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Every season when you take your snowplow out of storage you should follow these guidelines to prepare your plow for the upcoming winter.

First off, you should be intimately familiar with every component of your snowplow; this will save you a lot of aggravation later. Read through your owner's manual thoroughly and educate yourself about the maintenance procedures and operational guidelines. The manual will also give you a list of parts and diagrams, tips for snowplowing, and a troubleshooting guide that will help you figure out any problems.

You should be prepared for potential problems that could occur when you're out plowing. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, tool kit, tow strap, flares, flashlight, fuses for your vehicle, jumper cables, ice scraper and deicer, a shovel and a bag of sand or salt. You should also always have warm clothes such as insulated boots and long underwear, a warm winter jacket, gloves, sunglasses and a cell phone.

You should also have an emergency parts kit for your snowplow that includes extra hydraulic fluid and hoses, a pump solenoid, extra cutting-edge bolts and a trip spring. Be sure to check your vehicle's tire pressure; also check the vehicle's engine belts for any cracks and for tightness. Check the vehicle's fluid levels and keep your gas tank filled. You'll also need to check the battery as wet conditions and salt from the roads can corrode the connections. Always keep in mind that subzero temperatures in the winter can really do a number on your vehicle so you have to pay attention to these maintenance items even more.

Having good visibility is vital so you want to be sure that your windshield washer fluid is full and wipers are in good working order. You also want to be sure that your defrosters are working correctly. Check your lights to be sure they are all in working order. You may want to consider adding a strobe light if you don't already have one. A flashing strobe light will make you more visible to others while you are on the job.

To improve traction, you'll need to add ballast to the rear of your vehicle. Each snowplow manufacturer publishes a ballast chart so be sure you take the time to counter balance your vehicle to improve your traction.

During the plowing season you should check your snowplow often. Be sure to examine bolts for tightness and make sure that none of the welds have cracks. You also want to be sure that the hydraulic hoses do not have leaks and make sure that your snowplow lights and turn signals are always working properly.

Make sure that you inspect the plows' cutting edge and the plow shoes. Not maintaining your plow and letting the cutting edge get over worn can result in costly repairs.

If you follow these guidelines when you take your plow out of storage this season, everything will run as smooth as the paths you will plow.
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