Performing regular preventive maintenance ensures your excavator delivers many years of reliable service. Creating a daily checklist and conducting routine visual inspections help maintain peak performance and efficiency over the life of your equipment. Inspections save your operation money by eliminating downtime and helping to prevent unnecessary repairs.
While different excavator models often have specific maintenance procedures, here are eight general tips to promote smooth daily operation.
1. Know Your Excavator
The most critical part of excavator maintenance is understanding your equipment. Although many excavators perform similar functions, their builds and components may differ significantly. Studying the excavator's manual and completing the required equipment and operator training is the first step in mastering this knowledge.
2. Perform Routine Inspections
Inspections for excavators are critical for safety and compliance. Daily assessments help your operators check for issues that can lead to more significant problems and repairs down the road. In addition, OSHA requires that annual equipment inspections be performed by a qualified professional.
3. Check Air & Fuel Filters
Clean, unclogged air and fuel filters allow engines to operate more powerfully and efficiently. Operators can check air filters visually for dirt and debris while ensuring that fluid moves freely through the fuel filter. Annual inspections are the perfect time to inspect and replace these components if needed. For more frequent inspections, tools like the Cat Inspect App can help you monitor machines in larger fleets daily.
4. Drain Water Separator
An excavator's water separator catches water and other contaminants in the fuel line or tank. Many of these components have a ring that indicates the amount of water inside them. Quick draining involves unscrewing the valve on top of the separator and allowing the moisture to escape.
5. Create A Prestart, Start & Shutdown Checklist
An essential part of your daily inspection routine involves creating a detailed checklist to follow before starting the excavator, during startup, and after shutdown. A thorough prestart assessment requires checking all the equipment's fluids while looking over the excavator for visual damage.
Operators should perform the startup portion of the inspection after allowing the engine to idle for five to ten minutes, checking the gauges, and listening for any usual noises or vibrations. After shutting the excavator down, operators should engage the parking brake, refill the fuel tank, recheck for visual damage, and clean all parts of the excavator properly.
6. Log Service Records
Keeping a detailed, handwritten log of each maintenance task performed on your equipment and tracking upcoming inspections saves your company time and money over the long haul. A physical logbook is vital for preventing confusion between teams, especially for larger fleets.
7. Maintain Excavator Undercarriages
Daily cleaning and monitoring of an excavator's undercarriage prevents buildup caused by excessive dirt and debris. If equipment isn't cleaned regularly, this buildup will accelerate wear and tear on critical components, particularly in colder climates. Excessive buildup can also add weight to the excavator, causing decreases in fuel economy.
8. Check Track Tensioning & Drives
Correct tensioning ensures optimal performance of your track drive motors and other primary components. If tracks are too tight, it will accelerate the wear and loose life out of the links. Loose tracks can accelerate wear on the undercarriage's vital parts, like the sprockets and idler bearings. Cleaning the area around the drive motor helps ensure optimal track tension.
WATCH THIS! TIPS FROM EMPIRE'S UNDERCARRIAGE SPECIALIST
Preventative Maintenance With Empire
Besides supplying high-performance heavy equipment solutions across the Southwest, Empire prides itself on offering industry-best training on operational instruction, technical guidance, and preventive maintenance. Discover the services, resources, and tools we offer to keep your excavators running smoothly.