When the mercury dips below the freezing point, everything slows down. But even though it’s cold, there are still active jobsites with equipment needing to be serviced. This means the right procedures and equipment, methods of managing oil and fluids during the colder months is even more crucial.
It all starts with temperature. Any oil change has to happen at the right time to be effective and prevent long-term engine damage. Temperature is what makes changing oil more difficult during the winter, and it is temperature to which you need to be most attentive to in the entire process, according to Sage Oil Vac CEO Aaron Sage. He recommends performing an oil change within minutes of engine shutdown after operating at normal temperatures.
“If you’re in the field in fall or winter, the best thing is to have the operator pull up to the oil change site and do the oil change within the next five minutes while the engine is warm,” he said. “You can’t go to a jobsite where the equipment’s been sitting for 10 days without doing anything, then do the oil change. It’s stone-cold and all the contaminants in that oil are settled on engine parts. Simply pulling the plug then is not going to yield a good oil change.”
Maintenance when the mercury dips
Cold-weather oil changes are a convergence of circumstances for Tom Fisher, product support manager for Plasterer Equipment Company, Inc. The 107-year-old John Deere construction, forestry and commercial equipment dealership with four locations around southeast Pennsylvania provides service to contractors around the region, where no one is a stranger to operating in winter conditions. The region is far enough from the Great Lakes to avoid treacherous conditions like lake-effect snowfall during the winter, but low temperatures from December through March commonly dip into the 20s, with daytime highs averaging from the mid 30s to upper 40s. At those temperatures, oil begins to flow slowly because of increased viscosity, something that can hinder jobsite equipment maintenance operations, Fisher said. Efficiently serving such a diverse customer base can become a challenge when winter weather conditions cause operations to slow down. The effort to overcome that challenge was the start for Plasterer to begin working with Sage Oil Vac.
Assembling the right system
Plasterer Equipment initially started with a truck cab and chassis, then added the Sage LubeBuilder™ system and constructed an enclosure box around the oil change equipment. The team was able to integrate the system into an existing service truck that could meet specific service goals efficiently and at a lower cost, even in cold, snowy winter conditions.
The main motivation of Plasterer Equipment to integrate a Sage system into mobile lubrication service was a combination of the ability to provide efficient, timely service — including in cold, snowy winter weather — without the undue higher operating costs associated with a larger service truck with capabilities beyond the company’s customer needs. “We’ve always offered preventative maintenance services and regular lubrication services to customers with regular service trucks. We discussed a new truck internally, did a lot of research and decided to go with a Sage system that could give us the lube service capabilities to perform all the routine preventative maintenance our customers need,” Fisher said.
According to Fisher, the company is in the process of building a second lube truck, with an ultimate goal of having four units, one providing mobile lube service from each of Plasterer’s four locations.
Read more about cold weather maintenance or Sage heated fluid tanks.