Downtime on a jobsite can be costly. Not only are you on a schedule, but you also don’t want to pay your employees not to work. There are several ways to decrease the likelihood of downtime and damage when it comes to excavators. As always, make sure to cite your manufacturer’s manual to find the best practices for your machine.

Schedule Regular Inspections

You don’t know about problems with your excavator if you don’t perform routine inspections. Starting with a walk-around inspection, the operator should make sure there are no leaks, inspect the tracks, pay attention to the rollers, and anything else within view. Other items to pay close attention to include the rock guards, track chains, track bolts, main idlers and rollers. Remember to read the manufacturer’s operation manual and follow the proper guidelines for maintenance.

Keep the Undercarriage Clean

Excavators are working in some of the dirtiest conditions and that leads to undercarriage build up quickly. Debris can cause damage and premature wear to the equipment. When working in muddy jobsites, the water stuck in the undercarriage can lead to rust and a breakdown of the components. In colder climates, the debris can freeze, causing damage to bolts, rollers, and other areas of the track. Plus, this debris can carry quite a weight. That added weight can lead to more fuel being used than necessary. Don’t let dirt lead to costly problems—clean out your excavator undercarriage regularly!

Pay Attention to Track Tension

When track tension is ignored, it can lead to damage and downtime. If a track is too loose, you may experience de-tracking. Tracks that are too tight can lead to loss of power. In fact, tracks that are over-tightened can stretch and tear rubber tracks and cause serious damage to track rollers and idlers. Remember to cite your manufacturer’s manual to find the right tension for your machine and working conditions.

Utilize Rubber Tracks When Necessary

Steel tracks aren’t always the best choice for every jobsite. In fact, they can slow down the process when used improperly. Rubber tracks are often available on smaller models of excavators and are used when working on softer ground. Because rubber excavator tracks cause less ground disturbance than their steel counterparts, they cause less damage to grassy areas, fields, or in wet or soft ground.

Rubber excavator tracks are much more cost effective than their steel counterparts. However, they require replacement more often, because they’re not as durable. Another bonus is that they can typically allow for higher speeds to be reached, because they reduce vibration and can grip the ground better. Along with allowing the excavator to be driven faster, this reduction in vibration can also lead to a longer service life of the machine and reduced maintenance costs.

Follow Best Practices

An excavator is only as good as how it’s used. Operators should follow the manufacturer’s operation manual to minimize costly damage, which can lead to hefty downtime. Something as seemingly small as the types of turns being made when operating the excavator can actually contribute to damage.

Minimize Time on Slopes

Watching the time the excavator spends on large hills can also minimize damage to the excavator. When the equipment is being moved up or down a slope puts quite a bit of pressure on the drive motor and tracks. Here’s a tip: make sure the drive motor is facing the back of the machine as often as possible to help with maneuverability when climbing a slope.

Wide Turns Help Reduce Wear and Tear

By performing pivot turns, or counter-rotation turns, too often, excavators are more likely to experience damage leading to a shorter service life. Gradual, wide turns (even introducing more Y-turns) whenever possible, can help decrease potential problems, such as de-tracking and undue wear and tear.

Avoid Edges

When encountering curbs and other steep edges or small “cliffs,” use a ramp whenever possible. Driving an excavator over these can wreak havoc on tracks (especially rubber tracks).

Pay Attention to Ground Conditions

Before sending an excavator to a new jobsite, check the ground conditions. If your machine will be better served using rubber tracks, make that change before getting to the jobsite. This will not only save time in the long run, but the machine will run more smoothly, minimizing wear and tear.

Excavator Repair Services

Our professionally trained service staff is ready to answer any questions you have about your excavator, forklift, or crane. We also offer emergency services to help you get back up and running. RTL Equipment knows your construction equipment needs to work so you can work, so give us a call to discuss how we can best serve you in the future.