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500 Hours: Heavy Equipment Maintenance Tips

September 12, 2022

Technician servicing large equipment

If your heavy equipment hasn’t seen the inside of a service bay in a while, it might be time. The last thing you want is for your equipment to depreciate, especially if it’s preventable. 

Even so, most people let their machines operate well past their recommended service intervals. According to IIoT World, 82% of companies report they suffer from unplanned downtime. Heavy equipment maintenance can prevent heavy equipment repair.

How Do I Know What Maintenance I Need?

Every manufacturer has different required and recommended services. Models from the same OEM can vary when simple maintenance like fluid and filter changes need to be performed.

Age and Condition

It’s only natural that older machines require more maintenance. Parts might need to be replaced more often. This is doubly so if you have deferred maintenance tasks.

Type of Work 

Where you’re using your equipment and how you’re using it can affect different parts of the machine. Quarry work, for example, will quickly wear down the rollers and sprockets and likely cause dents and scratches to the body. Road work will wear down the tracks.


You may not always know what prior service has been done, especially if you have a pre-owned piece of equipment. Be prepared for costs that may be higher than you expect, and have a good understanding of how much you’re willing to spend to improve the state of your machine.

Daily and Weekly Equipment Checkups

It’s never a convenient time to bring your machine in for service. But, here’s an idea — double dip and have the techs do regular, routine maintenance while you’re there. Might as well make the trip even more worth it. 

First and foremost, your machines’ fluids should be inspected and refilled. This includes engine oil, fuel, hydraulic fluid and coolant. It’s also important to confirm all moving parts in the machine are properly greased and there are no visible leaks in the water separator, engine or hydraulic system. If your machine has tires, check the pressure check and fill them with air accordingly. Not only will this protect the tires, but it also will prevent unnecessary wear on the undercarriage.

Issues with any of these parts could very quickly lead to a breakdown. Having a professional check these for you will prevent these issues from costing you time and money on the jobsite.

Maintaining the Exterior Of Your Equipment

Now that you’ve reached 500 service hours, your machine has likely experienced some wear and tear. This is your opportunity to identify and fix these issues. However, it’s much more difficult to find issues on a dirty and clogged-up machine. Dirt, dust, mud, rocks and other debris build up fast. With your machine in service, however, you have the opportunity to start fresh.


Once clean, give the exterior of the machine a very thorough check. Likely, at 500 hours, you’ll find common wear items have degraded, so it is time to replace them. This can include anything from miscellaneous bolts to sprockets. Depending on the kind of work your machine carries out in its day-to-day operation, some of these might even be damaged. You’ll want to replace these to prevent further damage to the machine.


For safety reasons, you should check that all the decals on the machine are in clean and legible condition. If not, replacement decals are inexpensive and easy to apply.

Tracks, Rollers and Tires

You’ll also want to check the natural wear of your tracks, rollers and tires. These can be very expensive to replace, but operating with thin, worn or damaged tires can cost you much more.


Attachments such as buckets are also worth inspecting at this time. This is especially true for the teeth on your attachments, as they both wear down quickly and are easy to replace. Other attachments might have dents or nicks in their blades or be missing smaller parts. Replace them and prevent further damage to more integral parts of the equipment.


The cab is just as important to the health of the machine as any other part. Things like cracks in the windshield might seem minor now, but they can quickly grow into giant breaks. You can find replacement glass to fix these issues, as well as replacement mirrors, step ladders and other items to fix up your cab. It is extremely important at this time to check that your controls are in top shape — not only for the overall health of the machine, but also for the safety of the operator.

Maintaining the Interior Of Your Equipment

With the exterior of your machine cleaned and serviced, it’s time to turn to the internal parts. 


Each service mark — 250, 500 and 1,000 hours — will always include draining and replacing all fluids. This is different from the daily task of simply replenishing the engine oil, coolant and hydraulic fluid. Not only does fresh oil allow your machine to run more smoothly, but you also will want to flush all of your tanks and hoses while servicing. Then, refill the empty tanks with new fluid.

Hoses and Tanks

While your hoses and tanks are empty, it is best to inspect them for cracks, leaks and even dry rot. Even with brand new fluid, your machine will experience more breakdowns and long-term issues if these latent problems persist. Replacement hoses are easy to find and worth your time to install.

Belts, Bearings and O-Rings

Other items on your machine have also experienced general wear and tear, especially if it’s been awhile since your equipment was serviced. Belts, for example, fray and tear with regular use. Bearings and o-rings can break down. As smaller parts, they are easy to overlook, but it’s worth taking the time to closely inspect and properly replace.


Another essential piece of 500-hour service is replacing your filters. In particular, you absolutely need to replace your fuel filter by this point. Likely, you’ll also want to replace your oil, hydraulic and air filters. You can find individual filters, as well as filter kits to make replacement much easier.

Having an eye for detail is the best way to keep the inner workings of your equipment in good shape. Even if a frayed belt or loose bearing isn’t causing an issue now, replacing it ahead of time will prevent a breakdown in the future.

For all your replacement parts needs, you can check out the EquipmentShare Shop and read up on the basics of skid steer and excavator maintenance.

About EquipmentShare

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Columbia, Mo., EquipmentShare is a nationwide construction technology and equipment solutions provider dedicated to transforming the construction industry through innovative tools, platforms and data-driven insights. By empowering contractors, builders and equipment owners with its proprietary technology, T3, EquipmentShare aims to drive productivity, efficiency and collaboration across the construction sector. With a comprehensive suite of solutions that includes a fleet management platform, telematics devices and a best-in-class equipment rental marketplace, EquipmentShare continues to lead the industry in building the future of construction.