Skid steers are small, upright, rigid-framed vehicles that are common on almost any construction site…
Like any other machinery, skid loaders work best when they’ve been looked after. This means regular monthly inspections, cleaning, and maintaining every part of the machine. But the big question is, how often do you need to repeat your maintenance checklist in order to get the maximum performance out of your skid loaders. Is it annually? Monthly? Or daily? We talked to a few local mechanics and operators and got our answer – it’s monthly. Let’s find out why.
Benefits of Monthly Maintenance and Inspections
Creating a safe working environment should be the top priority in any workspace – even more so on a construction site. Even though skid loaders are some of the most versatile and tough heavy machinery out there, maltreating or not doing the required maintenance can make them more dangerous – both for the operators and those working around them. Burnt-out brake pads, dangerously high engine temperatures, and malfunctioning hydraulics are often causes of tragedy – but all of this can be avoided.
Give your operators and mechanics the time and resources to carry out the required maintenance tasks. If you think your operators are not well-versed with best maintenance practices, hold a short training seminar to create awareness.
2. Preventing Costly Breakdowns
A skid loader that isn’t working is a skid loader that isn’t making money. More downtime means your operators and in many cases, other members of your construction crew cannot go about their work. But it all becomes a lot worse if your skid loader has to be sent to the shop for repairs.
Heavy machinery repair bills can easily reach thousands of dollars at a time. But inspecting and ensuring no undue stress leads to extra wear and tear. Parts in the engine bay are more sensitive to friction and temperatures and a lack of proper fluids can wreak havoc. Regular inspection will ensure that irregularities or even the smallest problems don’t go under the radar and eventually lead to breakdowns.
Avoiding breakdowns also means you won’t miss important deadlines, keep up with your schedule, and not have to pay for skid loaders on hire.
3. Efficient Performance
When skid loaders are not working at max efficiency, the operating costs will be higher. These costs may increase due to higher lower fuel mileage, having to change oil/hydraulic fluids more frequently, shorter track life, and parts like belts, motors, and fans burning out much quicker. The best way to avoid this? Maintain your skid loader monthly.
When parts like hydraulic pumps are clean and working under optimal conditions, you’ll get higher performance at lower costs.
In a nutshell, monthly maintenance will increase the life of your machine, prevent costly breakdowns and delays, and keep everyone around the skid loader safe. If you don’t have a maintenance checklist, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
The Ultimate Monthly Maintenance Checklist
Attachments are important parts of your skid loader that add versatility and additional capability to your machine. However, because they change as per the requirements of the job, they are often overlooked and do not get the maintenance they deserve – don’t make this mistake. Inspect all of your attachments every month.
Track tension or tire pressure is one of the most critical aspects of safe operations as improper tensioning can lead to excess wear and tear or worse, causing the skid loader to walk out of the tracks. Wrong tire pressure can also damage the undercarriage and decrease the overall stability of the skid loader.
3. Fluid Levels and Oils
Oil and hydraulic fluids lubricate the internals of your skid loader and prepare them for the extremes of working under harsh conditions. The operator or mechanic should check fluid levels every month to ensure they are at the right level and top them off if they aren’t. The monthly inspection also means the mechanic will be able to spot and clean grime before it builds up excessively.
4. Internal Systems
The engine, electronics, hydraulic, and cooling system too requires a monthly inspection to ensure no damage was done to any of these parts. Monthly maintenance also means the mechanic will be able to check the build-up of any contaminants before they can cause any damage. You might also have to change or repair the fans, motors, and belts on a monthly basis.
So there we have it. Monthly – the sweet spot of regular maintenance for your skid loader.