American Crane & TRactor Parts Blog

Making The Most Out Of Winter Downtime And Your Components


Winter can be a long and grueling time for contractors and fleet managers. Contractors have to dig in while business slows and working conditions become harsh. Fleet managers must deal with the arduous tasks of winterizing equipment and performing extensive inspections.

Managers who perform scheduled oil samplings, or S.O.S., at regular intervals throughout the year are in a great position to make the most efficient use of their winter downtime and avoid running into costly mechanical issues on job sites in the spring.The samples enable them to identify which machines have abnormal metal or contaminant levels in them and are more likely to require unscheduled maintenance when put back to work.

The data these samplings provide allows managers to build and analyze trends generated from a machine that is running properly in order to establish a baseline with which to compare results across other equipment. When deviations from the trend occur, managers can use the data to make better and timely recommendations.

These analyses are also pivotal to budget preparation as they can help fleet managers more accurately predict the maintenance costs and remaining life of a machine. Small deviations in the data alert managers of the need for routine maintenance such as replacing and/or cleaning filters or replacing seals. Smaller issues such as these are very difficult to identify as they do not typically present an issue with the equipment’s performance until the problem has gotten out of hand. So by performing regular oil sampling managers not only save themselves from high cost replacements but also extend the overall life of the equipment.

For fleet managers, finding out one of their machines needs its transmission resealed in the middle of a tightly scheduled project is comparable to a star hitter in major league baseball straining his forearm right before the World Series: he might make it back in before the end of the series but the damage will have been done. And like the team doctors treating the star player, managers will do whatever they have to in order to get the machine back in operation as quickly and affordably as possible. One such way of doing this is by exchanging the component for one which has already been rebuilt.

At ACTParts, for example, we have an excellent core return policy that allows managers to bypass the time required to break down/rebuild their components as well as control costs by refunding the value of their core once it passes inspection. 

However, in the winter, the cost of lost productivity on the jobsite is minimal; making the cost of repair less likely to give your boss an ulcer.  As a result, cost conscious managers are more likely to order rebuild kits and perform the required maintenance in their own shop. These kits are far less cost prohibitive than replacement components and provide all of the same benefits when properly assembled.

At American Crane and Tractor, we are aware of the fact that winter will always be a contractor’s least favorite time of the year.  We are also aware, however, of how a quality fleet manager has a strong understanding of the phrase “a penny saved is a penny earned”. And the quality workmanship provided by a fleet’s mechanics throughout the winter months (stemming from the diligence of the fleet manager throughout the year) will not only save the company a great amount of money, but also make it more efficient when projects begin in the spring.

Click the button below to view samples of overhaul kits for common applications which we keep stocked at ACTParts.