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OTC Cold Weather Services: When to Repair vs Replace Your Equipment

By OTC Insights Team on November 21, 2023

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OTC Insights Team

Established in 1963, OTC Industrial Technologies is one of the largest industrial distributors & service providers in the United States. We're committed to seeing industrial operations advance through expert technical solutions & unmatched support using our years of experience.

As temperatures begin to drop, it’s essential to take preventative measures to protect the health of your equipment. Depending on equipment applications, use environment, and duration, extreme cold weather can increase the possibility of premature equipment failure. However, with proper design and preventative maintenance processes, your equipment investment can operate in extremely cold weather.

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How Can Cold Weather Cause Equipment Problems? 

Cold weather can impact your equipment in a variety of ways.  

As temperatures decrease, rotating equipment cooling systems with improperly maintained cooling mixtures may cause freezing, which can lead to a rotating equipment system failure. Decreasing temperatures can also cause improper lubricant applications to preternaturally fail (i.e. solidify), not allowing for proper lubrication, and leading to rotating equipment failure. 

Steps to Avoid Cold Weather Complications 

Thankfully, cold weather is predictable, so planning that prevents cold weather complications will help you avoid downtime and equipment malfunctions.  

Here are a few steps you can take to make sure your equipment stays up and running even in winter: 

Preventative/Predictive Maintenance 

Predictive and preventative maintenance schedules are some of the best ways to maximize the life of your equipment. These schedules and predictive maintenance programs provide you with basic timelines to follow that reduce potential problems before they become serious issues.


Freezing temperatures can increase the potential for premature parts failure. One possible issue can be improper lubrication application. If the lubricant deteriorates due to cold temperatures, the rotating equipment could end in failure.

Visual Inspections 

Scheduled visual inspections are another critical practice that can extend the life of your equipment. Your operators should inspect equipment for abnormal sounds, smells, visual changes, or irregularities on a regular basis.

Vibrational Analysis 

Some problems can’t be easily identified during a quick visual inspection. Vibrational analysis uses science and data to find problems before they become serious and costly. These analyses use complex sensors to detect when a machine is vibrating more than it should, which is an indication of an unseen problem that needs to be addressed. 

When to Replace Versus Repair Your Equipment 

Even with preventative maintenance schedules, visual inspections, and equipment analyses, breakdowns still occur. Simply put, equipment cannot last forever. Premature failures, equipment design life, or improper equipment application can lead to an evaluation of the need to repair or replace. Long lead times and availability of parts all need to be considered and planned for to reduce possible equipment downtime.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace.  

Can You Afford the Downtime? 

One of the most important factors to consider is how long you’ll experience downtime when a machine breaks. In some cases, it's faster to buy a replacement than it is to wait for comprehensive repairs. Equipment being sent off-site for repairs could mean extensive downtime. Conversely, it might be more financially prudent to repair if new equipment lead times are too long. Working with a team of experts at OTC can help determine the most cost-effective way to proceed.

Is It Worth Repairing the Equipment? 

Depending on the equipment or part that breaks, it may not be worth spending the money on repairs. While proper service and maintenance can often fix the problem, some parts are inexpensive. In rare cases, purchasing a replacement can be viable, but repairs are often the cheaper and faster option.

Is Renting a Viable Option? 

Sometimes, purchasing a replacement is too expensive, or lead times are too long, but you also can’t afford extended downtime. In these situations, rental equipment may be the solution. You can keep your facility running while you wait for a lengthy repair process or the budget for additional capital expenses with readily available and reliable rental equipment. 

OTC's Service and Repair Options for Manufacturers  

OTC’s service and repair capabilities are just some of the many ways we help our customers. If you want to learn more about how you can extend the life of your equipment, or just want to speak with an expert who can talk you through your options, contact OTC today.