Contractors and construction companies invest a lot of money into heavy equipment. It’s a significant investment, and keeping those expensive vehicles in proper working order is a top priority. Like any vehicle, heavy equipment must be maintained both in and out of the shop to keep it going for a long life. In this article, we will go over some key tips from our Fleet maintenance team on how to keep your equipment running.
Keep a Record
First and foremost is to always keep your operational records up to date. That means every time you perform maintenance or any type of service to your heavy equipment, keep an accurate log of doing so. You can easily outline protocol by using service checklists, and you can also make notes of any repairs and inspections made. This way, new employees will have an easier time looking over maintenance requirements, and everyone will be on the same page.
Detailing is Key
Our Hyundai heavy equipment does a lot of dirty work. Always be sure to keep the machine clean to preserve their lifespans. Scheduling and maintaining a regular cleaning detail will keep your equipment running for much longer than if you left them dirty.
Not only do these vehicles work in dirty environments, but they also sit outside in the elements. No matter how tough these beasts are, they can still be susceptible to exposure from the sun, moisture, dirt devils, and other weather conditions. You need to ensure that the equipment is regularly cleaned. This also helps you see what parts may require maintenance. Having clean equipment isn’t just about keeping up appearances. It’s also about keeping up proper maintenance.
Check the Fluids
Fluids are essential for any vehicle. Without the appropriate amount of fluids, the machine’s inner working will seize up, and a lot of damage could be done. Proper lubrication ensures that all of the gears and mechanisms are running properly.
While some heavy equipment may use more fluids than others, keeping the liquids topped off is always a good idea. Antifreeze will ensure that the engine is working smoothly, and windshield wiper fluid keeps the glass clean so that the operator can see what he/she is doing. You also want to make sure that you keep track of the fluid refills in your operational records. If you start to notice a rapid decline in a particular fluid compartment, that may indicate something is wrong.
Become a Greaser
Fluid levels aren’t the only lubrication that is needed to keep equipment running smoothly. Greasing and oiling various components is extremely important. Heavy-duty construction equipment uses large metal gears inside the motors. If you keep these pieces well lubricated with the right oil or grease, you can extend the machine’s lifespan. Just like with fluid levels, you need to keep track of every time you grease the equipment’s parts. Documentation will help you pinpoint the source of the problem if one should arise later on. For instance, if you notice that the gears are seizing up sooner than they should, there may be an underlying maintenance issue that needs to be addressed.
Pay Attention to Wires
With heavy equipment, it isn’t all about strength and grinding gears. There are many delicate electrical components involved in moving such a large piece of equipment as well. As you probably learned in your high school science class, electricity and water don’t mix. That’s why it is crucial to ensure that the equipment’s electrical systems are protected from the elements. Heavy machinery is outside constantly. Oftentimes, machines will have to work on job sites that aren’t completely dry. They could even be left out in the rain. While no one plans to leave their equipment in a storm, things happen. That’s why ensuring that the electrical systems are protected is extremely important to proper fleet maintenance. One easy way to protect your equipment’s electrical components is to cover the machine with a tarp while it sits outside. Weather conditions such as rain, sleek, hail, and snow can cause moisture to leak inside the machine. Without the appropriate protection, this can dramatically reduce the lifespan of the machines and cut down on their productivity levels.
Check the Tires
Part of performing proper fleet maintenance is to check on the welfare of the tires and axles routinely. These massive wheels are put through the wringer constantly. Not only are they holding up a piece of machinery that weighs thousands of pounds, but they are also trekking through rough terrain. These aren’t you’re typically all-terrain tires. These are heavy-duty tires that are designed to take a beating.
Nevertheless, you still need to check on them periodically to ensure that everything is working well, and there isn’t any significant damage to the tread. Since the tires come into direct contact with rocks, mud, loose gravel, and even debris, it’s easy for chunks of any of these materials to get lodged into the axles. Taking a look can help you avoid any potential problems that could lead to early retirement for your machines. Be sure to check the tire tread, the dump truck, and the axles. Also, do not forget to document your findings on whether everything is normal or not.
Inspect for Leaks
You’ve heard of oil leaks that can cause visible spills on the ground, but there are other leaks that you should check for as well. Valves can leak, and when they do, it’s never a good thing. Every time you clean the equipment, you should also check for any leakage. If you find a leak, you should schedule maintenance to get it fixed as soon as possible. Fixing the leaks as you find them, can help to avoid more significant problems in the future.
Ensure Proper Alignment
Although construction equipment is built to conquer rough terrain, traveling through mud and over rocks can take a toll on the machine’s alignment. This can be especially true for any equipment that operates on axles. Regularly inspecting the vehicle’s alignment can ensure that the machine is operating at the maximum level of productivity.
Adhere to Manufacturer Requirements
Even though these machines are built to take a beating, limits are imposed for a reason. You should never exceed these limitations, and you should always be sure that you are following the appropriate manufacturer requirements for each model. Ignoring these requirements can lead to a shortened lifespan for your machines.
Train Your Employees
Everyone on your team needs to be on the same page as far as proper fleet maintenance goes. Be sure to train your employees to inspect each piece of equipment thoroughly and document their findings. If every operator for each machine is sticking to the maintenance/inspection schedule, then your fleet should remain in good working order for the manufacturer-estimated lifespan.
Store the Machines
We understand that sometimes heavy equipment gets left outside at a job site. It’s not always practical to send the machines home. However, whenever you can, the equipment should be stored correctly to ensure a longer lifespan. If you can’t bring the machine inside for any reason, covering them with a tarp will help protect them from exposure to the elements.
Quality Fleet Service
That was a lot of information, but we at Quality Fleet Service can answer any questions you may have. Additionally, we will always be ready to service your heavy machinery or take a look when you think something could be wrong. Do you need service on your equipment? Give us a call today!