Having the right tools for the job is important, especially when a snow storm hits. When you’re preparing your fleet for the next winter storm, you want to make sure your snow removal equipment lasts through multiple winters and fits the region, conditions and task at hand. I spoke to Tharen Peterson, Caterpillar Product Application Specialist, about the top things to consider before you buy a new snow removal attachment.
Some areas of the country, such as the East Coast, tend to experience wet and heavy snow, while areas like the West Coast and mountainous regions receive a drier, fluffier snow. Knowing which type you get most often will impact which snow removal attachment you buy.
If you are trying to clear deep snow (over a foot), a snow plow attachment won’t work very well because it’s difficult to get the snow rolling in order for the machine to actually carry it. In these cases, snow blower attachments are sometimes the only option. If you operate in a rural area in the mountains, for example, you might use a hydraulic snow blower to clear roads that can’t be plowed easily.
A big part of which snow removal attachment will work best comes down to application. For road or driveway clearing, a snow plow attachment or snow push is useful for stacking the snow on the side of the road or driveway. Even if you remove snow and ice in a more urban area where you can’t leave snow piles on the side of the road to melt, you can still use snow plows and pushes to move the snow to a melter or pile it for later removal.
Snow blower attachments also make good tools for removing snow and ice from parking lots, streets and driveways, and have the ability to cut up ice chunks that may be hiding in the snow thanks to their two-stage design. Hydraulic snow blowers throw the snow, and also have truck loading chutes to move material into a dump truck for removal, making them good attachments for urban snow removal as well.
You also need to decide whether you want to own or rent your snow removal attachments when you’re shopping. Both come with their own pros and cons.
Winter weather can be very unpredictable, so renting is often a good first step for snow and ice businesses, especially as you sign contracts for commercial work in the spring and summer and begin assessing how much equipment you’ll need. Renting does often come with hourly usage rates, so if there isn’t much snow or it doesn’t snow at all, you’ll still owe an out-of-pocket cost for your rental. However, some dealers might sell you the slightly used rental equipment for a discounted price at the end of the season.
If you purchase a snow removal attachment, there’s also the question of whether to buy new or used. If buying used from a fellow snow and ice business, for example, make sure to bring it to a dealer to have it assessed. Snow removal equipment can often look good on the outside, but have internal issues that can lead to big problems. Used equipment often does not come with a warranty, so decide whether a warranty is important to you before you buy.
When buying new equipment from a Cat® dealer, you have the added advantage of experts who can help you decide which attachment is best for your region and needs. Maintaining your snow removal attachments is also important, and the Cat dealer network can assist with finding the parts you need to keep your attachments in top shape.
Speaking of maintenance, it’s a good habit to start checking your machines and attachments at the end of every storm and during the off season to see if things like cutting edges and feet need replacing. Keeping your machines and attachments in good condition will help you be ready before the next storm hits.
Finding the equipment you need to remove snow and ice more efficiently can seem a little daunting, but if you keep these things in mind, you’ll get the right attachment you need to weather whatever winter throws your way.
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