While salt is a snow and ice management professional’s greatest ally, it is also one of their worst enemies when it comes into contact with any metal parts on a salt spreader. Left unchecked, corrosion causes salting equipment to malfunction and fail – always at the worst time. Here are some tips to avoid and address spreader breakdowns.
- Clean the spreader out with a thorough washing, including the entire unit, spraying the chains and making sure the residue is completely washed out.
- After cleaning, thoroughly lube everything with a penetrating lubricant.
- Perform routine light maintenance during the winter months. Develop a checklist and devoting time to each spreader.
- Change the oil on gas-powered motors.
- Check hydraulic lines for connection issues and leaks.
- Bearings are highly vulnerable to salt corrosion. Therefore, inspect the salt spinner prior to snow events. Any wiggle in its movement could be signs of loose bearings and imminent failure. Otherwise, keep it properly greased and maintained.
- Have a mobile mechanic on duty during snow events who travel to client sites to troubleshoot mechanical problems on spreaders, and other equipment you have out in the field. At the very least, retain an on-call mechanic who can address in-event equipment issues.
- Never attempt to troubleshoot a spreader issue while the unit is running. Turn everything off prior to addressing any mechanical problems.