Six Easy Tips To Maintain Compact And Small Heavy Equipment

Taking care of your compact and small heavy equipment is essential for the health of your business and investments. Equipment failure can cause downtime for your business, which results in lost revenue and increased labor requirements. Maintenance helps keep your equipment running and increases its life span, making it essential to protect your investment. 

Below are easy-to-implement tips you can apply to your equipment fleet in order to prevent unexpected and costly equipment failures. You'll also learn about the difference between routine and preventative maintenance and how Empire can actively partner with you to keep your machines running.

Easy Maintenance Tips & Resources


    Start by identifying what equipment will need more maintenance than others. Equipment that's critical to your operations and sees frequent use is a good candidate for preventive maintenance. Equipment you need less often is likely better suited to routine maintenance. Create a program with the timeline and specific tasks to complete for each type of equipment. This can include regular inspections, testing, and component replacements or modifications.


    Train your operators and technicians on proper equipment maintenance, including operating heavy equipment correctly. Operators who know what they're doing are more productive on the job and less likely to cause unnecessary wear. You should also consider including your technicians and operators in the program creation process. They work with your equipment daily and are likely to have valuable insight into what maintenance tasks will ensure machines get the best care possible. 


    A checklist can help your operators keep track of the tasks they need to complete when performing maintenance. The tasks below will vary depending on whether you perform routine or preventive maintenance, how often you need to perform the following tasks, and what climate conditions your machine is working in.


    • Filter inspections
    • Tire pressure and tread depth
    • Check for cracks or damage
    • Inspecting attachments, such as hoses or cylinders
    • Regular lubrication
    • Regular cleaning


    Empire has a comprehensive Summer Checklist and Winter Checklist to prepare your business for seasonal changes. 


    When performing maintenance, you may need to replace parts or learn how you can utilize self-service options. Now, it's easier than ever to find and order the right parts with online tools like the Cat Central app where you can have access to all genuine Cat parts. If you need additional help, our team at any location near you can offer support to your business and can keep a record of all orders and services.


    Keep a detailed record of the service and maintenance you perform on your equipment. It will help you keep track of what tasks your technicians completed and when, so you can determine when your equipment needs service again. Documentation helps to determine when to retire equipment and upgrade to something new. Digital tools like Cat Inspect can help provide checklists and performance recommendation services at the appropriate intervals while saving you the trouble of losing paper documentation.


    Understanding what causes heavy equipment failure is an excellent way to prevent it from happening and how to react if something does happen. Some different types of failures include:


    • Sudden failures happen without warning and usually require part replacements or repairs before the equipment can return to service.
    • Gradual failure typically results from normal wear and tear and is preventable through regular maintenance and inspections - noting components and parts that are wearing down so you can replace them before a failure occurs.
    • Intermittent failure can be challenging to determine and happens sporadically, usually at random. You can anticipate causes of failure and address them during maintenance.
  • Routine and Preventive Maintenance Difference

    Equipment maintenance is a scheduled, proactive approach to equipment care rather than a reaction to a failure or a problem. Regular maintenance can help reduce the risk of equipment failure that requires expensive repairs or replacements. There are two primary types of equipment maintenance, routine and preventive - both are needed.

    Set Up A Routine

    Following a routine schedule usually involves regular straightforward maintenance tasks that don't require specialized skills, but reduce operating costs and prevent unnecessary equipment downtime. Here are some tasks to add to your list:

    • Tire inspections
    • Lubricating components
    • Filter and oil changes
    • Pressure tests
    • Checking the parking brake
    • Checking transmission fluid
    • Checking engine coolant

    Prevent Expensive Fixes

    Take a big-picture approach and look for potential problems to fix equipment before it breaks down with preventative maintenance.

    You can base your preventive maintenance on a timed or usage schedule. A timed schedule means performing your inspections at specific intervals. A usage schedule calls for inspections after you've used the machines for a set number of hours.

    Since preventive maintenance is more complex, it can be more costly than routine maintenance. However, if your equipment is critical to your business's operations and a breakdown is more likely due to prolonged use, you may want to consider implementing a preventive maintenance program. 

    Empire is here to help


    If you're looking for service assistance or parts to keep your compact and small heavy equipment protected, our team is here to help. We offer genuine Cat parts and our knowledgeable technicians can walk you through a maintenance process - extending the life of your small heavy equipment. As an example of what we'd suggest for daily maintenance check out this video for Compact Track Loaders and Skid Steer Loaders.

    You can always expect quick and efficient service to get you back to work.


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