Safe Skid Steer Operation During Freezing Weather

March 16, 2021 11:23 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Skid steers are essential pieces of equipment for many industries. Just like other pieces of heavy machinery, skid steers don’t love operating in freezing conditions. Work doesn’t stop for the weather, though, so you need to know how to keep your machine running even in the harshest of winter conditions. If you operate a skid steer in Texas, you need to know how to maintain safety in a skid steer on ice. Read on to learn everything you need to know about operating this handy piece of machinery when the weather gets cold.

How does cold weather affect a skid steer?

Freezing temperatures impact all types of heavy machinery, and a skid steer is no different. Cold weather and ice can have the following impacts (and more) on a skid steer:

  • Freezing temperatures affect the fluid levels of a skid steer. You need to have proper engine oil, engine coolant, hydraulic oil and fuel to operate in cold weather.
  • If you have a machine with tires instead of tracks, plunging temperatures can cause your tire pressure to plummet.
  • Cold weather makes the battery work much harder, leading to more frequent dead battery issues.

How can I safely operate my skid steer in below-freezing temperatures?

Compared to many other locations throughout the United States, ice isn’t usually an issue in Texas. However, when it does occur and you experience winter precipitation in Texas, be prepared and remember these skid steer safety tips for ice:

  • Keep your tires full: Low tire pressure directly affects your ability to operate your skid steer safely. Before you use your machine in freezing temperatures, check the tire pressure every time. Fill them up whenever needed and repair any leaks if you notice them.
  • Check the cab: You want to be comfortable in the cab of your skid steer as you’re working in cold temperatures. Check door and window seals and the defrosting systems before every use in cold weather.
  • Use a snow-specific track: If you have a tracked machine, use a snow-specific track when working in freezing temperatures. This is one of the best skid steer safety tips for ice, since the track provides maximum traction. It gives your machine a better grip, allowing you to maneuver it safely.
  • Perform routine maintenance: Keep yourself and your equipment safe during freezing weather by having a skilled technician perform routine cold-weather maintenance. Your technician will check the skid steer’s fluids, the battery and any attachments you may need to use. They’ll recommend repairs on an as-needed basis, allowing you to use your equipment even during the most extreme weather.
  • Check the battery: Your technician should check the battery before any winter weather is expected. They’ll perform a load test and check battery wires and connections for corrosion.

Although the weather in Texas doesn’t hit the freezing point too often, you need to be aware of how to maintain safety in a skid steer on ice when it does happen. The right precautions and maintenance can make the difference in safe operation during extreme weather conditions. Contact V-Bar Equipment Company to keep your skid steer maintained and ready for use in any type of weather.

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