When it comes to construction equipment maintenance, it isn't like a car -- these machines are incredibly powerful and must be kept to proper maintenance standards in order to remain safe and operable. But whether you're performing the maintenance work yourself or enlisting a professional, taking the right steps is critical. Here are some excavator maintenance dos and don'ts to be aware of.
DO: Check fluids daily
"An effective maintenance regimen starts with a daily check of fluids, including coolant, hydraulic fluid and engine oil. If any of these levels are low, be sure to refill with the manufacturer’s recommended type of fluid," writes Lauren Heartsill Dowdle onTotal Landscape Care. These areas should also always be kept clean in order to avoid cross contaminations.
DON'T: Change filters too soon/too late
With most appliances or pieces of machinery, there's no harm in being proactive by switching filters before they're fully soiled. However, this is not the case with excavators. Even though a dirty filter can significantly impact performance and overall equipment lifespan, most industrial excavators are equipped with air filter restriction indicators that will alert maintenance operators of filtration needs. This means that the filter doesn't need to be removed until the air filter restriction indicator sends an alert. Doing so can increase the risk of system contamination.
DO: Take proper care of the cooling system
Maintaining your excavator's cooling system is a key component to a longer lifespan. Overheating can cause significant engine damage, so keep the system cool by consistently checking airflow levels in addition to checking the coolant hoses for any leaks. Keep in mind that the radiator, condenser, and oil cooler can be easily cleaned using low pressure water or air, but when cleaning, be very careful around the radiator's fins.
DON'T: Neglect the importance of visual checks
When in doubt, visual checks can go a long way in diagnosing an excavator operation issue. Taking a thorough look at the excavator's cutting edges, teeth, and hoses can also help diagnose an issue before it affects operation. If any parts seem damaged or worn, it's usually best to replace them.
Ultimately, safely maintaining and operating heavy equipment such as excavators is of the utmost importance. About 35% of on-the-job injuries are caused by machine accidents each year, as well as 14% of work-related deaths. But in the construction industry, proper maintenance equals preventative maintenance.