Heavy equipment operator’s guide to winter and cold weather.

Work in the summer months can be challenging enough, and as winter approaches, the colder months can offer a completely new set of issues.

Here are a few problems that the cold weather could bring and how to prepare for them:

Undercarriages and Tyres

Cold air is particularly harmful towards tyres, for every 10 degrees of temperature drop, the tyre pressure will drop 1 psi. It is important to keep them within their recommended pressure to maintain traction, handling and durability. Low pressure can also effect fuel efficiency.

Regular checks should also be carried out to monitor wear as cracks can be caused by extremely low temperatures.

Undercarriage handles the cold better but if mud or snow builds up on the tracks without being cleaned, problems become much more likely.

Machine Operation

Like driving a car, operating heavy equipment in below zero temperatures can cause dangerous situations if the proper precautions are not followed.

Extra care should be taken whilst operating in these conditions in case of black ice which can cause the machine to slip. Objects can also become hidden by snow or frost causing collisions.

Operators should also take extra caution when entering or exiting the cab as steps, handles and grip plates may be iced and slippery.


In normal working temperatures, hoses can flex but in colder climates, hydraulic hoses can crack when flexing. Exposed and uninsulated electrical wiring can become brittle and break.

Avoid these issues by giving the machine plenty of time to warm up before putting it to work.

The Engine

Be sure that the oil used in your engine matches the outside temperature. Engine oil viscosity should be verified to make sure you are using the right one. Instead of waiting extra time for the oil to flow after the equipment has been turned on, you must use a low viscosity engine/hydraulic oil so it can flow faster. Be sure to change your oil before and after the winter season.


By following the above tips, you should become more prepared for the colder months. However, at Marubeni-Komatsu we also have some additional guides and support services:
Utilise KOMTRAX to receive machine faults early and before they become major problems
Read our Winter Excavator Tips here
If you experience any issues, contact your local depot and we can arrange for an engineer to visit, diagnose and repair if necessary
Always use Komatsu genuine parts. All parts are designed to match the high performance of Komatsu machinery, and to withstand pressures of the harshest conditions