Preventive Maintenance Keeps Equipment on the Job Site Longer

Follow key service intervals and correct minor problems before they become major headaches

Preventive Maintenance Keeps Equipment on the Job Site Longer

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In the daily management of job site priorities, busy installers risk having preventive maintenance of vehicles and equipment fall by the wayside.

To reduce those risks, establish a preventive maintenance program and educate your employees on how to follow it. When maintenance becomes everyone’s responsibility, there is less chance for routine upkeep to be neglected.

Aside from routine oil changes and tire checks, several additional maintenance tasks should be at the top of every to-do list. This includes many items that have the potential to decrease productivity and increase costs, ultimately affecting much more than just your equipment fleet. For example, machines in good operating condition reduce the likelihood of operator injuries coming from faulty equipment. On the other hand, poor maintenance results in employee downtime, untimely project completion, lost wages and increased operating costs. 

Here are five tips regarding equipment maintenance:

1. Create and follow a preventive maintenance program.

By creating a preventive maintenance program for your vehicles and equipment and having all employees adhere to it, performing maintenance quickly becomes second nature to everyone.

Maintenance program templates are available online for contractors to download, copy or duplicate; however, some installers prefer to make their own. With a clearly defined and explained program, there’s no reason that everything in your fleet — support vehicles as well as job-specific heavy machinery — can’t receive the same amount of attention. Getting into a new habit can play a crucial role in increasing the life of equipment and the bottom line of projects.

2. Train your employees to help spot potential problems.

All employees should be trained to spot the signs of trouble long before they occur and become much more costly to the job duration and profits. Consider enforcing regular inspections for all equipment, thoroughly examining both the interior and exterior of equipment for any signs of damage. 

That could include checking for any bare wires that may be exposed and making sure that all connectors are intact and not corroded or damaged. Also inspect all brakes, belts, hoses and shifters to ensure they are in good working order. It’s also important to check for any front-end maintenance, transmission flushes and all fluid levels.

Protect electrical wiring from pooled rainwater and melting snow and ice that can end up inside machinery during long periods of field operation. Ongoing exposure can ultimately shorten the life of the equipment.

3. Pay close attention to fluid levels.

Ensure vehicles and equipment have the proper fluid levels and lubrication to guarantee high performance. While contractors realize fluid levels are vital to machine life, this is a commonly overlooked aspect of regular maintenance. Noticed too late, improper or inadequate fluid levels can lead to faster wear and damage along with a shortened equipment life span.

Fluids should be checked and sampled regularly as part of a scheduled preventive maintenance program — adjusted whenever necessary and documented — for optimal operation.

4. Follow factory-recommended maintenance scheduling.

Pay close attention to manufacturer-recommended maintenance scheduling. That schedule is put in place by those who know the equipment the best.

It’s a good idea to place stickers on equipment that needs maintenance at certain intervals as a constant reminder to schedule service. In addition, contractors should keep original owner’s manuals for equipment as a reference of service-related conditions that can void a warranty.

5. Keep detailed records from the time of purchase.

Keeping detailed service records cannot be stressed enough. These records serve as the equipment’s personal history after purchase and provide new employees or second owners with important information about what is due for service at any given time. Good recordkeeping can add value at resale and is key to maintaining and extending the life of your vehicles and equipment. 


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