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At the end of the season, wash your spreader off with water. Photos: SnowEx

By Mark Hall

Proper spreader maintenance

Six simple but effective steps for protecting your investment.

If snow and ice control are part of your operation's repertoire, this was a banner year — with spreaders slinging material as fast as they could receive it. Now that winter's over, it's easy to forget that salter/sander while your attention turns to mowers, skidsteers, and other tools. But try not to. Give that winter-weather hero a bit of TLC by:

  • Reading the owner's manual. With all the spreaders on the market, don't take a cookie-cutter approach to maintenance. Break open that manual and reference the wealth of material within.
  • Cleaning the hopper. Some post-season practices, however, are universal. A thorough cleaning reveals worn or damaged components that require repair or replacement; touching up damage minimizes rust and corrosion.
  • Greasing all necessary components. All spreaders have moving parts and connectors that need to stay limber and receptive.
  • Adjusting belt, chain, and/or conveyor tension. Tension should be properly adjusted not only at the end of the season, but also throughout the service year to reduce slippage and performance problems. (Refer to the owner's manual before attempting any modifications.)
  • Cleaning the engine and changing hydraulic fluid. For electric or hydraulic spreaders: Clean the engine thoroughly, drain the fuel tank or provide an additive to keep gas fresh during storage, change the hydraulic fluid, check all hoses and fittings, and cap hydraulic connectors to prevent contamination during storage.
  • Putting it to bed. Cleaned, touched up, lubricated, and adjusted, the spreader is ready for storage. Pick a location that's dry and protected from the elements (and the sun). Store larger, V-box style spreaders tipped up on one end, preferably secured to a wall or solid structure.
  • — Mark Hall (mark.hall@trynexfactory. com) is director of marketing and sales for SnowEx in Warren, Mich.

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