Tips to Winterize Your Equipment
November 25, 2020
Written By Don North
If you leave your equipment in storage without proper winterization, you are asking for trouble. Just as extreme heat and humidity can damage equipment parts in the summer, sharp drops in temperature can take a toll on machinery. To protect your investment and ensure you’re ready to roll in warmer weather, you need to winterize your equipment before you store it away for the season.
Are You Ready for Winter?
Moisture is the most important factor affecting equipment operation and storage. If you fail to winterize your equipment properly, it may be damaged by rust and oxidation. Many MFA Oil products contain rust and oxidation (R&O) inhibitors. These additives protect equipment by increasing oxidation resistance, which extends the service and storage life of a fluid. MFA Oil recommends you consider the following 7 steps to get your equipment ready for winter storage:
Have your used oil analyzed.
Oil analysis is an easy and cost-effective way to detect upkeep issues before they become big, expensive repairs. Regular analysis can help you identify and address potential problems before they cause costly downtime. Additionally, analyzing your oil can help extend oil change intervals and get maximum life out of your equipment. The MFA Oil Laboratory is available to help you analyze used oil or fuel.
Change the oil.
Depending on the results of your oil analysis, you may need to replace your used engine oil, if it shows signs of contaminants. Even if the analysis comes back clean, putting in fresh engine oil with R&O inhibitors is a great way to maintain protection against corrosion and wear all winter long. If you intend to leave the equipment idle for the season, start and run the engine for three or four minutes to let the fresh oil flow through the system before shutting it down for the winter.
Check the drivetrain fluids.
If the fluids are low, top them off. If your maintenance program calls for it, you might need to change these fluids instead. Pre-winter may be a good time to consider servicing the drivetrain, if needed. An oil analysis can help you determine if your drivetrain needs servicing.
Test your coolant.
Most people are aware coolant prevents engines from overheating in the summer and freezing up during the winter, but it also plays an important role in preventing corrosion. Fall is the perfect time to check the protection level of engine’s anti-freeze/coolant. You can test your coolant on your own or send a sample to the MFA Oil Laboratory for more comprehensive analysis. For maximum protection against rust and corrosion, use an extended life coolant.
Grease moving and unpainted parts.
Unpainted metal parts, like hydraulic cylinder rods, and other moving parts need a fresh coat of grease to protect them from the elements. Consult your owner’s manual and lubricate as recommended.
Choose fuel with protective additives.
Most diesel fuel sold in the United States does not contain additives. This can leave critical fuel system components, such as supply pumps and fuel injectors, vulnerable to corrosion and part failure. MFA Oil’s BOSS Performance Diesel fuel contains advanced R&O additives to protect your equipment’s fueling system and your fuel tank.
Drain storage tanks and change fuel filters.
At least twice per year, bulk fuel storage tanks should be drained of the water that naturally collects on the bottom due to condensation. When left unchecked, water contamination will lead to rust and microbial growth. Regularly changing fuel filters is also important. Filters have a limited life span, depending on the volume of contaminants they are catching, and should be changed at least twice annually. New filters prevent sediment and other contaminants from building up inside fuel tanks on your equipment.
Taking the time to winterize your equipment and store it properly is a worthwhile investment. These valuable maintenance steps will help to ensure your equipment is ready to go when you need it again.