Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” At the time, he was reminding the citizens of Philadelphia to remain vigilant about fire awareness and prevention. (Smokey the Bear hadn’t been created yet.) However, I think this quote is also applicable when we talk about preventive maintenance on your heavy equipment. Preventive maintenance is super important for your heavy equipment. The primary benefit of a good heavy equipment preventive maintenance program is that it maximizes the longevity of your equipment. After all, heavy equipment requires a hefty investment. To help you get the best ROI possible, we have put together the following Caterpillar maintenance schedule for you.
There are many factors to consider when determining the interval in which you schedule maintenance on your Caterpillar equipment. Most intervals occur according to the following machine characteristics: age, condition, running hours, and distance traveled. You should also consider the environment in which they work. A machine operating on rough gravel will require more diligent upkeep than one operating on soft grass and soil. We recommend performing preventive maintenance according to the following Caterpillar maintenance schedule at least once every 90 days. You can adjust this based on the previously listed characteristics.
Step One: Bottom to Top Inspection
Suspension: Examine the springs, shocks, struts, and undercarriage of the suspension system. Take note of any corrosion, wear and tear, and damage. Inspecting the suspension is crucial when operating in areas where salt is common.
Lubrication: Consistent lubrication of the joints and sleeves is essential to your heavy equipment. Greasing the machine will lead to smoother operations and minimize any damage. Check the grease lines of your machine for leaks as this will cause further damage in the future if not addressed properly.
Lift arms: Inspect the lift arms for leaking hydraulic lines, rust, and weak points.
Hydraulic oil: Top off the hydraulic oil if necessary. Then, Check the hydraulic lines, cylinders, hoses, and fittings for leaks.
Fuel: Make sure the fuel delivery system is working properly. Otherwise, the machine won’t run, and that would suck.
Brakes: Inspect the equipment’s brake line fluid levels, filters, connections, and pressure. Secondly, ensure that the brake pads, drums, discs, and shoes are in good shape. Lastly, check the parking brake and fitting.
Electrical lines: Check for exposed wires, as those can be dangerous. Then, ensure insulation is intact. You should also have a mechanic test the voltage and amperage of the equipment’s electrical lines as you examine the cables and fuses.
Attachments: Examine the accessory for proper attachment to the equipment. After all, the accessories are as important as the equipment itself. There, you just completed the first step of the Caterpillar maintenance schedule. Nice job!
Step Two: Primary Component Examination
Tracks: If your equipment runs on tracks, check for wear and tear. Inspect closely the idlers, cleats and treads, rollers, sprockets, shoes, and links. If using rubber tracks, conduct an examination of its torsion axles and tension.
Exhaust: Turn on your machine and listen closely for odd noises. Abnormal sounds can be an indication of poor engine performance. Examine the exhaust’s connections (hangers and clamps) and check for smoke, as that would be an indication of some really big problems. This is one of the most important tasks in your Caterpillar maintenance schedule.
Tires: Take note of the tire tread depth, wear, and PSI. Also, look at the balance and alignment of the tires and make sure everything is correct. Consider also inspecting the valve stems, axles, driveshafts, and the rim’s lug nuts.
Steering: Inspect all of the following—wheels, tie rods, idler arms, and ball joints.
Injectors: Clean or replace the injectors as needed. Check for clogging and other malfunctions as these can affect the engine’s power. Diesel engines depend on functioning nozzles to deliver fuel.
Batteries: Inspect the battery for corrosion, rust, and grime. It is important to keep terminals clean. Be sure to inspect the unit for leaks and cracks.
Belts: Because a lot of heavy machinery relies on belt-driven components, be sure to check the rubber elements for cracking, fraying, and discoloration. Next, make sure the belt has the appropriate slack and tension.
Hoses: Make note of the condition of the tubes. Inspect whether they have leaks, dry rot, or wear. If so, replace them.
Fluids: Examine the engine’s oil, transmission, windshield, hydraulic, coolant, and brake fluids. Top-up liquids when necessary and inspect for leaks. Low and missing fluids will give you a clear idea of what’s occurring inside the machine.
Filters: Inspect the following filters—oil, air, fuel, cabin, and hydraulic. Clean and replace as necessary.
Step Four: Cab Inspection
Windshield: Look over all the glass areas, (windshield, mirrors, and lights). Look for chips and cracks and make any necessary repairs.
Lights: Check the brake, warning, and headlights. Look for dead bulbs and replace them if necessary.
Safety devices: Carefully inspect safety devices such as the lights, seatbelts, horn, and locks. Also ensure the alarms, pedals, gauges, controls, hazard warnings, and fire extinguisher work well.
Handrails, steps, and grab bars: Ensure the security of these by checking for rust and damage.
It is not good enough to just have a Caterpillar maintenance schedule, you and your team must also diligently stick to it. This can often be easier said than done. To make sure your team is consistently performing preventive maintenance when necessary, we recommend trying the Preventive Maintenance Scheduling tool in the Equips web application. This allows you to schedule preventive maintenance ahead of time so you never forget. In fact, you can route preventive maintenance tasks both internally and to external service vendors if you use any.
To learn more, be sure to schedule a free demo below. We look forward to serving you!