Think back to the last time you took your plow out for a day of hard work. Did it cut through the ice and snow? Did it leave those parking lots and driveways clean and clear in a single pass, or did you have to keep scraping away? Those multiple passes waste time and effort, but if you don’t get everything, you could end up with unhappy customers.
If you’ve been fighting your old plow more often than not, it could be time for a replacement. Here are four signs it’s time to replace your commercial snow plow blades:
- Snow is not being evenly removed.
- The plow feels like it’s skipping.
- Debris is sticking to the blades.
Snow removal can be a tough job, and having well-functioning blades is crucial for getting the job done effectively and efficiently.
Why, and When, Should You Replace Snow Plow Blades?
Snow plow blades should generally be replaced every five to ten years, depending on use and wear. Worn-out blades just can’t effectively remove snow and ice. This can lead to unsafe surface conditions in the winter, leaving you to make multiple passes and use extra de-icer material to make up for poor removal.
Figuring Out the Replacement Cycle
When it comes to wear and tear on your plow blade’s cutting edge and replacement frequency, there are a lot of factors to consider. One winter could be mild and dry, with the next dumping feet of snow and ice, which means some winters are tougher on your equipment than others.
Some key replacement cycle factors to consider include:
- The surface material being plowed or deiced. Some equipment is more efficient, and longer lasting, on certain pavement types.
- The amount of debris faced by your equipment. Plowing over gravel is a whole different story when compared to plowing over a new, smooth blacktop surface.
- The frequency and duration of use, as more frequent and longer use can cause cutting edges to wear down quicker. Hard winters mean more wear & tear.
- The maintenance and care of the cutting tool, as proper maintenance can extend the life of cutting edges. Having your plow and other snow and ice removal equipment serviced throughout the season can extend the life of your equipment by many years!
By keeping an eye on these factors, your business can better understand how frequently you’ll need to invest in new plow blades and other commercial snow removal equipment. This can help with budgeting and planning for service and replacement.
So when is it time for service or a replacement? Watch out for these 4 signs:
1. The Cutting Edge of Your Plow Blade is Wearing Down
The cutting edge on your snow plow blade can wear down over time. To understand how quickly this happens, six variables impact the material removal rate hat to and the rate of wear:
1. Contact pressure: The amount of force applied to the plow edge can affect how quickly it wears down.
2. Climate: Cold temperatures can harden the surface material, making it more difficult to remove, while warm temperatures can soften it.
3. Surface conditions: Rough surfaces can wear down the cutting edge more quickly than smooth surfaces.
4. Surface material: Different materials, such as gravel or pavement, can impact how quickly the cutting edge wears down. Uneven surfaces can be tougher on a blade, too.
5. Speed: Faster speeds can cause more friction and wear on the cutting edge.
6. Cutting edge material: The type of material used for the cutting edge can impact its longevity. Heat-treated steel is going to last a lot longer than carbon steel, for example.
What to look for:
A worn cutting edge can lead to less effective snow removal and potential damage to the plow itself. Here’s how you can spot the signs of a worn cutting edge:
- Look for cracks or splits in the cutting edge.
- Measure the thickness of the cutting edge – if it’s less than 50% of its original thickness, it’s time to replace it!
- Check for uneven wear along the length of the cutting edge.
- Look for signs of damage such as dents, chips, or bends.
- Inspect the mounting hardware for wear or damage.
It’s important to address any signs of wear as soon as possible to maintain the efficiency of your snow plow. Catching these signs of wear early, and getting service promptly, can mean your current plow blade stays in service longer.
2. There’s Always Snow Left Behind, Even After Multiple Passes
After a snowstorm hits, your clients are looking for your help to keep their business open. Their customers expect a clean, clear, safe parking lot free of ice and snow. A lot depends on the speed and quality of your snow removal services!
Sometimes, when snow removal equipment becomes worn, it can’t clear snow completely. This uneven removal leads to multiple passes over the surface, and residual snow can become unsafe ice. Before you know it, you’ve wasted an hour and your client still isn’t happy with the result.
Avoid uneven snow removal and keep those customers happy:
- Look for patches of snow that are higher or lower than the surrounding areas, and adjust your blade accordingly.
- Check for large chunks of snow or ice that have not been removed. This is a sign that your blade wasn’t making good contact.
- Notice if there are still slippery or icy spots on the surface after the plow has gone through. This is another sign that your blade may not have been making good contact.
If you can’t seem to get a clean scrape, your equipment is either old, damaged, or miscalibrated.
3. Your Plow Truck Feels Like It’s Skipping or Skidding
If your snow plow and blades feel like they are skipping, it’s time for service or replacement equipment. This skipping feeling can mean your blade is too damaged to do the job, and you risk causing damage to the surface you’re plowing. It’s also unsafe for the operator.
If your commercial snow plow feels like it’s skipping, check for signs of wear on the plow blades. This can look like nicks, gouges, or uneven edges. Next, evaluate the efficiency of the blade itself. Is it cutting through the snow and ice, or is it leaving a mess of ice and compacted snow?
If your plow blade is damaged or isn’t removing the wintry mess like it used to, it’s time for a service call or a new blade altogether. Regular maintenance and timely blade replacement can significantly improve the performance of your whole snow removal operation.
4. You Find Gravel, Rocks, Ice, and Other Debris Stuck to the Blade
After every run, take a few minutes to inspect the snow plow blades for any debris sticking to them. If you notice a significant amount of debris, it may be time to replace the blades. This will ensure that they can efficiently move the snow so that your team can avoid double work. Statistics show that well-maintained equipment can lead to 25% more productivity, saving time and earning money in the long run.
By staying on top of wear and tear, you can ensure that your equipment operates at its best and keeps your customers’ properties clear of snow and ice all winter long.
What to look for when shopping for a new plow blade
Once you’ve established that it’s time to kiss that old equipment goodbye, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a replacement. Here are some tips to help you choose the right one for your commercial snow removal needs:
- Consider the size and weight of the plow blade to make sure it is compatible with your vehicle.
- Look for a plow blade made from durable materials, such as heat-treated steel, to ensure it can withstand heavy use and tough snow conditions.
- Check the cutting edge of the plow blade to make sure it is sharp and in good condition for effective snow removal.
- Consider the angle adjustment capabilities of the plow blade to ensure you can easily change the angle to suit different snow removal situations.
- Make sure the mounting system is compatible with your vehicle for easy installation and removal.
- Consider the overall design and construction of the plow blade to ensure it is built to last and can handle the demands of commercial snow removal.
The average lifespan of a commercial plow blade is between 5 and 10 years. By following these tips and considering these factors, you can choose a plow blade that will meet your needs and help you efficiently remove snow for years to come.
Repair or Replace? Talk to an Expert
How do you know when it’s time to repair or replace your trusty snow plow, snow blower, or ice removal equipment? Here are some tips to help you make the right decision:
Signs that it’s time to schedule service for repairs:
- Your equipment is still relatively new. That means less than 5 years old.
- The repair costs are less than half the price of a new one.
- The issue is fairly minor and can be fixed quickly.
- The equipment has been well-maintained and serviced regularly.
For more severe issues, or for equipment that’s older than 10 years, you’re likely to save money by getting replacement equipment vs. repeatedly repairing your damaged or outdated fleet. In this situation, investing in new equipment can ultimately save you time and money in the long run.
There are costs and benefits to both options, and before making a decision, we encourage you to come talk to one of the professionals at Ty’s Outdoor Power. If it can be fixed, our state-of-the-art service center will get to work. If you truly need a replacement, our expert outdoor power staff will help you find a great deal on the right equipment for your client load and budget. Whether you’re ready to repair or it’s time to completely replace that old plow blade, Ty’s Outdoor Power has your back. Schedule service online or shop our wide range of top-quality commercial snow plow blades — ask us about financing options.