ICW Group mySafetyNews.com
Printed from www.mysafetynews.com - Your Risk Management Resource
Home > Construction, Fleet, General, Winter Safety > Preparing your Equipment for Winter

Risk management blog

Preparing your Equipment for Winter

- December 15, 2016 by Dan Heinen, ASP (View all posts by Dan)

With the first snow storms starting to show up across the country, thoughts of winter preparation should become part of your maintenance processes—this will help reduce loss time due to equipment malfunction.  For this post, I’ll be sharing a few simple and relatively inexpensive things you can do or have done—depending on whether you perform your equipment service in-house, or have an outside vendor manage it, and your service team’s level of expertise.

Tune Up

Making sure the equipment is up to its optimal performance level can help it start and run smoother in harsh conditions. If it’s older equipment, new plugs, points, and condenser may be in order. Check spark plug wires and replace them if needed.


Most times all that is needed is to check the protection level. Make sure it is set for the most common type of weather you can expect to have. Anti-freeze raises the boiling point and lowers the freezing point of water and also provides corrosion protection. Not enough can allow the water to freeze potentially cracking the block and too much doesn’t allow the engine to cool properly.

Change the oil to a lower viscosity

Thinner oil flows better in colder weather allowing essential lubrication to reach the critical components faster thus reducing wear on equipment. Look into purchasing and having an oil or block heater installed. Several types of these are readily available for most types of engines both vehicular and on equipment. These vary from simple magnet type that you place on the oil pan or engine block, heated dipsticks or ones you install in a freeze plug. One thing they have in common is plug into a standard 120volt receptacle.


Check the condition and tread depth of the tires. 3/32 is the standard “replacement depth of tire treads. Easy way to check it is with a penny. If you can see all of Lincolns head when placed head down in the grooves of your tires, it’s time for new ones. This may not be as critical if the equipment is just on a jobsite and not moved much. Look for weather cracking, bulges or exposed cords. Any signs of those and new tires should be a must.

From a piece of equipment breaking down to an employee stranded at home or away from the office, these simple preventive steps can help minimize the potential of down time and production. Check out these other winter-themed posts.