When it comes to heavy construction, nothing quite matches the mighty Excavator. With more applications than simply moving the earth, this expensive tool is in high demand and quite costly… and it is going to need maintenance from time to time. This is why you need to take good care of your investment. From time to time, when parts need to replaced then it begs the question. Should you go with new or used excavator parts? In this article we will talk about the advantages of both, as well as go into preventative maintenance and even a few tips about what you can do to extend the life of your excavator.
Should I choose new or used parts if something needs to be replaced?
There are advantages to both of these options. New parts are going to be the most cost-effective in the long term. This, of course, is because new parts are going to last longer before you need to replace them and are likely going to have a warranty with a bit more heft associated with them. By contrast, used parts can be obtained more cheaply when you have a bottom-line in your budget to worry about and completely new parts are not practical at the time. These are still good parts, as they have been re calibrated and re-machined in order to meet high-quality standards so they will last a long time… just not as long as new parts. Excavators are powerful machines and replacement of these parts are going to be costly either way so the best policy is going to be to adopt a little preventative maintenance.
What is preventative maintenance?
Preventative maintenance is the practice of ensuring that a few basics of machine care are being followed in order to maximize the life of the machine. This can include the replacement of small, inexpensive parts that wear out quickly, maintaining necessary fluids, proper cleaning, and the like. When it comes to your excavator here is a quick checklist that you should always follow:
- Manage fluids – Make sure that you have enough oil and coolant and also that the fuel/water separator has been drained. While you are at it, grease the pins and bushings.
- Watch that suspension – The suspension should not be too loose or too tight, this is important.
- WDB – Check out your wear plates, the dust ejector, and the bucket teeth before using your excavator.
- Radiator and coolers – Make sure that you clean out the radiator and that your coolers don’t have any residual debris.
- Cab check – Make sure that your controls, alarms, seat-belts, and all lights are in good working order before use.
- Watch out for strange noises – You know what your machine sounds like by now. If ANYTHING sounds amiss then you need to investigate. Yes, it will cost you a little time but ignoring something like this can cost you a LOT of time and money.
What else can I do to extend the lifespan of my excavator?
We’re glad that you’ve asked. There are some other tips that we can give you in regards to your heavy machinery. Some best practices for your excavator include the following:
- Don’t neglect regular maintenance – You will want to have the machine professionally serviced at regular intervals, especially if you are renting the vehicle out. Unless you are an expert in excavator maintenance and repair then it is essential that you don’t neglect those third-party checks.
- Document your maintenance – You should document your maintenance and all preventative maintenance done. We recommend using a logbook specific to the machine for the former, for the latter, a checklist is quite useful. This makes it easy for anyone who is using the machine to inspect it and ensure that preventative maintenance is being done each time. Logging the history of the machine in this fashion also gives you a ‘birds eye’ view so that if problems begin developing you have a record of when it began that can help you immensely later. Another checklist documenting fluid levels is good as well, as you can note trends and changes before they become potential disasters.
“If problems begin developing you have a record of when it began”
- Educate your employees – Spending a little time now in training your employees in proper usage and preventative maintenance is a very good idea. Knowledgeable users are going to put less wear and tear on your expensive machinery and more importantly, they will be safer. These machines are very powerful and a little forethought through training can make all the difference. Grounding in the proper terminology also means that your employees will appear like the professionals that they are to your clients, generating more confidence in your firm and getting you more business in the long run. A little training is all it takes.
- Lunch with your operators – A good way to ensure that your machines are being taken care of is the occasional lunch with your operators. A seasoned operator gets a feel for ‘their’ machine and they might notice things from time to time that they don’t report right away. By having a weekly lunch and checking with them you can get an instant report on things of this nature and what was done, saving yourself a little time in reviewing the logs if you are on a busy schedule.
In this article we’ve discussed the advantages and disadvantages of both new and used parts, as well the importance and practice of preventative maintenance. Minimizing issues now and educating your employees in the proper use and maintenance of your machines is the key to good safety as well as the long life of your machine. Without them you can experience machine failure and important project deadlines may not be met, so neglect these things at your own peril. Lastly, just be sure to log as you go. After all, a little time now on your part means a LOT more time with your excavator!