You know what the Northerners say: Winter is coming…
…and I want to buy a used truck for plowing. Okay, maybe Westeros doesn’t have plow trucks. I added on the second part. Deal with it.
It’s the end of November, and for those unfortunate enough to experience it, Father Winter is waiting to dump a whole lot of unpleasant, cold flakes of doom from the sky to completely f*** up your morning commute. While his buddy, Jack Frost, is busy freezing your windows and door handles shut, and creating death traps in your driveway, walkway, and at your doorstep. Bastards.
Here’s three must-have features that your prospective used truck should have if you plan on slapping a plow on it, and becoming a winter warrior to fight against these tyrants.
No Sign of a Plow Whatsoever
I know what some of you immediately thought — I don’t need to listen to this guy, he lied to us. He said three things, and then we only get two? Pfft, I’ll just buy a truck with a plow rig already set up.
Why? Because with your luck, you’ll get a truck from a guy like me — one that was used and abused for more than six winters. Judge me if you want, but when you start going on 17 hours with no sleep, your shit-giving nature about the mechanical quality of your truck goes right out the window.
I decimated the transmission pushing back snowbanks taller than my truck in order to keep the roads open for emergency vehicles — twice. Knocked the front driveshaft entirely out of the vehicle, cracked the windshield from a falling tree limb, and ruined at least three sets of tires. Not to mention, the undercarriage looks like swiss cheese from playing in salt and sand, even after properly cleaning it. Topping it all off, the body has more dents, dings, scrapes, scratches, and any other form of damage you can imagine.
While this is an extreme — but honest — example of the type of truck you could end up getting (and the type of plowing you’d end up doing), it proves a point. Don’t buy a truck with a plow. That way, you won’t have to deal with the damage done by the previous owner.
A Bulletproof Transmission
This is when you Ford, Chevy, and Ram sticklers need to put your petty brand war aside, and look into the powertrains of each vehicle. Since there is a lot of gear changing going on when it comes to plowing, you need a transmission with the Superman emblem slapped on it. The constant shift from forward to reverse, to 2-lo, 1-lo, neutral – to clean ice off the wipers, park – to jump out and stretch, is like a death sentence for weaker transmissions.
Do your research, and figure out what transmission is the most durable one on a used truck you can afford.
Finally, you need a heavy-duty alternator. Whether you find a truck that has a good and reliable alternator, or buy one and slap it in — you need one. Your plow rigs run on an electric hydraulic pump, which means they use a combination of the vehicle’s alternator, and hydraulic fluid from the hydraulic pump. Both of which you will be installing. Without the proper alternator, you risk draining your battery juice. Breaking down in the middle of a blizzard sucks — I wouldn’t recommend it.
In order to get started, this is what you need to look for in a plow truck. As far as size goes, the bigger the better. But if you’re just doing your driveway, a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton truck will do just fine. If you’re going on the roads, I’d suggest a full-on one-ton. Obviously, make sure the truck is in good condition overall. As I said, winter is coming…