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Winter is coming: here’s what you need to do to get your material handling equipment ready for it

Rail King and Hyster outside in the snow
The extreme cold temperatures we get here in the Midwest can affect the working conditions of material handling equipment, especially if it is stored outside. How can you keep your equipment in top working condition and protect your investment?



To help avoid breakdowns and avoid severe issues, we recommend doing the following to get your fleet cold-weather ready:

Winterize the fuel

If you have a diesel engine, use a diesel anti-gel product to a prevent moisture from accruing in the fuel system. Diesel fuel always has moisture content in it so the fuel will freeze up and the machine will not run if gel does accrue. Refer to your owner’s manual or servicing dealer for the recommended additive.


Load test the starting batteries and replace them if they fail

Load testing results vary depending on the specific battery capacity. This is done by hooking up a testing machine to your battery to check the condition. Heavy equipment, especially equipment with diesel engines, are harder to start in the winter so it is even more important to have a good battery to ensure the machine will start – and avoid a service call.


Drain the water separators and filters to prevent ice build-up in your machine’s fuel system

Filters will be the first thing to freeze up, resulting in a costly service call.


Test the functionality and performance of the operator’s cab heaters

Cab heaters are not typically run during the summer months but will be important to keep the machine’s operator warm during the winter months.


Check coolant level, test for coolant leaks and the specific gravity of the coolant

The average coolant system should protect down to -35 degrees. If the coolant is not rated for cold temperatures, it could freeze and crack engine blocks or components.


Change to a lighter weight engine oil

If recommended by the manufacturer, change to a lighter weight engine oil for the cold season. Many manufacturers recommend this because lighter weight engine oils lubricate the motor better. Refer to your owner’s manual or servicing dealer for recommendations on your specific machine.


Engine heaters are highly recommended for our climate

Engine heaters are recommended here in the Midwest because they improve ease of starting by helping the engine warm up. There are different types of engine heaters available, including magnetic engine heaters and coolant heaters. If you have questions on which type is best for your specific equipment and use, our service team can provide recommendations for you.


The winter months can be one of the busiest times of the year for many organizations. Preparing your forklifts and other material handling equipment for winter can save you time and expense compared to the loss in productivity and costly repairs that freezing temperatures can cause.

We can help you with winterizing your equipment and we also offer preventative maintenance plans that this can be included in. Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our factory certified technicians to ensure your equipment is ready for winter.