A bucket truck sometimes endures harsh elements during the winter season. Below zero temperatures and slippery roads are only a few of the challenges a bucket truck owner may face. Many of the problems bucket trucks can experience in the winter are associated with the chassis: the battery, engine oil, spark plugs, bad thermostats and door locks. Extra precaution should be taken when operating a bucket truck in cold climates during the winter, always following procedures in the operator’s manual.
Check these areas, to help avoid equipment trouble:
- Hydraulic Equipment – Hydraulic unit and bucket truck accessories that should be monitored during winter temperatures include: the unit’s hydraulic system, control panels, bearings, lines and fittings. Many units have electronic “over-stow” switches which can remain engaged when ice is present and prevent the boom from functioning properly. How water and a rubber mallet can help free up the switch and get the boom back in action. Insure proper maintenance and lubrication of your bucket truck to keep it in top condition for years to come.
- Tire Condition – Tires should be carefully monitored for any wear they may accrue during freezing temperatures. Traveling on tires with less than 3/32nd of tread is not recommended. If your truck is driven frequently in these conditions, replacing worn tires should be a priority. Snow chains are also useful for added stability on the road.
- Tire Pressure – Before taking a trip, tires need to be checked for proper inflation. Changes in temperature cause the tire pressure to increase and decrease. Check with your tire manufacturer to get the recommended operating pressure levels for the conditions in which you will be driving. Both under-inflated and over-inflated tires will affect handling ability and fuel efficiency.
- Windshield Wipers and Fluid – Clear visibility is very important during colder weather. Check wiper blades for damage and replace them with new blades if needed. Windshield washer fluid with de-icing capability is necessary and needs to be kept full. This will help increase your visibility when precipitation is falling as well as prevent the wipers from freezing during sub-zero weather.
- Vehicle Body – Ice, rocks and road salt can damage the exterior paint of the bucket truck which can lead to corrosion. A coat of “winter wax” can help preserve the paint. Wash the bucket truck frequently during the winter to remove any corrosive materials that can get stuck on the truck from roadways.
- Door Lock Lubrication – Locks can freeze during frigid temperatures. Lubricating the hood latch, door and any other locks is necessary to help prevent sticking. Apply lubricants to prevent ice forming and to keep the locks working freely.
- Batteries – Most batteries are rated to a certain sub-zero temperature. Know the temperature for which the battery is rated and be prepared to take additional precautions if traveling in temperatures below that limit. Make sure the battery is in proper working condition with clean, non-corroded terminals to protect against any starting problems.
If your equipment is showing it’s age, and you need to get into newer, more reliable items, consider our auctions as a source to buy directly from the owner. We offer a great way to buy a bucket truck. You can bid in person or online. Would you like some tips on buying at an auction? Download our Buyer’s Guide. Have questions? Contact us; we are glad to help answer your questions.