It’s Time to Winterize Your Sweeper

By Matt Starnes

Street sweeping has seasonal demands. Especially in the northern states and Canada. You can’t just park your sweeper for the winter. There is no secret to getting the longest life out of your street sweeper. Preventive maintenance and winterization preparations is a necessity for longer life of your sweeper equipment. Whether you’re shutting down your sweepers for the season or preparing for a cold snap or winter storm, there is one winter preparedness step you must adhere to. You must drain all the water from your sweeper. Most contractors and municipalities in cold weather climates stop using water in their sweepers by late November, if not sooner.

Water left in tanks can freeze and rapidly expand once temperatures drop below freezing. This mistake can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars from resulting water pump and water tank cracks.

Three additional tips contractors should take to protect and winterize their sweepers.

  1. Remove gutter brooms and store away from the elements.
  2. Make sure to raise the sweeper pickup head so it is not touching the ground. This prevents the pickup head from rotting and freezing to the ground. Think of the movie, A Christmas Story, when Flick is triple dog dared to lick a flagpole in the winter…not good.
  3. Clean out the hopper and make sure to clean out the screens as well. It is also crucial to make sure the hopper interior is as dry as possible after cleaning to avoid cracks and damage.

To avoid the possibility of frost damage when the machine is left during cold weather, it is essential to drain the water system adequately. In the case of the Bucher MaxPowa E35m Single Engine Mechanical Sweeper and MaxPowa V65 Pure Vacuum Sweepers, to assist in this procedure, the machine is equipped with a Pressadrain feature. This feature purges the water system with air, helping to displace any surplus water after the system has been drained.


Bucher E35m mechanical profile

Before you get started with any maintenance, make sure to take the following safety precautions:
• Ensure the machine is standing on firm, level ground and that there are no obstructions above before raising the hopper.
• Ensure the safety props are always used when working under the hopper.
• Ensure operators are fully conversant with the controls and operation.
• Isolate the air in the systems locker before working on any pneumatically operated or controlled equipment.
• Disconnect vehicle battery when working on the electrical system.
• Ensure the engine is switched off once the pickup broom has been lowered for adjustment.
• Keep hands, loose clothing, hair, etc., well clear of moving parts.
• Do not grasp any part of the engine or exhaust system without first making sure that it has cooled sufficiently to avoid scalding.
• Do not disconnect hydraulic or water pipes while the engine is running.
• Do not use ill-fitting tools such as spanners that may slip and cause injury.
• Always get a second person to check periodically that all is well when only one person is working on the machine or under the hopper.

Mechanical sweeper checklist:
Chains, flights, flight rubbers, position cylinders, chain tensions, floor plates, and position switches

Sweep gear:
Rear broom, gutter broom brushes, gutter cylinders, drag shoes, rear broom arms, rear broom dampers, overcenter lift assembly, rear broom cover, rear broom swivel bearing, and rear broom spherical bearing

Systems locker:
Rear broom and elevator manifold, hopper manifold, gutter broom manifold, pneumatic valve manifold, water manifold, and oil cooler.

Entire hopper, tip cylinder, pressure control manifold, door cylinder, position switch, and lift cylinders.

Water system:
Water tank, filter assembly, and pump.

PTO pump and scissor lift

Control panel, and relay box.

Periodically inspect the cylinder rods for damage, blemishes or buildup of material such as tar, cement, paint, etc. The rods can be cleaned with fine wire wool and/or spirit to ensure long seal life. When cleaning the machine, avoid playing the washdown hose over the body tip cylinder when in the fully raised position.

Care should be taken when using high pressure steam and washdown equipment, as damage can be caused by playing this equipment onto the engine, electrical control systems, and paintwork, etc..

While these winterization tips can help protect your sweeper investment, all equipment eventually meets its end of productive life. When it is finally time to retire your faithful sweeper after years or decades of faithful service, we have a free industry report: The 5 Things You MUST Know BEFORE Buying a Street Sweeper.

To learn more, visit To book a demo, please call us at 704-658-1333.

Matt Starnes is the Product Marketing Manager for Bucher Municipal North America, Inc. headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina.