It’s that time of year again where the leaves are changing, there’s a bite in the air and in some areas, like the Quad Cities, we’ve already seen some flurries. This time of year also brings the need for qualified people to operate salt spreaders and snow plows. Whether it’s for personal or commercial purposes, you need the proper equipment, working properly with the proper know-how to keep you and others safe.
Maybe you’re a novice looking for all the information you can get or maybe a pro that could use a little refresher, either way, this might be helpful as you get ready for the snowy season. We’ll go through equipment, maintenance, and tips to make this as easy and breezy as making snow angels.
As a novice, you’re just starting out, almost any truck will do for salt spreaders and snow plows. Which is great because you don’t need the newest F450 or Denali with all the bells and whistles in order to get out there and make a little extra cash this season. As long as your truck has the proper FGAWR (Front Gross Axle Weight Rating) for the equipment you choose, you’re home free to start your new business. The FGAWR will tell you the max weight you can add to the front of your truck, based on that information, you can choose a snow plow that won’t exceed that limit.
Once you know that your truck is properly rated and you’ve picked your snow plow, you need to make sure you know what it is you’re working with. From the moldboard to plow markers, there are a lot of moving parts. When there are so many ways things can go wrong in an already dangerous situation, don’t you want to be as prepared as possible? Make sure to read up on the types of snow plows available under your FGAWR and understand the components.
For salt spreaders, there are all types – pull behinds, liquid sprayers, electric and gas spreaders etc. The same weight accommodations should be taken into account whether it be a front or rear loaded spreader. Make sure to evaluate what kind of salt spreading or snow plowing you want to do. Once you determine what areas you’ll be working, you’ll be able to determine what exact equipment you’ll need too. It may be a rock salt spreader for more traditional means or a liquid brine spreader that is more accurate for spraying (and makes moisture freeze below 32 degrees). It all depends on your needs and budget.
It’s easier to keep up with maintenance than it is to fix repairs on the road, or worse, not even make it to the road because your equipment is avoidably impaired. One of the easiest ways to avoid issues is to properly clean your snow plow before putting it away for the night, or the morning in most cases. When moisture and salt are involved corrosion is always a possibility. Water is usually all that’s needed for a quick spray down of your plow to get dirt, debris and salt off of it for proper storage. You’ll also want to make sure that your snow plow’s cutting edge is good enough to cut through the snow. Replacing your snow plow’s blade is recommended when its wear is approximately 4 inches. Tighten all fasteners, electrical components, and fluids before heading out on the road. If you’re not confident in making sure your plow is road-safe, take it to your trusted snow plow maintenance and repair shop.
It’s not much different for your salt spreader. Make sure to wash your salt spreader, being careful with electrical components. Check all wiring, belts, and grease all necessary components.
Newcomers may find more use in these tips but commercial snow plowers and salt spreaders could always use a refresher too.
Snow Plowing Tips:
Salt Spreading Tips:
As the season approaches and you start getting your equipment, and mental fortitude ready, keep in mind that it’s not just about the money and/or business growth winter plowing brings. This time is always about safety. If you’re not taking all the safety precautions necessary, you can’t make anyone else safe. Make sure to take all the above maintenance and tips into account when getting started.
Last but certainly not least, we do recommend that whenever possible, use newer plow equipment to avoid increased installation and/or maintenance costs.
As always, if you have any questions or need any help getting ready or staying on the road, we’re here to help, just contact us! Quad City Spring in Moline can help you with purchasing, installing and/or maintaining your snow plows and salt spreaders. We can also get almost any part you need if you’re a DIYer and able to take care of everything yourself.