How to Properly Put Your Snow Plow and Salt Spreader Away for the Season
When the flakes start falling, you need your truck-mounted snow and ice equipment to be ready go at a moment’s notice.
Downtime during a snowfall can mean lost time, revenue, and opportunities. We asked our Work Truck service team to offer their expertise on the best methods to properly prepare and store your snow plows and sanders in the off-season so you’re reliable and ready when the time comes.
“The nature of snow and ice equipment is you’re only using it seasonally, giving it plenty of time and opportunity to develop issues during the off-season,” explains product support manager Steve VanOene. “We see a few common issues when customers install the equipment on their trucks for the first time that year and start plowing or salting without thoroughly inspecting and maintaining key components.”
We asked Steve and our parts specialist Jeremy Huebert for their insights on the best ways to prepare your snow plow for use this winter, how to prepare and store your salt spreader, and the best way to store your snow plow this off-season.
What are some common issues you see when users are putting their snow plow away for the year?
The biggest issue we see in snow plows coming back in to service is corrosion in the electrical connections between the snowplow and truck. Ensuring electrical modules, connector pins, and casings are cleaned and clear of debris goes a long way in keeping the power connections secure and fully transmitting during operation.
What are some common mistakes you see users make when putting away their salt spreader for the year?
Salt materials are obviously corrosive so it’s incredibly important to properly clean out your sander after the last use each winter, ensuring it’s completely dry before you put it away for storage. We pay particular attention to any steel or moving parts that could seize if they developed corrosion. Bearings and the conveyor chain should be inspected closely and cleaned and greased carefully every time you put your salt spreader away for the season.
What are the potential results of a snow plow being put away improperly?
The main concern when putting your snow plow away improperly is corrosion on every electrical and steel surface. Electrical connections will not be as securely joined once corrosion has set it, so keeping plugs clean and dry after use and during storage is imperative to consistent, reliable operation when you need it. Keeping the power unit covered also helps to prevent water from getting into your hydraulic oil.
What are the potential results of a sander being put away without properly being prepped?
Same as with snow plows, connection issues are a top culprit when it comes to sanders and salt spreaders not working properly come snowy season. And of course, because of the corrosive nature of the salt material you’re spreading, we see the occasional unit with rust and corrosion in the conveyor chain and bearings. We carefully inspect and clean those moving surfaces especially closely when we’re preparing a sander for the end of its year.
What is the best way to remove my snow plow and salt spreader at the end of the plowing season?
Fisher snowplows use the Minute 2 Mount system, making it very easy to drop the plow, unhook it from your harness frame, then back out, leaving it ready for safe storage on the ground.
Depending on where you’re planning on storing your salt spreader for the season, you may want to use a forklift or crane to lift and place your sander. Many of our customers have their salt spreader mounted in a dump body with a hydraulic hoist, so they may engage the dumping deck to slowly slide the sander onto ground level.
Do you have any tips on how to store my snow plow and salt spreader during the off season?
Store both snow plow and sander in a clean and dry area, preferably under cover or indoors. Prevent tarping outdoors if you can or ensure moisture doesn’t have a chance to gather on the underside of the tarp during storage.
Fisher’s Polycaster salt spreaders are designed to be stored vertically when not in use, saving valuable storage space and ensuring any residual material is not resting against the mechanical components in the bottom of the hopper during the off season.
What are the most common wear parts that customers should consider pre-ordering or having on hand as spares during the busy season?
It’s never a bad idea to have the common wear parts on hand in time for the first snow fall of the season. For most users, this includes cutting edges and shoes for their snow plows, and bearings, belts, and spinner motors for salt spreaders. We do our very best to mitigate the potential for breakdowns during the busy season, Murphy’s law is such that it does happen on the rare occasion that modules and controllers go down during the middle of a storm. Some customers like to have a back up in case of an emergency.
What are some regular preventative maintenance practices you recommend before putting your snow and ice equipment away for the year?
We recommend an annual hydraulic fluid exchange for the snow plow, as well as a basic inspection of all hoses and fittings to ensure nothing is cracking or loose. Users should be sure to check for any damaged or bent pieces in their salt spreader and the vehicle-mounted harness, ensuring there is not excessive play at any pivot points.
What kind of pre-season services do we offer to ensure their snow ice equipment is ready to go at the first sign of flakes?
Our team is here to support your snow and ice gear and we’re happy to set you up for success at the start of the season. We perform a standard maintenance check and make adjustments as we go, including running the snow plow and sander, adjusting tensions, checking headlight operation, reviewing the harness for chafing and corrosion, greasing the hopper, and back dragging the trip springs to reset them before next season.
Don’t wait for the snow to start falling! Bring your snow and ice equipment to us in September for installation and a pre-season inspection. Contact Steve to book your pre-season appointment or Jeremy for parts requests.