Best Excavator Maintenance Tips to Avoid Costly Downtime

With an excavator and other heavy equipment, any moment of downtime can cost you money and lost productivity. Heavy equipment failure puts your project and your reputation at risk.

Appropriate excavator maintenance can reduce equipment failure, inefficient fueling, and overall operating costs.

excavators At Eagle Power & Equipment, we make sure our customers have the best equipment needed on the job site. Our sales team has more than a quarter-century of experience helping customers purchase the heavy equipment and construction equipment needed to complete both large and small projects.

We carry a full line of Case compact excavators and standard excavators. Check out the CX290D Scrap Loader/Material Handler, specially designed to handle the tough demands of the scrap and waste management industries. We also have Ring-O-Matic vacuum excavators for hydro excavation.

Whether you’re looking for a new excavator or hoping to maintain one already in your heavy equipment fleet, these maintenance tips will help you keep yours in top condition.

Find additional resources, including heavy equipment inspection checklists and maintenance charts, on our website.

  1. Know Your Equipment

First, make sure the operator of the excavator is familiar with the equipment and knows how to safely operate it. They should have read the entire manual and be trained in recognizing the capabilities and limitations of the heavy equipment.

  1. Regularly Inspect Your Excavatorparts to an excavator

Project managers and equipment operators should inspect heavy equipment at regular intervals and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance charts listing hours-of-use recommendations. Any maintenance should be done only after you’ve allowed the equipment to cool down sufficiently to avoid any accidental burns from heated hydraulic oil and other risks.

Eagle Power & Equipment has convenient excavator maintenance charts available, per model.

Before use, each day:

  • Clean wiring and connectors and tighten any electrical connections, if needed.
  • Inspect the machine’s exhaust system for signs of leaks, missing bolts, or damaged pipes.
  • Look at the labels on your equipment. Make sure all warning and safety labels are easily visible and legible.
  • Check levels of fluids and lubricants. (see note below on possibly more frequent need)
  • Examine air filter for possible clogging. Many excavators have air filter indicators to alert operators to maintenance needs and manufacturers have certain required filter-inspection schedules. Refer to your operator manual to determine the best removal/replacement times.
  • Check all lights, indicators, switches, etc.

Check/tune track tension monthly or bi-monthly. (A track that loosens frequently could indicate a track adjuster cylinder leak.) Daily, examine the tracks for cuts, tears, weakened rubber.

  1. Monitor Fluids & Lubricants
  • Check the engine oil, coolant levels, and hydraulic oil levels.
  • If working in water, grease the boom bottom, arm bottom, cylinder bosses, and pins before and after operating your excavator.
  • Check swing ball bearings and swing bearing teeth for sufficient grease amounts.
  • lubricate all pivot points, including cylinders, booms, blades, buckets, arms, and swing/slew bearing components.
  1. Keep Your Excavator Clean
  • With a blower, remove any debris, especially near the engine and near exhaust components, pipes, mufflers, etc.
  • Carefully inspect your excavator for any potential debris in these areas as it could become a fire hazard. Likewise, keep debris out of the belly pan or lower machine parts that heat up.
  • Examine the rollers, idlers, sprockets, track components, and all parts of the undercarriage.
  • Inspect rollers, idlers, and drives for possible oil leakage.
  • Mud and snow can pack in gaps of the tracks, so you may need to readjust your track tension more often during winter and spring.
  1. Maintain Records for Excavator Resale

Keep excellent records of your heavy equipment maintenance. These will help you keep track of what services are completed and what needs to be scheduled.

You can maximize resale value by keeping excellent service records. They can serve as proof that your machine has been maintained well and its service life should be as projected by the manufacturer. A used excavator will be less expensive than a new one but it’s still a heavy investment, so you’ll want to instill confidence in the buyer that they are making a sensible purchase.