10 best practices for maintaining heavy equipment: The uptime of some expensive equipment, like skid-steers, compact track loaders, and compact excavators, among other earthmoving machinery, is crucial to a design/build company’s success. It can ruin an employment opportunity or cause expensive delays when these devices break down, not to mention the cost of the repairs itself.
In this article, Buck Storlie, product line manager for ASV Holdings, Paul Breedlove, market account manager for BrightView Enterprise Solutions, and George MacIntyre, product manager for Case Construction Equipment, share their tips for maintaining construction equipment.
- Keep a few basic maintenance tools on hand. Breedlove emphasizes how helpful it might be to have the skills and equipment necessary to handle repairs in the field. In addition to an air compressor or air tool, he advises spending $300 on tools and materials to keep in your truck, such as a socket set, a jack, a pry bar, a grease gun, lubricant, and additional oil.
- Run routine machine inspections. The apparatus needs to be reviewed both before and after use, according to MacIntyre. Make sure all grease spots are consistently topped off as part of this process. The functioning of the equipment as well as its long-term health and wellbeing depend on proper lubrication.
- Take good care of the wheels and suspension. According to MacIntyre, proper maintenance of these parts will guarantee productivity, assist in extending the operating lives of the equipment, and consequently lower total cost of ownership.
- Daily check the track’s tension and condition. Inadequate track tensioning is the main cause of issues with compact track loaders, according to Storlie. The equipment manual’s recommended tension specifications should be followed. An excessive amount of strain can hasten track wear as well as wear on wheels, sprockets, and bearings. Ratcheting, or the track skipping over the sprocket, is a sign of a track that is excessively loose, which quickens wear or damage. Derailment risk may also be increased by a loose track.
- 5. Observe for leaks. What may initially seem to be a little leak is actually a sign of a more serious issue somewhere inside the machine and needs to be fixed right away.
- Keep an eye on the machine buckets’ teeth and buckets. The rest of the machine is under stress and working too hard to complete the task when the bucket experiences excessive wear that hinders its performance.
- Be mindful of the liquids you are adding to the machine. According to MacIntyre, fluids are essential to the effective operation and long-term dependability of every machine. They should also meet specifications and be appropriate for the environment that your machine operates in. He advises against filling up any reservoirs on your equipment with a funnel that contains unknown dirt or oil because doing so will eventually cause damage.
- Establish a maintenance and repair strategy. Breedlove suggests giving your management or field team the authority to train on maintenance and repair procedures. Have a procedure in place with a mechanic on staff or dealer phone numbers to call right away in the event that equipment breaks.
- Keep your tools tidy. To save component wear, Storlie advises routinely clearing the undercarriage of your compact track loader of mud and debris. Spend some time cleaning the rear cooling system as well. This task is made simpler by equipment with swing-out coolers or ground-level access. A clean cooling system increases machine productivity overall and enables you to focus on other potential problem areas.
- Avoid adopting the “I’ll get to it later” attitude. If a new work or opportunity arises while the machine is down, postponing a necessary equipment repair could spell trouble for you, according to MacIntyre. Get on their schedule as soon as possible by contacting the supervisor, fleet manager, or whoever is in charge of fleet management and maintenance, as well as your neighborhood equipment dealer or certified equipment technician.
Benefit from dealer-planned maintenance programs and the off-season. You should inspect each machine during your downtime to remedy any leaks or wear. Use dealer-planned maintenance plans so the service is covered by your warranty and manufacturer-certified specialists inspect and tune up the equipment, suggests MacIntyre. When you’re ready to sell that item on the secondary market, having lifetime records of manufacturer-certified work will also assist increase the resale value, he adds.
We hope the above 10 best practices for maintaining heavy equipment will help you with your heavy machines.