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Take the Guesswork Out of Excavator Maintenance

January 10, 2022

Technician preforming excavator maintenence

Properly maintaining your excavator is essential to maximizing the potential of your fleet. A well-kept machine is less likely to break down, which saves you time, money and stress.

Proper care will drastically extend the lifespan of your excavator. Keeping up with even a single machine can be challenging. Many parts of an excavator will eventually wear and will need to be serviced or replaced.

This is where a maintenance plan can minimize downtime and streamline the entire process. There are two methods for regular machine maintenance. 

  • Routine maintenance refers to a plan in which the machine is periodically sent in for a checkup. This includes changing wear parts, such as fluids, filters, and belts. Every machine follows a maintenance schedule, which determines what parts need replacing and when.
  • Preventive maintenance: This involves monitoring the machine closely to predict and catch potential problems before they arise. When done correctly, it’s an extremely cost-effective method, because it helps machine owners avoid breakdowns or other issues that might delay work. 

Preventive Maintenance Tips

Build a schedule that spells out what maintenance tasks are needed. Every task should have a specific schedule for when it needs to be done, whether it’s once a day or once a year. For example, a pre-start checklist should always be done before operating the machine. If you or your workforce are inconsistent, then you will not be able to predict malfunctions.

Know Your Machine

Because preventive maintenance relies on spotting issues before they arise, it’s important to be familiar with the machine you are servicing. Always consult your excavator’s manual, and ensure everyone working with the machine is properly trained.

Pay Close Attention

Excavators are made of many small parts. Many of these parts have a limited lifespan, such as teeth on buckets or filters for fluids. In order to keep your excavator in working condition, you need to be able to find and fix problems before they cause a breakdown. Part of prevention is knowing your machine, but you (and everyone else who works on the machine) will need to keep a close eye on its condition as well.

Document Everything

Proper documentation makes monitoring your excavator’s health much easier. Although the objective of a preventive maintenance plan is to minimize breakdowns, they can still happen. Recorded information about the excavator’s health can help you figure out the issue faster. Even something as simple as filling out a checklist and filing it away can help you pinpoint when the machine broke down and what could have caused it.

It might sound difficult to keep track of everything, but EquipmentShare has a solution to streamline the process and save you the headache. With T3, you can pull information about the machine’s health, location, service history and more.

Daily Excavator Maintenance Checklist

This is an example inspection checklist. It’s best to create your own maintenance plan, based on your needs.

Pre-Start Checklist

  • Check that the machine is parked correctly and safe to start.
  • Check for damaged or worn-out parts, especially parts that often need to be replaced, like belts, hydraulic lines and hoses.
  • Check the undercarriage for any leaks or loose parts. If the machine is wheeled, check the tires to make sure they are undamaged and properly inflated.
  • Check the cab of the excavator for damaged or broken windows, mirrors and seat belts.
  • Check all fluid levels, including the fluids for your engine, power steering and hydraulics.

Start Checklist

  • Start the engine and allow it to idle for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Listen for any unusual noises.
  • Feel for any odd vibrations or other problems with the suspension system.
  • Check the gauges on the dashboard for anything that needs to be fixed or replaced.
  • Test the excavator’s hydraulic system by moving the arm and boom. Pay attention to odd noises or movements.
  • Test all of the lights on the vehicle, including headlights, backup lights and brake lights.
  • Test that the brakes work properly.

Shutdown Checklist

  • Park the excavator in a safe place and set the parking brake.
  • Allow the engine to idle for 5 to 10 minutes before turning off.
  • Refill the fuel tank.
  • Clean the machine and pick up any trash.

Ultimately, the key to good preventive maintenance is understanding your machine and your project. A Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) is a document that operators use to report any potential problems. 

Streamline Your Preventive Maintenance Process

Look no further than T3 by EquipmentShare, the award-winning fleet management technology. T3 works on all makes and models, and it captures and digests rich machine data on breakdowns. EquipmentShare’s data scientists use that information to build preventive models. That knowledge is then incorporated into the T3 system and can alert customers if similar symptoms are taking place on an asset – even if it goes unnoticed by the instruments or the operator.

Learn More About T3

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.