Whether you've decided that this is the year you finally trade in your straight blade for a V-plow, or you already own a V-plow and are looking to add another to your fleet, it's important to take a closer look at the different features that are available on the market.
How to shop for a V-plow for your truck
With the arrival of the crisp, fall weather, it’s time to turn your attention to a cooler subject – winter snow removal. Whether you’ve decided that this is the year you finally trade in your straight blade for a more efficient V-plow, or you already own a V-plow and are looking to add another to your fleet, it’s important to take a closer look at the different features that are available on the market.
Trip Edge vs. Trip Blade
Trip-blade V-plows won’t effectively trip when the plow is in vee or scoop position. If you strike an immovable object with the plow in vee or scoop mode, the impact force is absorbed by the plow and truck. Trip-edge V-plows, however, will trip in all blade configurations and can help prevent plow and truck damage if you hit a curb, manhole cover, or any other hidden obstacle that is very common when plowing.
Double-acting vs. Single-acting Cylinders
Unless you’re one of the few snow plowers who does not back drag snow, you’ll want a V-plow with locking, double-acting cylinders. Locking, double-acting cylinders keep the blade wings from folding forward while back dragging. Also, locking, double-acting cylinders allow both blades of the V-plow to be “locked” into straight-blade position so that it can be angled right or left with the touch of one button, just like a straight blade. Some V-plow manufacturers offer locking, double-acting cylinders as a standard feature, while others offer the cylinders only as an optional upgrade.
Height vs. Width
When it comes to plowing efficiency, blade width is more important than blade height. A wider plow will make shorter work of a parking lot than a narrower plow. Look for a V-plow that offers the greatest width while still meeting the gross vehicle weight restrictions of your truck.
Chain-Lift System vs. Direct-Lift System
When it comes to raising and lowering your V-plow, there are two options – chain-lift and direct-lift systems. With a direct-lift system, the plow is raised and lowered by hydraulic arms that are directly connected to the plow. With a chain-lift system, a chain connects the plow to a hydraulic arm that raises and lowers the plow. A direct-lift plow is limited in its snow-stacking ability by the length of its hydraulic arms. A chain-lift plow, however, is not limited by the length of its hydraulic arm, and offers you the ability to stack snow higher and leave lots cleaner.
Pay close attention to what your truck’s ground clearance will be after installing each brand of V-plow’s receiver mount. Certain brands hang lower than others. Also, some brands offer removable receiver brackets, so you can restore your truck to its original ground clearance when the plow is removed.
Snowplow theft is a growing problem1. Some snowplow manufacturers offer electronic snowplow theft deterrents that allow the plow to be locked via the snowplow control, rendering the plow inoperable to unauthorized users when it is detached from the vehicle.
Purchasing a V-plow will help you make light work of tough winter storms. By doing your homework prior to investing in a V-plow, you can become even more efficient and save money in the long run.
Fuzz Martin is a former snow removal and turf maintenance foreman turned public relations director and senior writer for EPIC Creative.