snow emergency items, keep a few plow parts in your truck. Extra hydraulic fluid, hoses and cutting edge bolts are handy since the parts take the brunt of abuse when you plow. Also, pick up a spare pump solenoid and trip spring to reduce downtime if your plow suffers a mid-storm breakdown.
Up to the Task
Once your plow is installed, make sure your truck is up to the job. Check the tire pressure — many plow manufacturers recommend a higher tire pressure for plowing. Inspect the engine belts, hoses and fluid levels, especially washer fluid, and make sure your battery terminals are free of corrosion. Be sure your headlights and taillights are in proper working order. You can install strobe and back up lights to increase your visibility and make it easier for others to see you on the road.
Be sure to follow all state and federal plowing laws, such as front-to-rear weight distribution or ballast weight regulations. Check with your town’s highway department regarding the placement of snow near or across the road. Take your neighbors into consideration by not piling the snow in front of their driveway or front yard. Lastly, use reflectors to mark your driveway — so you know where the edge is — in addition to anything you want to avoid, like rocks or mailboxes.
Packing safety items and a few parts for repairs will ensure you have everything you need. Familiarizing yourself with your owner’s manual, laws and common courtesy for your neighbors will make for a great plowing experience. Now, you’re ready to plow!
Check out all the snow plow parts
Image courtesy of Flickr.
Erich Reichert has been an editor and on-air personality in the radio control car hobby for 12 years. A certified car nut since birth, he has written for internationally published titles such as RC Car Action, RC Driver and Xtreme RC Cars, as well as Stuff Magazine, Road and Track and Super Street. He's covered everything from product reviews and tech articles to high-profile lifestyle pieces and celebrity interviews. Erich found his passion for writing after a successful career as an art director, working with brands such as Pepsico, NASCAR, MTV, Nintendo, WWE, Cannondale Bicycles and HBO. He's also a father, an avid hockey fan and an FIA race license holder who enjoys hiking, playing drums and movies.