Half-Ton Truck Snow Plow

Your Truck As The Snow Plow Power Supply

If you have been in the Snow & Ice Control business for any length of time, you have heard the words “your batteries are bad.” This phrase is even a headache for the equipment manufacturer because by the time someone diagnosed the battery problem, you were likely having equipment problems. It may have been the plow is moving slowly, working intermittently, or not lifting very well or it could be a spreader jam or the spreader just stops working completely.

­These problems can happen even if the batteries are good but your charging system is not large enough to keep up with all of the power requirements.  Your truck needs to run your snow and ice equipment, along with laptops, cell phones, heaters, wipers, radio etc. etc. You get the picture.

A charge too small for your power needs will cause a drop in voltage and when you are in a low voltage condition the plow may operate irregularly.  You may think that a coil or valve is bad when in fact the coils do not have enough power to position the valve properly.  Yet the common response is “this plow is broken” and we take it in to the shop.

We stop what we are doing and drive to the shop or dealer only to find out that when we get there the plow works fine; no problems we are told.  We go back out to get the job done and the problems come back, but this time we go back and demand something is done and most of the time the dealer will replace a coil or a solenoid and send us back out.

What is really going on is when we drive back and forth to the dealer our charging system catches up and the plow now has enough power to work again!

What can you do to stop a poor power supply from interrupting you snow removal?  Here are some things that we can do to help minimize this problem.

We can make sure that all of the connections to and from the battery are kept tight and cleaned as well as the power connections on the accessories.  If there are poor connections, you will create resistance in the power and/or ground circuit and this will cause a greater voltage drop to the accessories.

The worse the connections, the more power your equipment will use, the more power it consumes, the more demand will be on your battery.  I think you see the problem here.  By keeping your connection and your equipment in top shape, it will help conserve power consumption.

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You also need to make sure your truck can handle the job.  You can’t expect an undersized battery to hold up and even some factory installed alternators will disappoint you during peak usage of your plow.

The best answer is to use dual batteries and a heavy-duty, high-output alternator to maximize the power output from your truck.  It is best to use dual batteries to keep the demand on each batter more reasonable preventing premature battery failure.  Dual batteries may actually even save you money in the long run because an overworked battery will have a short life.

Check your alternator output to, and ensure it can keep up with the demands of the equipment you are running.  Be sure to include ALL of the equipment: plow, spreader, radio, phone, GPS, laptop, and everything else you will have going while tackling a big snow fall.  If you are not sure how to figure out what your power needs are, that is what your local dealer is for, feel free to consult with them about the poor supply equipment you need to stay in the field.

So keep an eye on your equipment so you can keep it working.  Just like the old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so don’t waste time, but ensure your truck is set for some great snow plowing this year.

Keep plowing.

Sno-Way Revolution Sno-Plow - How to prepare your snow plow for storage.

How to Store a Snow Plow in About an Hour or Less

A snow plow is an expensive investment and like any other piece of equipment that is used for only part of the year, your plow should be stored properly to keep the equipment in its best condition. It takes very little time to prepare a snow plow for storage and it not only keeps the plow looking good, properly storing your snow plow could also prevent costly repairs down the road. Most experienced people can prepare their plow for storage in less than an hour.  If this is your first time or your snow plow is really dirty, it may take a little longer.

You can watch our video or keep reading below for the information you need to properly store your snow plow.

1. Clean the Snow Plow

Remove any dirt and debris from the plow. Salt, sand, and dirt on your plow will encourage corrosion, so to keep you plow in good condition for the long term, clean it with warm soapy water (regular dish soap works fine) and a water rinse. We do NOT recommend use of a high pressure power sprayer and do NOT run your plow through an automatic car wash. Be careful to avoid getting any electrical connections excessively wet while cleaning your plow.

2. Look Over the Snow Plow for Damage.

Look for hydraulic fluid that appears after washing the plow to discover any hydraulic leaks. Do a visual inspection of all hydraulic lines and wiring for kinks, scrapes, bulges, or anything abnormal that shows damage to the plow. Complete a visual inspection of the frame for cracks, bowing, or buckles. Be sure to also check for scratches or holes in your headlight lenses. Now is the time to find and fix any damage rather than letting your snow plow get worse while it sits in storage. For severe damage, make plans to replace your plow next season.

3. Disconnect the Snow Plow

Park the plow where you can store it. If you have the ability to move a pallet, we recommend you put your snow plow on a pallet so you can easily move and store your plow. Follow the directions that came with your plow to disconnect your unit.  We recommend parking your plow indoors or on concrete or asphalt.

4. Protect the Electrical Connections.

Put dielectric grease on all electrical connectors (connectors on the truck AND on the plow) to prevent corrosion. Put all necessary caps on or plug together any necessary electrical connections. You can find dielectric grease at most automotive parts stores, most big box stores with an automotive department (like Walmart), or online.

5. Remove Rust

All plows work in harsh environments that will create scratches and chips on the finish of your plow. To keep your plow looking cosmetically appealing, remove the rust with a wire brush then cover the affected areas with 2-3 layers of factory formulated touch up paint for the best protection and for a color that will match what is on your plow.

6. Grease the Plow

Use lithium grease spray to protect and lubricate every movable part on the plow including all joints, pins, and hinges. We recommend a spray on lithium grease like you can find in most automotive stores or automotive departments.

Use Lithium grease on the cylinders too (non-painted side) to protect them from the elements.

Should I change the Hydraulic Fluid? There are different opinions in the industry, but we like to change our hydraulic fluid at the start of a new season so we know we have fresh oil in the snow plow. If you suspect a hydraulic leak, however, it is a good idea to both fix the leak and change the fluid to ensure no corrosion promoting moisture is sitting in your snow plow.

7. Remove Spring Tension

Relieving spring tension will give the springs a longer life. Release the spring tension so that the coils touch one another, but not so much the springs hang loosely on the plow. Remember to reset spring tension in the fall so that there is just enough room to slip a business card between coils.

8. Move Your Snow Plow to a Summer Storage Location.

Just keeping your plow out of sight (out of sight/out of mind) goes a long way to keep your snow plow safe from theft or vandalism. You may choose to put a chain and padlock on your plow to also deter against theft. We assume you have already recorded the serial numbers of all your equipment, but to be on the safe side, just before you put the snow plow away is a good time to write down the serial numbers of the equipment you own.

Inside storage in a dry location is the best option for storing your plow. If you need to store your plow outside, park the plow on concrete, asphalt, or gravel, not over grass or dirt (grass and dirt will keep moisture by your snow plow). If you store your plow outside, put a tarp over the plow to protect it from the sun and the rain. The tarp should be attached tightly enough that it does not come off, but there should be room for air movement to ensure there is not a build up of condensation or moisture inside the tarp on your plow.

9.Write on the Calendar When You Need to Get the Snow Plow Out of Storage.

Most people wait until snow is in the forecast to get the plow out of storage. If you plan ahead, you will be ahead of the game and under a lot less stress by having your snow plow ready to go well in advance of the first snow fall.