Construction Equipment Europe

How to prepare your excavator for winter

Extreme low temperatures can have a significant impact on the performance and maintenance of an excavator. Follow our tips to ensure maximum uptime and profitability from your machine during the cold months ahead.

Volvo EC220E excavator in the snow

1. Switch to cold weather hydraulic and engine oils

Synthetic and multi-grade oil is usually sufficient for the range of temperatures experienced in most European countries throughout the year. However, if you are regularly operating in sub-zero temperatures, you may wish to consider using specific cold weather hydraulic and engine oils instead. This will ensure the optimum viscosity for performance even in snow and ice.

2. Use a dedicated winter diesel

Similarly, consider using a dedicated winter or arctic diesel, which has a lower freezing point than standard diesel, as well as a better cold filter plugging point. It is also recommended to fill the fuel tank to more than 70% to minimise any corrosive condensation.

3. Increase the concentration of your coolant

The lower the temperature, the higher the recommended concentration of coolant. Down to -10ºC you can use a concentration of 40% but if you are working in temperatures as low as -50ºC, you should increase it to 50%.

4. Test your batteries

Batteries can lose up to 50% of their strength in cold environments so if your battery is already weak, your excavator is unlikely to start. In preparation for the winter months, use a battery tester to check the voltage and watch for performance signals, such as a sluggish or slow engine turnover.

5. Consider additional cold weather options

Volvo CE offers a range of cold weather options for excavators to improve performance, minimise maintenance and enhance operator comfort. These include engine block heaters to warm up the engine block before starting; diesel-powered coolant heaters to also help cold weather starting and warm the cab; water separators with heaters to help minimise wax build up in diesel fuel; and arctic rated hoses, developed to handle conditions down to -40ºC.

With a little bit of preparation and assistance from your local Volvo CE dealer, your excavator will be primed to keep on producing – and earning – throughout the winter months.


Anne Bast

Head of Brand, Marketing & Communication
Volvo Construction Equipment
Sales Region Europe / International
Phone: 0735585906

Hannah Kitchener

Tel: +44 207 923 5863