How to prepare your excavator for winter
Extreme low temperatures can have a significant impact on the peformance and maintenance of an excavator. Follow our tips to ensure maximum uptime and profitability from your machine during the cold months ahead.
- Switch to cold weather hydraulic and engine oils
Synthetic and multi-grade oil is usually sufficient for the range of temperatures experienced in most European countries throughout the year. However, if you are regularly operating in sub-zero temperatures, you may wish to consider using specific cold weather hydraulic and engine oils instead. This will ensure the optimum viscosity for performance even in snow and ice.
- Use a dedicated winter diesel
Similarly, consider using a dedicated winter or arctic diesel, which has a lower freezing point than standard diesel, as well as a better cold filter plugging point. It is also recommended to fill the fuel tank to more than 70% to mimimise any corrosive condensation.
- Increase the concentration of your coolant
The lower the temperature, the higher the recommended concentration of coolant. Down to -10ºC you can use a concentration of 40% but if you are working in temperatures as low as -50ºC, you should increase it to 50%.
- Test your batteries
Batteries can lose up to 50% of their strength in cold environments so if your battery is already weak, your excavator is unlikely to start. In preparation for the winter months, use a battery tester to check the voltage and watch for performance signals, such as a sluggish or slow engine turnover.
- Consider additional cold weather options
Volvo CE offers a range of cold weather options for excavators to improve performance, minimise maintenance and enhance operator comfort. These include engine block heaters to warm up the engine block before starting; diesel-powered coolant heaters to also help cold weather starting and warm the cab; water separators with heaters to help minimise wax build up in diesel fuel; and arctic rated hoses, developed to handle conditions down to -40ºC.
With a little bit of preparation and assistance from your local Volvo CE dealer, your excavator will be primed to keep on producing – and earning – throughout the winter months.