When winter rolls around and it comes time to salt, hopefully you’ll have your salt spreader already prepared for the season. Although salt spreaders are for winter use, they should be maintained year-round in order to keep them functioning correctly. You should prepare your spreader for the upcoming winter in the late fall. When retiring the spreader after the winter season, you should prepare it for storage so it can be ready when it comes time to use it again. If you’re looking into owning a salt spreader for yourself, there are four types that you can purchase: a walk-behind spreader, a tailgate spreader, under-tailgate spreader, or a hopper salt spreader. The price significantly varies between the walk-behind and other spreaders, along with the maintenance and upkeep. [Click to view our salt spreaders.]
Walk-Behind Salt Spreader
Walk-behind spreaders are exactly what you’d think—you walk behind them. They are very simplistic and easy to maintain; they are much more basic and smaller versus larger tailgate, under-tailgate or hopper salt spreaders. But with any salt spreader, whether it’s a walk-behind or tailgate, a good visual inspection should be the first step in ensuring its functionality. If there is any obvious damage to an essential part, that should be fixed right away. Cosmetic damage isn’t necessarily as important, unless the hopper is becoming corroded (due to improper cleaning, salt build up, old age, etc.), which can cause your hopper to develop holes. Wash your walk-behind spreader with water and dry before the season even starts. Continue to wash and dry during the season every so often to ensure that your will not have any buildup of salt—buildup of salt can cause major damage, and eventually make your spreader unusable. Cleaning is very important at all stages of the maintenance process, and is especially important if you also use your salt spreader for fertilizer. After the spreader is cleaned, make sure all the moving parts move the way they are supposed to. Moving parts should be cleaned and greased from time to time. There are no electric parts on a walk behind spreader so you don’t need to worry about damaging any wiring or electrical connections during maintenance. As long as you take the proper steps to keep it functioning well, you should have no problems with this type of spreader.
Tailgate, Under-Tailgate and Hopper Salt Spreaders
If you do heavy-duty salt spreading, these spreaders are your best friend in the wintertime. A tailgate spreader gets mounted on to the bed of a truck and plugged into its electrical system. An under-tailgate spreader is mounted underneath the tailgate of a dump body truck and is either powered with hydraulic fluid or electricity. Hopper salt spreaders are mounted into the bed of a truck and hooked into the vehicle’s electrical system. When mounting or removing any kind of spreader, be cautious not to damage your vehicle. Make sure all the harnesses are secure before taking it anywhere. Like the walk-behind spreader, a visual inspection should be made, moving parts should be greased, and a regular cleaning with water should be done. The same precautions you would take for the walk-behind spreader should be taken with these types of spreader, but because these spreaders are much more complex, you must handle it with more caution and importance. Between uses, the salt should be cleaned out so it doesn’t fuse together and cause issues for the next use. Make sure all electrical connections are out of the way of any salt, snow, water, or any substance that could damage the connections. Check all the tensions of belts, chains, and conveyors before, and multiple times throughout the season—be careful not to over-tighten! When storing the spreader, use dielectric grease on all the electrical connections to help prevent corrosion damage. Every spreader is different, so refer to the operating manual for specific details on further maintenance.
The winter season can be rough, but if you do the proper maintenance, you’ll be ready for it!