Winter Operator Tips for Your Heavy Equipment


You would think driving a piece of heavy machinery is the same every day, day-in and day-out. However, just like with your car, winter brings a whole new set of challenges when driving, such as less traction, snow to plow through, and ice. Plus, the weather causes mechanical parts to operate differently, which takes care in order to ensure your piece of heavy equipment still runs correctly and no damage is done.

Wagner Equipment Co is a Caterpillar dealer that offers heavy equipment for sale or for rent. We have Cat dealers in Colorado, New Mexico, and far west Texas. We offer heavy equipment services and Cat parts, as well as a whole host of services in order to help you keep your heavy equipment up and running. From power systems to fluid analysis, our team ensures your needs are met. In our last blog post, we discussed winter care tips for heavy equipment. Below, we discuss winter operator tips for heavy equipment. Contact one of our Caterpillar dealers near you today!


Safety Reminders

Around heavy equipment, safety is always a priority, and safety training is integral to your job site and business. However, when winter sets in, a whole new set of challenges arises, and it’s important to remind your operators of adhering to safety procedures. While the trees are bare and you can see more of the land, this does not necessarily mean visibility will be increased, especially with snow on the ground, which can blind operators. You’ll want to keep your job site cleaned up to prevent hazards being covered up by the snow so no one slips, trips, or falls. Wagner Equipment Co reminds you to always exercise extra caution in the winter months.

Dress for the Weather

In addition to your daily safety checks, you’ll want to remind heavy equipment operators of the proper attire for winter. Layers will help them to fend off the cold, and gloves will be essential to prevent frostbite. Insulated socks are a good idea. Clothes should be form-fitting so no loose garments catch on any control, and hats are recommended. Also, be aware of how having more clothing can affect your vision, hearing, and grip on controls. It’s important to stay warm during the winter months so dressing for the weather is super important.

Snow Operations

Driving and operating heavy equipment in the snow and on ice is a lot different than on dry ground. Additional training may be required, as well as additional equipment. The use of flashing lights and sirens can help everyone stay safe, from employees to pedestrians. Operating at slower than normal speeds may be appropriate as well during inclement weather. This allows for a longer reaction time and for less distance to stop on short notice. Wagner Equipment Co emphasizes that having good visibility is imperative, so make sure the windows are clear of frost and condensation and utilize the defroster if you have one.

Take Breaks

Just like the extreme heat can make you tired, so too can the cold. When exposed to extremely cold temperatures, your body draws a lot of your blood and fluids into your core where your major organs lie for protection. Your body also wants to conserve energy so it makes you tired and lethargic. It’s important to take breaks before you get tired. You’ll also use a lot more energy staying warm so it’s important to stay hydrated and eat enough food while operating heavy equipment. Water and sports drinks are great for when you need fluids; however, coffee and alcohol can dehydrate you. That being said, having warm drinks, such as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate as well as healthy snacks, will help keep you on your toes during the winter months. You’ll feel a lot better too and have the energy you need to be alert while working.

Don’t Touch Metal

We all have seen A Christmas Story where the boy touches his tongue to a metal flagpole. While most of us laughed, this is what happens. It’s surprisingly easy to do while out on a job site in the middle of winter because you’re just not thinking about it. You reach out your bare hand to touch or grab something, which can instantly cause injury to your skin. Always wear gloves when you’re operating heavy equipment in the winter.

Add in Light

During the winter, natural daylight is severely reduced with short mornings and nights. Plus, the sun will come up later, making twilight longer as well. Oftentimes, especially if you have to snow plow before you can get to work, you will be working in the dark. While most heavy equipment has headlights, that may not be enough. You can install extra lights on your machinery, or if you are on a job set, install gensets to power up portable lighting. Wagner Equipment Co, a Cat parts dealer, offers power system solutions for your job site during the long winter months.


Wagner Equipment Co offers the best heavy equipment rentals and purchases in Colorado, New Mexico, and far west Texas. For over 40 years, we’ve been a Cat dealer helping you with your construction projects, forestry and mining operations, and agricultural needs. By investing in Cat equipment, you will be investing in your small business, adding functionality and time savings to your operations, which will save you big money in the long run. You’d be amazed how adding just one piece of our versatile Cat equipment can impact your bottom line.

Wagner Equipment Co offers a whole array of services to help you with your new or used heavy equipment. We offer top-tier Cat service, including having over 230 field service technicians who can come out to your location and service your equipment. Factory-trained, our field service techs are experts at troubleshooting and diagnosing your Cat machine. From our Cat Parts Store, we have what you need to repair your Cat equipment and have it up and running again in no time. Our service is quick, and our technicians are efficient, ensuring minimal downtime to your operations. If you are in need of a short-term heavy equipment rental while your Cat machine is being repaired, we’ve got that covered, too.

Wagner Parts Exchange will exchange your old part for a refurbished part, which saves you time while waiting on new parts to arrive. You can exchange your hydraulic cylinder and pump, engine, torque converter, transmission, and more. This allows our field service technicians to be able to not only finish your heavy equipment repair quickly, but it also is convenient and cost-effective for you. If you want to take your service to the next level, Wagner Training Institute offers service training on our Cat equipment. You can train your employees on how a Cat machine works, which will help them be more productive, safer, more motivated, and more efficient while on the job site. You can learn about service, operation, the engine, safely, and other technical parts to your Cat equipment. This is a great way to help keep your heavy equipment up and running and avoid costly downtimes.

If you want to maximize your Cat machine’s performance and reliability, we suggest you invest in our Cat fluids analysis. Here, we’ll analyze your Cat machine’s oil and other fluids, such as hydraulic fluids, transmission fluid, and drive fluids. You’ll learn the internal condition of these crucial components to your heavy equipment. In addition, you’ll decrease the risk of catastrophic failure, improve your components and machine life, reduce downtime and costs, and extend the life of your heavy equipment.

Our Cat machinery runs the gamut of offerings. From agriculture to construction, demolition, forestry, mining, road building and repair to oil and gas and recycling centers, our Cat equipment can do any heavy job that you need, including hauling junk in our on-highway trucks and trailers. If you need a farm implement, Wagner Equipment Co has it, from combine headers and harvester to hay equipment and tillage equipment. Our Ag equipment has been going strong for almost a century. Built to last decades with proper care, we’ve added technology to your farming solution as well.

Wagner Equipment Co is conveniently located near you. Stop by one of our Cat heavy equipment dealers in Colorado, New Mexico, or far west Texas to learn more, find out about heavy equipment financing, or get started today!