what damage does plowing do to a truck?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Evan528, Dec 13, 2000.

  1. Evan528

    Evan528 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 153

    Heres the situation. I have a 2000 f-250xlt (over $30,000). AT this point i am only do residential driveway snow removal with snowblowers for people i do lawncare and landscaping for. I am thinkin about getting into plowing commercial lots instead of doing little resi drivway with snowblowers. My big concern is doing damage to my truck. how rough on trucks is plowing? What common damage is done while plowing to your truck? Am i better offf just buying a reliable late 80's 3/4 truck with a plow to use for plowing? is anyone here ussing a expensive truck for plowing and what condition is it in after a winter of plowing? please help!
  2. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    The amount of damage a plow truck experiences can be likened to gas milage - it is directly related to the nut behind the wheel.

    After 3 years, we have resale value comparable to other trucks used for what trucks do - no more or no less. That's with the plow equipment not on the truck.

    All the components get a workout, for sure, but damage comes from collision, driver error or expecting the truck to do what a loader should be doing.

    I'd plow with the new truck - if you pickle it and try to make it last forever, what excuse will you give your wife when you want a new one??? Been there. Spend it before she does. LOL
  3. OP

    Evan528 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 153

    I dont plan to keep it forver... just 3 or 4 years then ill get a new one. I just want to keep it looking nice and working nice for these 3-4 years.
  4. matthew Urban

    matthew Urban Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    So long as you aren't going to put the truck in a museum or something, go get a blade. If you buy used you won't be sure what you are buying and since you only want to keep it 3 or 4 years i'd say you'll be better served that way.
    Just don't let the up-keep fall behind, no matter which way you decide to go.
  5. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    I plow with newer trucks, and I am in the same boat as you on a bigger scale. 17 trucks with plows all are 95 or newer except for 1 93.

    I trade my trucks with plows and some withe plows and sanders after about 5 or 6 years. The most you will loose at trade in is about 500 bucks. Now lets see extra 80s truck about 5 or 6 K for a good one, extra insurance and extra maintmace. New truck is a better option, put a new plow on it, and just trade truck and plow for new truck and plow every 4 or 5 years.

  6. RB

    RB Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    I plow with a 2000 Chev 2500, about 25k or so.

    Sounds like you go the right truck to plow. I personally don't feel plowing does any damage. If you're concerned you can buy a product that help with the weight on the front end (Monroe Muscle LSE), and you could buy a urethane cutting edge. That might lessen the pounding the truck will take.
  7. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    The biggest beating the truck is going to take is from the salt and sand on the roads. You will be out when the DOT is sanding and salting and before the morning traffic gets a chance to move it off the road. One look at the undercarriage of my truck and its obvious its been subject to corrosives for six years.
  8. klc

    klc Junior Member
    Messages: 9

  9. Dusty

    Dusty Member
    Messages: 82

    My '79 Ford F-250 is still going strong and it has plowed all its life. The body is still sound and the frame gets painted every other year. Maintenance is the key factor.
  10. NEAL

    NEAL Member
    Messages: 98

    Damage to any truck new or old comes from abuse. If you are careful when plowing your truck will be no different than not plowing. I would put a plow on the new truck. If you buy used you might buy a truck that was abused and you will have all sorts of problems.
  11. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    I disagree with anyone saying there is no more damage to a truck by plowing.Plowing is effectively using a pickup as a dozer of sorts,so no doubt wear will be higher,especailly on front ends when a 700 blade is hanging 4 ft out in fron of the steering axle.If proper maintance is done,and the truck is not abused the wear shouldnt be excessive,but it will still shorten the useful life of the truck.Corrosion is the other emeny.I have no regrets working my trucks,as long as we are not working to cheap,all the wear is factored into my prices.I am stil amazed at how tough,and reliable our trucks are.Even in a small 3" storm,my 89 truck,11 yrs old,is out from basically the first flake pretreating,until the last job has been cleaned up,about 12-18 hrs in a normal run.In 18 hrs,i can get to my parents house in Fla from here,1100 miles.How much harder is plowing on a vehicle than cruising the interstate at 70 mph?about 10X as hard,at least,so i think about every time i go out im putting on about 10K miles worth of wear and tear(as compared to highway miles) on the front end,u joints,tranny etc.Iwonder how our trannys hold up at all sometimes,especailly in blizzards.
  12. Iceman

    Iceman Member
    Messages: 31

    I'm with John 100% on this one. When I first started plowing years ago we used older trucks and spent alot of time after the storm fixing them. Though alot of the maintance was light, it was due to plowing, u-joints, brakes, blown tranny lines, and the sort. As John said, plowing isn't like driving down the highway.
    Today, we use late model trucks. The newer the better. And though the intial cost is higher, once you factor in your cost of investment against repairing the older trucks, job cost is usually the same if not lower. Plus, you don't have all the headaches of down time fixing the junk.

    I'd mount the new plow on the new truck. If no more than for piece of mind.
  13. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    Depends on what you hit! I found a buried steel post, with the left front fender just behind the wheel. The first dent is the worst. Mechanically plowing is hard on everything that why you have to do serious preventive maintenance on a plow truck. From greasing the front end to changing fluids, to checking for cracks.

  14. Yardworks

    Yardworks Senior Member
    Messages: 143

    I would put a plow on your new truck if your really going to become serious about snow removal. You have to be reliable if your going to make good money at it. I wouldn't feel like I could be reliable with an older truck and plow without knowing the history of the unit. It would be different if you were the original or close to original owner and knew it was taken care of. Plowing is going to be hard on it, but you should be able to make enough money for it to be worth being hard on a truck.
  15. NEAL

    NEAL Member
    Messages: 98

    John, Iceman:

    Yeah I guess i take my statement back about plowing being no differnt than not. What I meant really was that if you are careful such as not raming piles up, stopping before shifting and plowing slower you will not ruin your truck. I do realize from my own experience that things do wear out faster because of the extra strain on your truck.
    I also know that sometimes you have to work your truck a little harder than you would like and the weak links will show up because of it.

  16. pcs

    pcs Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    I was talking with someone the other day and they said to becareful because I have Auto Hubs. I didn't want to ask why then but I do now. What can go wrong with Auto Hubs? I don't even know the difference between Auto and Manual Hubs.
  17. NEAL

    NEAL Member
    Messages: 98


    I always hear that too about auto hubs. I personally have never had them so I can't comment on how well they hold up. Auto hubs automaticly engage your front wheels when you shift into 4 wheel drive. With manual hubs you must go to each front wheel and turn the dial to engage them. I think manual hubs are regarded as better because you can fix or replace them in the feild easily plus you know for sure that they are engaged.

  18. Dusty

    Dusty Member
    Messages: 82

    Auto hubs are the worse thing to come into existance on a truck, in my opinion. My wifes Explorer has them and you HAVE to back up at least 30 feet to fully release them after they have engaged. The first set were replaced at 5000 miles and that is when the Ford dealer told us about backing up the truck. It now has about 45000 miles on it and there has been no trouble, but I know of other people that have learned the lesson the expensive way. The owners manuals mention this but some unknown reason it isn't well know by the people that own them. Probably people would not buy them if it was well known. If you NEVER turn the knob on the dash to manually put it into 4 WD then the hubs engage and disengage automatically. Don't know why turning the knob makes the differance. I have manual hubs on my '79 and they always work well. I clean and repack them every year and have never had a problem.
  19. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    In my experience, the inevitables are rust, especially on underbody components like shocks and brake/fuel lines, you will at some point slide into something either front, back, or side, hope its just a snowbank but I usually get caught in loading docks and my running boards take a beating, watch out for buried stuff, I had a buried wooden pallet come up out of a pile and land on my hood while stacking.

    If someone is a super anal retentive freak about their truck I would suggest not plowing with it.