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  • Writer's pictureCWSL

Why You Need to Be Proactive About Machine Maintenance

FACT: Preventive maintenance can reduce machinery repair bills by 25 percent.

Being proactive in your heavy equipment maintenance schedule helps prevent expensive downtime. Regular maintenance helps predict when failure is likely to occur, allowing you to find a solution to problems BEFORE they happen.

First things first, you need to ensure that you keep good maintenance records.

It’s a great idea to keep track of all maintenance procedures in one place so once a procedure is being done, you have an easy reference to ensure that it is taken care of properly.

Mount a service record chart for each vehicle or piece of equipment and ensure that each has a notebook to allow operators to easily record problems and observations.

Follow the "Preventative Maintenance Guide" in the operator's manual for each piece of equipment.

Use a large planning calendar for noting major repair and service operations to be carried out on each piece of machinery in the months ahead to give you a great visual of what needs to happen when.

Checklists are a great idea, especially when it comes to vehicle maintenance.

A heavy equipment maintenance checklist is highly recommended to help in remembering tasks and ticking them off as servicing is complete. Documenting your machinery servicing lets you plan for future tasks. This includes being reminded to order replacement parts, fluids and filters, as well as scheduling maintenance that needs including the expertise of your dealer.

Use the following equipment checklist as your guide:

The first part of any preventive maintenance checklist should be done from outside the vehicle.

  • Lights: If your vehicle has any lights — headlights, brake lights, warning lights, etc. — they should be inspected to ensure they are working properly. Any burned-out bulbs should be replaced.

  • Steps, handrails, and grab irons: Ensure all these grab points are secure and that they aren’t rusty or damaged, which could make them dangerous.

  • Undercarriage: This is especially important if you work in areas where it snows or your equipment is exposed to salt or road de-icing chemicals. Inspect the undercarriage for signs of rust or damage.

  • Brakes: This step has a variety of things you will need to inspect, including the filters, fluid levels, lines and fittings, and the parking brake. If any of these things look like they’re getting ready to fail, it is a good idea to take the equipment off the floor until it can be repaired.

  • Electrical lines: Inspect any exposed wires to ensure their insulation is intact.

  • Hydraulic lines: Inspect these lines for any signs of leaks that could cause equipment failure.

  • Hydraulic oil: The oil that is carried through the hydraulic lines needs to be inspected, too. Look at the oil levels, and check the hoses, cylinders and fittings for any leaks.

  • Fuel tank: The cap should be in place on a fuel tank, and the tank itself should be inspected to ensure there are no dents in the metal that could weaken the tank and lead to leaks.

  • Lift arms: If the equipment has any lift arms, they should be inspected and checked for rust, leaky hydraulics and other weak points.

  • Body: Inspect the body of the equipment for rust, damage or other potential problem points.

  • Grease lines: If your equipment has grease lines, check them for leaks.

  • Check for leaks: Other places that leaks could occur might be in coolant lines, fuel lines or tires.

  • Work tools: For any smaller work tools, make sure to inspect their cutting edge or teeth to see if they need sharpening.

Once the exterior of the machine has been examined, the next step is to look under the hood.

Fluid levels: Oil, engine coolant and transmission oil levels need to be checked. Any fluids that are lower than their optimum level should be refilled, and the equipment should be checked for obvious leaks.

Air filter: Check the oil filter to see if it is dirty and needs to be replaced. These filters should be replaced regularly anyway, but a dirty filter can make your engine run poorly.

Belts and hoses: Belts should be inspected for signs of undue wear. They should be tight on the pulleys, but should not be pulling so hard that the pulleys themselves are damaged. Hoses should be inspected for leaks, and for signs of wear or dry rot.

Battery connections; Battery terminals should be inspected for signs of corrosion and replaced if they are damaged.

Covers and guard: Any existing safety covers or finger guards should be inspected to ensure they are in good shape. Any damaged covers should be removed and replaced.


Finally, you will want to inspect the cab of the equipment.

Outside the cab: Again, inspect any lights in the cab to ensure they’re working. Windows and mirrors should be inspected for clarity and any chips or cracks. Washer fluid levels should be checked, and any windshield wipers should be inspected for wear. Finally, ROPS should be inspected for any undue wear and tear.

Inside the cab: First, inspect the seat to ensure it is in good working order. Seatbelt installation dates should be checked. Recheck the mirrors and windows from the inside of the cab for any chips or cracks that aren’t visible from the outside. Make sure the pedals move easily and that all lights that are controlled from inside the cab turn on and off smoothly. If you keep a fire extinguisher in your cab, inspect it to ensure it is properly charged and has been inspected recently.


Once you rent or buy a piece of equipment from us you can be assured of:

  • Convenient, timely service at our facilities or at your work site

  • Professional support from our factory-trained technicians

  • Emergency response – we are on-call 24 hours

  • Complete documentation of equipment service history data

  • Regular inspections

An additional benefit is the training we provide to your operators to ensure that they are operating all machines effectively.

  • Knowledgeable machinery operators are more productive and cause less wear and tear on machinery than untrained workers.

  • Knowledgeable operators are also going to operator under all safety guidelines and protocols, protecting not just themselves, but those around them.

  • Properly trained operators will be more respectful of their equipment and more likely to look after it before, during and after carrying out their duties. That’s going to save you money in repairs and replacement.

  • Trained operators quickly identify failure indicators and report any damage or early warning signs that a machine is heading toward failure. This ensures that minor, inexpensive issues don’t become big and costly problems.

Our training process isn’t complicated or lengthy. We provide checklists which we see as a valuable tool to ensure maintenance steps are executed in a timely fashion. We provide clear communication about a machine’s limitations as well as instruction on the controls and monitoring systems. This helps increase the life of your vital machines.

At CWSL, we can assist you in developing operator training by including it in our Customer Value Agreement. We’ll assist as well in analyzing your heavy equipment, applications and requirements to help build a customized plan to improve the efficiency of your fleet, save you money and improve your return on investment. Reach out to us today to find out how we may be able to best serve you.

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