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The Basics of Skid Steer Maintenance

February 20, 2022

Man changing a tire on a skid steer

Preventive Maintenance

Keeping your machine healthy means taking action before anything goes wrong. Preventive maintenance is a way to keep up with your machine, catching small problems before they can snowball into bigger problems. Most preventive maintenance plans involve keeping a close eye on your machine and following scheduled inspections. Keep the machine’s manual or maintenance guide on hand. Usually, it has instructions to help identify possible problems.

Daily Maintenance

Perhaps the most helpful thing you can do for your skid steer is to perform daily inspections. These only take a couple of minutes, but they can mean the difference between a quick part replacement and extended, unscheduled downtime. Every day, you should go through three steps:

  1. Do a quick visual inspection. Check for any worn or damaged hoses, bolts or seals. Now is also a good time to grease your pivot points.
  2. Check fluid levels on all of your fluids, including engine oil, hydraulic fluid, fuel, and coolant. While you’re working on the engine compartment, you should also look over your engine and hydraulics for leaks.
  3. Finally, check the tire pressure on every tire before starting your machine. Overinflated and underinflated tires will affect the performance and lifting capacity of your skid steer, not to mention the machine’s health.

Once you start your skid steer, you should allow it to idle for a few minutes. Listen for any unusual sounds and feel for any concerning movements.

Monthly Maintenance

Alongside daily checks, most heavy equipment will require some maintenance tasks around the 250-, 500- and 1,000-hour mark. What your machine needs at those time intervals is likely in the manual or maintenance guide. You’re most likely going to change your engine oil and replace any used filters. Although this might sound like common sense, it’s easy to forget just how integral the correct fluid level is to your skid steer’s operation.

Seasonal Maintenance

If you’re caught off-guard by a wave of extreme cold or heat, it could cost you days of lost time. That’s why you should take the time to adequately prepare your machine for the weather. Hot and cold weather can affect the viscosity and temperature of your fluid, so you should check these on top of your fluid level when starting up. This also applies to the grease, so double-checking your pins, bushings and pivots is a must.

When It’s Hot

In hot weather, your radiator and oil cooler are working extra hard to fight the heat. Make sure they are clean and working well before you start. For the same reason, you should keep an extra close eye on your coolant levels.

When It’s Cold

Your fluids’ viscosities are especially important in winter, as oil that is too cold can jell and cause serious damage to the machine. The cold also puts your battery at a greater risk of losing voltage. Whether you decide to take the battery to a service bay to recharge or replace it outright, tracking the battery’s voltage lets you make the decision before the machine can no longer operate.

How T3 Can Help With Equipment Maintenance

The most important part of your maintenance plan is an observant eye. Spotting problems before they turn into breakdowns is key to saving you repair costs and downtime. But what if you could keep track of your machine’s data without even touching it? 

With T3 by EquipmentShare, the operating system for construction, you can access all the info you need on your equipment — GPS location, machine use history, diagnostic codes, service history and more — to better control your assets and ensure they are always in top condition. 

If an issue occurs, you can place your work order from your desk or from the field in T3 and keep your workflow moving forward. But why only check your fleet’s battery and fluid levels during regular service intervals? Proactively monitor each machine’s maintenance needs by setting alerts for when they are running low on fuel, oil, coolant, DEF and more. Plus, our DTC Fault Code alerts don’t just tell you when a DTC code is triggered — they tell you why it was triggered, which allows you to quickly address the issue with limited downtime.

Get started on an online skid steer rental or shop for used skid steers.

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.