While it’s not a small investment, buying a snowplow affords you the luxury of easily clearing your personal property of snow, as well as potential business income, should you choose to go that route. But plowing with a personal vehicle comes with its own set of precautions to keep in mind.
Here are a few tips to help you transition between regular driving and plowing that will keep both your vehicle and your property in excellent shape.
Making a Connection
If you plan to go back and forth between normal driving and plowing on a regular basis, then you’ll need to shop for a plow that’s easy to install and disconnect. While there are mega-high-tech plows on the market, you might want to weigh their abilities against the complexity of installation.
Once you’ve made a decision, familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual and always follow it. Never become complacent in your familiarity, though, and always thoroughly double-check that everything is bolted, tightened and in good condition. Take each assembly or disassembly as an opportunity to inspect the components and connections, and check for possible leaks and proper functionality.
It’s a Winter Wonderland … of Obstacles
Safety should always be your top priority. Observing proper precautions and techniques will protect you, your investment and the people and things around you in dangerous driving conditions. Prioritize visibility (of and for yourself), take nothing for granted and proceed slowly and with caution, whether you’re plowing or just driving around. If the area you want to plow is some distance away, drive with the plow raised as high as possible without obscuring your vision or lights.
Check out the area before snow falls and identify hazards such as ditches, rocks, hydrants, curves in the road, etc. If possible, use neon markers to identify boundaries around the obstacles. Also, when you’re driving, keep the blade angled away from the curb, so it doesn’t accidentally catch. Read up on best plowing practices and use them.
Take better care of your vehicle than you normally would. Regularly monitor fluids, change your oil, check belts and tire pressure, and investigate anything unusual without delay. Use snow or all-weather tires, drive in a low gear while plowing and keep an eye on your engine temperature.
Before plowing, give your insurance company a call. Make sure your investment is properly covered, as well as your liability if something goes wrong — especially if you’re plowing someone else’s property. Using the plow for business purposes requires a whole other level of insurance that you don’t want to neglect. Do what you have to do to be sufficiently covered, because accidents happen.
Having a plow on your personal vehicle can be a real life-saver in a snowpocalypse, but know the extra responsibilities and precautions before you install one. It also doesn’t hurt to do a bit of research on local laws regarding snow removal and stacking, because you certainly don’t want to break them. With a little extra care and vigilance, you’ll be on your way to a winter of worry-free snow removal.
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Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe.
Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter. In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.