Snow Plow Hydraulic Lift System Inspection Checklist
Proper snow plow hydraulic maintenance is an important part of running a successful snow removal business. Knowing how to inspect and replace the hose assemblies in your snow plow hydraulic lift system before will save you the headache of finding out your snow plow is out of order when you need it most. Ultimately, your plow needs to work when the snow is falling if you want to make money. Here is our inspection checklist for your snow plow’s hydraulic system.
Check hose for wear and tear
Look for signs of plow hose abrasion and erosion. VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you de-pressurize the hoses before you start your inspection or else you could risk serious injury. Over time, wear and tear on hydraulic hoses can cause a small hydraulic fluid leak. If you ignore it for long enough, eventually the leak will lead to hose failure. Your plow’s lift system won’t work at this point, so you’ll need to replace the hose before you can use the plow again. Erosion of the hose inner tube happens with age, and particle contamination and temperature changes accelerate erosion. The hose cover will protect it against abrasion but excessive rubbing against another object will wear away the cover and expose the reinforcement wire layers (not good). If you are replacing hose frequently due to abrasion, look at your hose routing and make sure the hose isn’t rubbing up against something. If that checks out, ask your Parker Store technician about hose sleeves or Tough Cover (TC) hose.
Check fittings for damage, rust and leaks
Inspect for rust and leaking hydraulic fluid on and around your snow plow hose couplings. Road salt treatments corrode the fittings at a faster rate than just moisture alone, so red rust is not uncommon. As corrosion worsens, leaks at the fitting could happen so replace the fittings at the first signs of rust. Hydraulic fluid is toxic and poses a major environmental hazard, so take care of leaks immediately. Parker Pioneer quick couplers are plated with clear chromate, which helps them to resist rust, and the seal prevents hydraulic fluid from seeping when the coupling is disconnected. Pioneer 1/4″ quick coupler assemblies available in all of The Hope Group’s Parker Stores.
Flush and change out hydraulic fluid
Before the start of every season, you should flush and replace your plow’s hydraulic fluid. Check hydraulic fluid levels throughout the season. Small leaks can be hard to detect, so excessive fluid consumption could be your first hint that there’s a leak somewhere.
Choose the right type of hydraulic fluid
Using the wrong type of hydraulic fluid may seem like no big deal. Running an incompatible fluid through your hydraulic lines could cause the inner tube of the hose to deteriorate them to fail. Hydraulic fluid viscosity and chemistry varies, so using a high quality fluid meant to withstand low temperatures is key.
Build or re-stock an emergency kit (and keep it with you)
Even with proper maintenance, it doesn’t hurt to prepare for the unexpected and keep an emergency kit with extra hose, couplers, and hydraulic fluid. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.