Basic knowledge is the key. Let’s start with the blade of your plow. You can choose from straight or a V-shape blade. V-shapes are often used more in heavy duty commercial plowing, while basic snowplowing only requires the common straight blade. V-blades feature a pivot point in the center that directs the snow. Extendable blades can be ordered from the factory or you can get wing accessories and create the extensions. The finish may be in a painted or stainless steel option.
The design of the plow blade will either be made of polyethylene, which is often called Poly, which is lighter than steel. However, a steel blades’ greater weight helps with the downward force providing better movement of snow. For times when you might run into unseen objects while plowing snow, most plows allow for that with full trip or edge tip pivoting mechanism to keep from feeling like you crashed into a house. Plow blades range in size from 6 ½ feet to ten feet wide, and can weigh anywhere from 200-1000 lbs. The weight of your blade will dictate which type of set up is best suited for your pickup truck.
The best thing ever manufacturers ever invented for a snow-plowing truck was the quick mount and release system. Most commonly, plows are attached to the truck via brackets or a 2 inch hitch receiver. Unlike my father’s generation who had the difficult task of super heavy blades before and after each snowstorm, or be forced to leave them on their trucks between storms. Our newer technology allows for much less physical stress and quick removal or hooking up of the blade. Once you are ready to plow, you manipulate the plow blade from inside the truck cab with controllers that help you move the blade up, down or side-to-side. Handheld units and joysticks are used by some drivers, the difference being joysticks are usually mounted to the dashboard and handheld can be moved and stored when not in use.
Just like other decisions that are necessary before you purchase your model truck, if you decide you want to do snowplowing, it is best to decide that at the time you purchase your pickup. There is much to consider, such as the price of the plow and its installation, plus any needed accessories or parts your truck would need to accommodate your chosen plow. Pickups are often available with plowing prep packages that give you a stiffer front end suspension and oil transmission coolers which most trucks don’t come with as standard equipment. There is most likely a $3000-3500 price difference in a plow setup that will be used for just your driveway and a few others, as opposed to a heavier duty commercial package. Be aware that periodic maintenance will be involved in keeping your blade and truck equipment since your pickup will have added stress on the chassis, power train and drive train.
In choosing just the plow itself, your local dealer can assist you with options for your truck based on the gross axle weight rating as well as other criteria, the type of mounting hardware you need and any special equipment. Once you’ve selected a plow, you will have to consider what accessories you have on your wish list, such as rear-mounted salters and deicing spreaders, an overhead light bar, rear flood lights and bed-mounted ballast options. You may also want to consider blade guides and possibly a snow deflector. If you are really going into this venture strongly, you might be interested in Fisher’s premium XLS blade, which has two adjustable wings on both right and left edges that can quickly become a 9 foot scoop or fully extended into a 10 foot straight blade which pivots right or left to push snow to the side of your truck instead of in front. Some other reputable brands include Meyer, Western and Snow-Way.
Absolutely there is an initial large expense involved in setting up a snow plow, but in the long term if you are making money plowing snow, you can easily recoup the layout of your investment. The days of making snow angels and snow men may be behind you, but plowing offers a whole new way to play in the snow and reap some cash while you are at it, so give it a shot if you feel adventurous. Most truck owners I know either love it or want no part of it.