By: Tom McIntyre

When it comes to winterizing your heavy machinery, you have to do a lot more than just doing a quick inspection. From track wear bars to grouser bars, there are plenty of factors you should know about for proper machine winterizing.

You already learned about the importance of installing quality ice lugs and tire chains on your machines for enhanced winter use, but now it’s time to take a deeper look at what you should actually do while operating your machine during the winter.

When driving a piece of heavy equipment on snow- or ice-covered surfaces, in addition to having the right type of traction, you need to know exactly how to safely maneuver the machine itself. Driving these machines during the winter is completely different than operating on dry road surfaces.

Drive much slower to avoid sliding

Any machine operators in your employment should avoid driving at high speeds when the surface conditions are anything less than perfectly dry. When icy or snowy, no matter how large or well-equipped a piece of machinery is, if it’s moving too fast it will slide out of control. If the vehicle does begin to slide, however, there are a few things that you can do to remain safe and keep the machine grounded:

  1. Avoid hard braking— Slamming the brakes will often result in the tracks and wheels locking, which can lead to a loss of traction. Instead, gently pump the brakes a few times to slow down.
  2. Turn the front wheels towards the slide— With wheeled equipment, remember that turning the wheels in the direction of the slide will help straighten the vehicle before tumbling.
  3. Avoid oversteering — If you turn the wheel too far, however, you could end up bringing the vehicle’s rear too far in the opposite direction and result in a fall.

Make sure your track wear bars are just right

The tightness of your track wear bars is extremely important for proper winter use. Tracks that are too tight can actually wear up to three times faster than properly adjusted tracks, and that wear and tear can lead to serious structural problems with your machines.

In addition to properly winterizing your heavy machinery, make sure you and everyone who comes in contact with these pieces of equipment knows how to effectively maneuver vehicles in winter conditions. If you need track wear bars or ice lugs for your heavy equipment, then contact 4NCorp today to learn more.