Spreader Calibration


Calibration of spreader equipment is an extremely important step that any agency can take to make their salt use more sustainable. There are three good reasons for this: Cash, Control, and Conservation.


Agencies that calibrate see significant savings in their salt usage and in their salt budget. Reductions of 25% or more are common – a savings that continues year after year. Do you need extra money for your winter operations? Then calibrate your spreaders!


You cannot manage what you do not measure. If you have not calibrated your spreaders, you are not measuring how much salt you are applying to the roads. Better operational management improves efficiency and effectiveness, benefiting your agency, your community, and your environment.


When you only spread the salt you need (which you can only do if you calibrate your spreaders), you minimize your impacts on the environment. Calibration is a great sustainable practice, protecting natural habitats and wildlife and enhancing outdoor activities.

If you and your agency would like more assistance with calibrating your spreaders, please do not hesitate to contact us at: wilf@psassoc.org or 319-594-4447. We will be happy to either provide you with assistance directly or put you in contact with those who will be able to do so.


The following links are videos of calibration being performed on a variety of spreaders.

Farmington Hills, MI. The City of Farmington Hills, Department of Public Works, explains salt truck calibration for snow removal.

Collaboration video between Force America and MN DOT

Wisconsin Salt Wise, a page with a number of links to calibration videos and other resources

A video on calibration produced by Ice Slicer. Note that if you use your spreaders for different materials (e.g., salt sometimes, and sand sometimes) you need to calibrate separately for each material.

North Carolina DOT provides a step by step instructional video on how to calibrate their spreaders

Baystate Roads Program produced this Sander/Salt Spreader calibration video led by Paul Brown from MassDOT Operations. The video demonstrates proper calibration for municipal sander/salt spreader application and the basic calculations to determine how much material needs to be used for normal operations.

Other Resources

The following links take you to documents that provide helpful information about calibrating your spreaders.

Ohio State University Extension Program.  A detailed guide to calibration of spreaders prepared by the Ohio State UniversityExtension Program

MN DOT Calibration Guide.   Prepared by the MN DOT local roads research board – extremely detailed and lots of good information

MN DOT Training-Maintenance. The MN DOT training resource page providing detailed information on a number of winter operations related tasks.

New Hampshire Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP). A two-page guide on hydraulic spreader calibration

2009  Clear Roads Guide.  A detailed guide on spreader calibration. Along with that guide, there was research done on the accuracy of the calibration functions of ground speed-controlled units.

Caltrans guide for Muncie Power Advantage+ system. A detailed guide for this group of spreader controllers

Desert Mountain Corporation guide. A step-by-step guide to calibration of spreaders (in general)

Ninja De-icer Calibration guide. A web-page-based guide to general salt spreader calibration

Envirotech Guide to Calibration. Information about how to calibrate your spreader provided in a web-based format.

A video interview about why you should calibrate your spreader. An interview with Mike Coffey about why calibrating is so important.

Spreader Controller Companies

The following is a list of the companies that make the most common spreader controllers in North America. Inclusion on the list does not imply endorsement. The links (except where indicated) are to the company website at which there may be resources related to calibration. Wherever possible, we have provided links directly to calibration related information.


Certified Power (includes Cirus)



Force America

Muncie Power