Eight steps to prep your plow for the season

With many areas of the country still experiencing warm fall weather, it might seem like snow is a long way off. However, freak snowstorms are a possibility in some areas as early as October.
Making sure your plow is ready for the upcoming season is essential. Save yourself headaches down the road by performing the work early in warmer weather, when the systems are easier to inspect, and you will be ready to go in a moment’s notice should a freak snowstorm occur. Discovering a malfunction while you’re on the job could mean the difference between building client trust and losing an account altogether.
That being said, preseason plow maintenance is relatively easy. Whether you have a straight or V-shaped plow, the steps are basically the same.
1. Start by checking your trip springs. Tighten the top locknut four complete rotations beyond the point where the coils begin to separate. You should be able to slide a piece of paper between the coils. Then tighten the bottom locknuts to make sure they work properly when the moldboard experiences tripping action.
2. Next, take a look at your cutting edge for wear and tear. This is often neglected or put off at the end of a plowing season. If it’s worn at either corner by more than four inches on a straight plow or by more than two inches on a V-shaped plow, it needs to be replaced. Not doing this can result in serious damage to your moldboard.
3. Check your mounting bolts to see if they are tight, but recheck them after your first job of the season. This is something you should do periodically throughout the season as well.
4. Make sure your lift piston is fully retracted and check your hydraulic fluid level with either a drinking straw or clean stick. Your owner’s manual will tell you the correct level. If the fluid is dirty, change it. This is something that should be done at least once a year but is often neglected. Make sure you use only fluid that is specified by the manufacturer.
5. Check all your hoses, couplers and rams for damage, rust or leaks. You don’t want to be out on a job and lose oil pressure and power angling. Rust or leaks around the rams could allow water into the system, which would compromise the hydraulics and cause freeze ups. Make sure you use only replacement parts that are specified by your manufacturer.
6. To make it all work smoothly, grease the pivot and cotter pins.
7. The next step involves your vehicle rather than the plow, but is just as important as the other preventive maintenance steps. Make sure your electrical system is up to spec for the plow being used. If you’re operating a Meyer plow, for example, your system should consist of at least a 70-amp/hr battery and a 60-amp alternator.
8. Check the battery and have it serviced before the season begins. Throughout the season, check your battery terminals to make sure they’re clean and free of corrosion. Applying dielectric grease to all connections always helps.
When the snow flies, you have to be ready. Taking these steps before the plowing season begins will help you protect the investment you have made in your equipment. It will also give you peace of mind, knowing work stoppages will be kept at a minimum during the season.
If you own a Meyer plow, click on this handy downloadable checklist that will help you get ready. If you have further questions on either plow maintenance or operation, contact your local Meyer Products autorized dealer.
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