When it comes to your equipment, it’s all about up-time. Contracts are more competitive than ever—they’re being bid down to the wire, and you need your equipment running at peak performance every minute of the day when you’re on the job.
Running an efficient operation can give contractors a serious competitive advantage. One of the best ways to ensure as much up-time as possible—and make sure that your equipment is running as efficiently as possible—is to stick with a manufacturers recommended regular service intervals.
It goes without saying that a broken down excavator with mucked up tracks, low hydraulic fluid, dirty oil and dry pivot points isn’t going to make anyone a dime. More than likely a crew will wind up wasting half a day (or more) troubleshooting the equipment, trying to get it to perform half as well as it should have in the first place. The good news is that with a minimal amount of training, even the greenest operator should be able to handle basic daily maintenance checks.
Daily Maintenance Checks
Basic daily maintenance and service can be performed by the operator. This is the simple stuff like checking fluid levels—coolant, engine oil, hydraulic fluid—and replacing it if it’s low. Be sure to use the manufacturers recommended fluids. If you’re not sure, ask your dealer or technician.
Next, check the air system and hydraulic hoses for leaks, check track tension, and grease the machines pivot points. On your way into the cab, visually inspect the condition of the cab, canopy, seat belts, etc. for wear. Finally, check to make sure that the indicator lights on the panels are working properly. After a week of running hard for long days, be sure to check the fuel filter, and drain any water, sediment or debris that may have built up. This is all easy stuff to forget about, but it all starts here.
Every couple of weeks, it’s important to have your technician check your machine’s belt tension and alignment. Belts are the simplest, yet most crucial components of any engine when it comes to operating efficiency, so they shouldn’t be ignored.
Regular Oil and Fluid Changes
About once a month, taking into consideration the number of hours and working conditions, the oil, along with the oil and fuel filters, should be changed out with the manufacturers recommended oil and filters. Oil contaminants can cause serious damage to an engine, and it is one of the most preventable situations with regular maintenance. Talk to your technician about setting up regular oil changes. Other fluids and filters such as hydraulic and cooling system should be changed according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.
Radiator, Oil Cooler & A/C
Every couple of months, a technician should clean and service the oil cooler, radiator and A/C. It is also time to replace the hydraulic filter, and inspect the alternator.
The Bottom Line
The real importance of setting regular sevice intervals with your dealer/technician comes down to saving money. A properly maintained machine will minimize uneccesary downtime and breakdowns, and will run at peak performance exactly when you need it to.
While basic daily maintenance can be performed by the operator, it is really important that you have a qualified and experienced professional handling your scheduled maintenance.