Modern heavy equipment manufactured by Caterpillar® and other leading Allied brands is built to last and perform in the toughest operating environments — provided you take proper care of it. Equipment such as large hydraulic excavators, track and wheel loaders and off-highway trucks are capable of getting a lot done over a long and productive service life. However, if you’re not diligent when it comes to maintenance, they can just as easily break down and malfunction, resulting in increased operating expenses, downtime and unsafe work conditions.
If you’re focused on getting the most out of your fleet, consider these top dos and don’ts when it comes to heavy equipment maintenance.
- Follow Service Schedules – It can be difficult to follow factory recommended service and intervals for your heavy equipment exactly, but smart equipment managers understand that it is a vital part of maximizing the life of your equipment. Following a maintenance plan laid out by experts who designed and built the equipment is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep it in prime operating condition. From oil changes and track adjustments to scheduling annual maintenance inspections and replacing critical components, service schedules are like a roadmap to achieving maximum return on investment.
- Perform Daily Inspections – The best way to stay in tune with the health of your equipment is by training your operators to perform daily inspections. Conducting inspections will not only help spot small, easily fixable issues before they grow to become a more significant problem, but it will also contribute to a safer job site. Walk-around inspections are done at the beginning and the end of shifts, with operators reviewing dozens of fault points and using all of their senses to identify signals the equipment may require immediate services or repairs.
- Ignore Warning Signs – Dashboard warning lights and audible alarms are never a welcome sight, but we should be thankful they’re there to tell us when there’s an issue with our equipment. When you get one of these warnings, it means to get it checked out as soon as possible — not wait a few days to see if it turns off on its own. Additional signs not to be ignored include diminished performance, unusual sounds coming from the engine, power train, transmission or hydraulics, low fluid levels and leakage, the smell of noxious fumes or smoke coming from the exhaust system.
- Cut Corners – Some equipment has lower maintenance requirements and lower service intervals. The right used or rebuilt part or component will be just as good as a more expensive new product. There are even services and repairs you can perform without the help of a professional technician. However, there’s never a time to choose cheap products or trust unreliable sources when maintaining heavy equipment. Using quality products and partnering with a reputable service provider helps reduce long-term operating costs, eliminates safety concerns and extends the life of your equipment.
Are you looking for a local, reliable source for parts and services? MacAllister Machinery is the authorized Cat dealer serving clients across Indiana, Michigan and beyond. From basic maintenance and annual inspections to advanced monitoring and comprehensive fleet management services, we’re experts in caring for heavy equipment. Visit us online to learn more about our equipment services today.