For any construction company to see profit, it’s vital that heavy machinery that’s being used is well maintained and in working order. You can look to preventative maintain programs as a first step, but if you’re not keeping up with the program, equipment is bound to fail, cost a lot to repair, and cause more long term problems too.
What is the best way by far is to have those plans but conduct them on a daily or hourly basis. It seems excessive, but when you’re working with heavy machines, keeping them optimal is key.
On top of this, we’ve included a checklist below to guide you through what to be looking out for. Following this checklist will ensure operators are accountable while extending the life expectancy of equipment.
Maintenance Of Heavy Equipment Checklist
This checklist is broken down into two forms of checks: what must be checked daily and what should be checked every hour while the machine is being used.
All of the equipment you’re working with is going to be used at different times and for different durations. It’s this reason it’s best to schedule preventative maintenance based on hours it’s being used rather than on a specific date.
Daily Pre-Operation Checks
Before you even start the machine, operators should do a visual inspection and log it into the log book before signing off and starting their shift. These checks contain things like visual inspections and hands-on work during, and after using the equipment. Operators should also note any issues that they noticed to ensure they’re addressed quickly.
Before starting the equipment, the specific checks you want to be look at are the following:
- Ensure the equipment is parked in a safe spot.
- Look for any tripping hazards and hazards overhead.
- Inspect the condition of the equipment for damaged, work, or loose parts.
- Check for leaks and wet spots.
- Run a fluid analysis. Specifically the oil, power steering, and windshield washer fluid levels
- Look at the undercarriage for worn or missing bogies or rollers, track tension, and condition of excavators.
- Check tires for low or sagging tires and general wear.
- Review valve stems to see if the caps are present and secure.
- Check steering for excessive play.
- Belts for cracks, fraying, or splits.
- Hoses to see if they’re pinched, cracked, or loose.
- The suspension system to determine if the equipment bounces or vibrates when it’s in motion. Pay attention to irregular noises as well when the machine is going over bumps or turning the wheel.
- The battery too. If it’s accessible easily, check the cables, clamps and connections. Look for loose parts and corrosion.
- And lastly cab conditions. This involves checking the glass, mirrors, wiper blades, horn, and seat belts.
When starting up the machine, perform the following checks after the equipment is running for five to 10 minutes:
- Air filter system for any warnings and whether the filter needs to be replaced or cleaned.
- Listen for any noises that don’t sound right.
- Note the gauges on the dashboard and determine whether they appear to be working and are at safe levels.
- Test the lights, high beams, signals, brake lights and backup lights.
- Check the hydraulic system if applicable. For example, for dump trucks, raise the dump body. Listen for any unusual sounds and note any leaks and whether it’s working optimally.
- Check the fluid levels. The same ones mentioned above along with hydraulic oil, swing drives, and engine coolant if applicable.
- Test the breaks to see they work.
Daily Operating Checks
When the machine is being used, you want to watch and listen for the following irregularities:
- Any unusual noises
- Check the gauges
- Feeling for excessive vibrations
- And for equipment changes in performance.
Along the same lines, when the machine is being shut down, perform the following actions:
- Fill the fuel tank
- Idle the engine for five minutes before shutting it down completely
- Park the vehicle in a safe spot
- Clean or wash the vehicle if possible.
On top of this, you also want to be doing maintenance on it once a certain amount of hours of machine use have been clocked.
At the 250-500 hour mark you want to make additional checks and actions of the following:
- Change the oil.
- Change oil filters
- Change engine air filters
- And change fuel filters.
At every 1,000 to 1,200 hours:
- Replace cabin air filters
- Replace coolant filters (if applicable)
- Run an inspection on the air dryer (if applicable)
Every 4,800 hours to 5,000 hours:
- Change the return filters. This applies for heavy equipment such as hydraulic excavators
- Check the hydraulic filters. They should be replaced if they’re at 80% or less.
- Check the hydraulic oils for filling or changing.
- Do a transmission differentials service
- Look at the pins and bushing to see if there play in the joints and whether they’re worn out.
- Check the radiator.
- Change the antifreeze unless the coolant that’s used is Extended Life Coolant (ELC)
- Inspect the hydraulic tank.
Additional Maintenance Checks
Beyond the daily and hourly maintenance checks, you also want to be performing the following actions. These actions will come in handy because even with the checklist above will help with preventative maintenance, some of these checks may fall through the cracks.
These additional maintenance checks can cover the bases very well. Those are:
- Performing a cross-reference with the equipment manual. These manuals have manufacturer’s recommendations that operators and fleet managers should know when it comes to maintenance.
- Have regular maintenance performed on it. Even with all of those checks, management of heavy equipment requires you have a maintenance schedule. Those maintenance performances though will be easier though if operators are performing the checks mentioned above and recording complications.
- Be familiar with the equipment history and storing service records. Every piece of heavy equipment has this and more. Details on maintenance history, repairs and any major issues or incidents. Operators and managers should know this as they can take measures moving forward.
- Get some software to track heavy equipment maintenance. Tread.io is a fleet management software that collects fleet and driver data and is a great assistance tool in preventative maintenance scheduling, dispatching and management. Having these systems in place can remove a lot of the guesswork.