Service / Maintenance – Getting Your Compact Wheel Loader Out of Storage
The busy summer season is upon us—that means its time to get your equipment out of winter storage and onto the jobsite. Preventive maintenance procedures are extremely important, and need to be performed at the end of the working season, as well as the beginning.
Starting your compact wheel loader or other equipment up again after being in storage isn’t as simple as turning the ignition key. If all has gone according to plan, your machine will have been stored in a dry, dust-free environment for the duration of the off-season. The first thing you need to do is inspect the machine for any dirt, dust or debris that may have been missed during the last clean-up. Next, remove any anti-corrosion protective coating that may have been applied to the exposed cylinder rods before going into storage. You will also need to remove the covers on the air intake hose and the muffler, which should have been covered as part of the long-term storage or winterization process.
The battery, which should have been removed and stored in a clean, dry, frost-free environment, should now be tested, recharged if necessary, and reinstalled into the machine. Also, check the V-belt for proper tension, adjust as necessary. Make sure the radiator and hydraulic cooler are clean and free of dirt and debris (compressed air is the recommended method to clean these components). Since you have your air compressor out, now is a good time to check air pressure in your tires.
Next , it is time to change the engine oil and filter, and replace the gear oil in all assemblies including the drive motors and gearboxes. Don’t forget to replace all fuel and hydraulic filters, as water in your fuel system will create a number of problems. Next, you need to top off all fluid levels (hydraulic oil, fuel, brake fluid, radiator fluid, washer wiper fluid, etc). Make sure all grease points are taking grease and lubricated. Always be sure to reference a machine’s operating manual for any special guidelines to get an engine ready to operate.
Once those steps are complete, you are ready to turn the ignition key. After starting the engine, it is important to let it warm up for about 15 minutes. Slowly engage all hydraulic and drive functions to ensure proper function, then inspect for leaks. Test the brakes to ensure they are working properly. Don’t forget to check all of your safety equipment before you load up (wheel chocks, safety vest, hard hat, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc.). Now your equipment should be ready to head out to the job site and make you money!
Now that the off-season is over and we’re all headed back to work, these simple steps can make a big difference in the way your equipment operates on a job site. The bottom line is this: well maintained equipment will operate more smoothly and efficiently on site, will break down much less, and the cost of ownership will be reduced by minimizing costly repairs. Have a safe and productive summer season everyone—its time to get back to work!