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5 ways to improve your heavy equipment maintenance routines

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When the job requires the use of heavy equipment, whether at the construction site or on the farm, machinery that isn't running at maximum efficiency is lost money, plain and simple.

To avoid seeing equipment efficiency dwindle, sending money down the drain, you need to have a good handle on maintenance for all your heavy equipment.

With that said, here are some tried and true ways to improve your maintenance routines.

1. Create a preventative maintenance plan

While you're paying attention to any signs of wear, there are also many steps you can take to prevent other problems.

Consider developing a preventative maintenance plan for each piece of heavy equipment in your vehicle fleet. These plans put in place scheduled inspections, part replacements and performance tests.

Preventative maintenance will help you anticipate upcoming needs and costs for your equipment and will assist in managing the regular wear and tear of frequent operation.

These types of plans also reduce the chances of your vehicle breaking down suddenly, the need to repair or replace more critical parts of your machinery and can even extend your equipment life.

How to create your preventative maintenance plan

Not sure what to include in your preventative maintenance plan? Check your heavy equipments' owner's manuals. You'll find recommended maintenance, what parts you will need and more.

At a minimum, we recommend at least including the following aspects in your plan:

  • Perform a visual inspection on any moving parts.
  • Check fluids and oils.
  • Adhere to any scheduled maintenance recommendations in owner's manuals.
  • Explain to operators who they should report issues to.
  • Clean equipment on a regular basis.

Go through these steps regularly to stay on top of equipment maintenance.

Track work with a heavy equipment maintenance checklist

On a related note, while you're going through the preventative maintenance steps in your plan, make sure to track what components have been checked, tested, repaired or replaced in a checklist.

Documenting these steps in a checklist creates a reliable maintenance record that can be useful when you're trying to troubleshoot issues down the road.

Again, consult your owner's manuals to make see what the manufacturer recommends as far as maintenance goes and how often you inspect and replace certain components.

2. Keep an eye out for wear

Heavy equipment gets put through the wringer. Though the machinery is designed to withstand the heavy workload and rough work conditions. Eventually, odds are something will go wrong at some point.

However, you can minimize how serious the problem becomes by keeping an eye on the everyday wear and tear on each piece of equipment. Be sure to watch extra closely any moving parts on your heavy equipment.

A few common signs of wear that need to be addressed due to mechanical issues are:

  • Vibrations
  • Shock
  • High temperatures
  • Equipment age
  • Fluid leaks
  • Fuel inefficiency

Each of these issues has many possible sources. If you're not sure what's causing an issue, always take your equipment to a trusted mechanic before the problem gets worse.

3. Have spare parts on-hand

Many mechanical failures are caused by parts that need to be replaced. Part failure normally isn't a matter of "if," but rather "when." especially in heavy equipment.

Don't risk not being able to make a quick fix. Keep an inventory of spare parts at the ready so you can replace when needed.

This will not only speed up the repair process, but it will also save time from going parts shopping and waiting for the right part to be delivered or installed by someone else.

Plus, if you have put in place a preventative maintenance plan and schedule, then you're like going to have spare parts kept on hand for all those smaller part repairs and replacements.

Make sure inventory management is part of your preventative maintenance plan. Keep track of what parts you've replaced, what parts you have in your inventory and what parts you will need to order when the time comes to restock.

4. Know the environment

Where your equipment operates can have a significant impact on wear and tear or increase the risk of machinery breakdown.

For example, if you're operating your heavy equipment in very cold temperatures, then there are specific problems that can arise.

Make sure to take into account how the environment could affect your equipment. Factors to watch include temperature, moisture and terrain makeup.

As long as you're aware of how where your working could affect your machinery, you'll be able to better plan what preventative steps need to be taken to keep everything on-site running smoothly.

5. Continually train your heavy equipment operators

It won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows their way around heavy equipment to suggest experience operators tend to cause less damage.

However, heavy equipment is always evolving. Your operators' skill sets need to develop and improve to keep up. Make sure your operators are up to speed on the capabilities of the machinery they're running and know what to keep an eye for maintenance needs.

Continued training doesn't just apply to specific pieces of equipment, though. Each of your employees should be briefed regularly on all of what's expected of them to keep your equipment in working order, including your preventative maintenance plan.

You could also consider making new training opportunities available to everyone who handles your machinery, from the new hires to the most-seasoned operators. This is especially key if you're introducing a new piece of equipment to your fleet.

Keep your heavy equipment running longer

If you're looking to improve your heavy equipment's fuel consumption, engine performance, engine life and maintenance needs, then one solution that's too often overlooked is keeping aire filters cleaned.

Our Filter Blaster products offer all these benefits, leading to proven cost savings and performance improvements. We've tested our products on a variety of large, diesel-engine heavy equipment.

Air Filter Blaster has a wide variety of products that deliver results. Find the right product for your equipment.

If you have any questions, send us a message.

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