Spring is here, and for most of us that means that the jobs are piling up for the busy season. We all know that time is money, and equipment downtime on a jobsite can ruin profits, so I thought I’d share some basic maintenance tips to help you keep your compact excavator performing at its best.
One of the simplest—yet often overlooked—maintenance practices is the daily walkaround checklist. Be sure to check the engine oil, hydraulic fluid and coolant and top off when necessary. Make sure that you’re using the manufacturer-recommended fluid. Remember, it never hurts to ask your dealer or your tech. After a week or so, it is important to check the fuel filter and drain any water or debris that may have built up, or replace it if necessary. Next, check the hydraulic hoses and air system for leaks—its always better to find a problem and fix it while it’s small, than to wait until it’s too late.
Get out the Grease Gun
Next, check all pivot points on the machine and grease where needed. You should also check the track tension—always check your operators manual for the proper technique. Something that is often completely overlooked is the bucket or attachment. Be sure to check all the pivot points on the attachment as well, and grease where needed. Also, take a look at the teeth on the bucket. If they are worn down to a certain degree, that can have a serious effect on the machine’s performance. If the teeth are worn and dull, the machine has to work a lot harder to get the job done, and there’s no reason for the added wear-and-tear on the machine. If you aren’t sure, ask your dealer or tech.
It is important to keep the radiator, oil cooler and other heat exchangers clean during operation. Check for any accumulated debris, and wipe down when necessary. Remember, slow oil or coolant leaks tend to collect dust and other particulate matter—keep an eye out for potential problem areas during your daily checks.
Special Maintenance Features
Many modern excavators offer special features that allow for easier maintenance. Easy access is crucial when it comes to quick maintenance checks—all of our excavators feature a well-designed engine compartment and access panels. You should be able to access and locate components easily and safely. Another great feature on our newer excavators is a multi-function monitor in the cab. This electronic panel offers important performance readouts, and will let an operator know when fluid levels are low, of when maintenance is required.
Check the Manual
You probably hear this a lot, but it is really important to use OEM filters and manufacturer-recommended fluids and fuel. The machines where developed and tested using these fluids and filters, and any difference in spec can affect the performance of the machine.
Be sure to check your operator’s manual and make sure that you are keeping up with the regular service intervals. Your technician will be sure to check the belt tension and alignment, keep up with the proper oil and fluid changes, and keep the cooling system running properly. Ask your dealer or tech about regular service intervals—again, it’s always better to stay on top of things.