The demand for telehandler operation doesn't stop when the cold weather starts. Because cold weather can present added challenges and stress on equipment, it is important for telehandler owners and operators to take extra steps to prepare their machines for winter use. It can be difficult to stay on top of the added maintenance items to ensure safe and efficient winter operation. We have compiled the following tips to help you prepare your telehandler(s) for a busy and successful winter season.
Telehandler Winter Weather Preparation Tips:
1. Refer to the operations and maintenance manual (OMM) provided with the delivery of your telehandler. The pre-operational checklists within the manuals are important to review before operating the machine at any time of year. A thorough review of the structural parts, pins, joints, hoses, wires and their respective connections could reveal wear and tear that should be addressed before operation, regardless of weather. This becomes even more critical when temperatures drop and machine components become harder, more brittle, and less flexible.
2. Be sure to fill the diesel and DEF tank at the end of each day, draining the fuel water separator before each fill.
3. Check lubrication points regularly – including axles, pins, chains and the boom. Be sure to use manufacturer-specified grease and maintain adequate grease on each point to ensure proper component protection, temperature and performance.
4. Be sure the engine battery is fully charged and meets machine specifications. During cold the engine may require twice as many cold cranking amps (CCA) to start.
5. Test the heater and defroster in the operator cab prior to the arrival of cold weather in order to fix any issues before conditions are already harsh and freezing.
6. If you can, store the machine indoors throughout the colder months to facilitate the engine ignition and machine warm-up process.
7. Start and exercisethe machine every 30 days for 30 minutes a session, at a minimum. Using the operational checks detailed in the OMM as a guide and ensuring full actuation and rotation of components will help keep your telehandler’s engine and moving components well-lubricated for when it is needed.
While these tips provide a general overview of machine maintenance steps throughout the winter, telehandler care can vary greatly based on application, climate and many other factors. For instance, some telehandler manufacturers produce specialized fluids and components to enable proper functioning in Arctic or sub-zero environments. If you are operating in these especially harsh conditions, it is also a good idea to talk to your equipment dealer about added machine features to assist in machine warm-up, such as heavy duty batteries, battery warmers, engine oil pans and hydraulic tanks.
Preparing your telehandler for cold weather operation is critical to ensure machine longevity and optimal performance. To learn more about winter weather machine maintenance and/or telehandler specifications, contact your local Cat® dealer or visit us online.
We’d like to hear about your approach to telehandler and/or general equipment use in cold weather.
What maintenance tasks do you add to your winter routine?
What preventative measures do you take to protect your battery and other machine components that are particularly affected by cold weather?
What other practices have you found helpful to optimize machine performance in cold or harsh weather conditions?
What tasks do you use your telehandler for during the winter?
Has your equipment ever been damaged during winter months? What caused the damage and how have you prevented it from happening again?
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