Skid steer loaders are used for performing a range of tasks from demolition to debris removal, excavation, lifting work and several other construction-related functions. Because of its versatility, it is able to carry out these tasks, but regular maintenance is vital for it to continue running smoothly and have a long-lasting service life.
1. Fuel and engine oil
Skid steer loaders should be topped off with the correct type of fuel, depending on the model’s specifications. The tier 4 skid steer models use ultra-low sulphur fuel, which burns cleaner and reduces carbon emissions. Using the right engine oil prevents damage to the engine block.
2. Checking fluid levels
The levels of other fluids should be checked on a daily basis to ensure that there have been no significant fluid losses. These fluids include hydraulic oil, radiator fluids and windshield wiper fluid. High reduction in any of these fluids is usually the first warning sign of leaks, failed seals or loose fittings. Worn or damaged hoses may also cause leaks and low fluid levels.
3. Tyres and rims
Tyres should be inspected every morning to ensure that they are adequately inflated. Signs of leaks, uneven thread wear or damage should be actioned. Wheel nuts must be tightened to the torque level recommended by the manufacturers. Signs of bends or dents in the wheels should also be looked for, and if any is detected, the wheel should be replaced to prevent damage to the tyre.
4. Daily maintenance
In addition to previously mentioned measures such as topping off fuel and checking the fluid levels, it is essential to clean the machine daily, especially at the start of the day. This allows visual inspection of parts and makes for easy detection of leaks.
If the machine has been in use for gritting of icy roads or spreading of fertilizer, cleaning should take place as soon as possible because salt and fertilizer are known for causing the machine to rust. It is also important to pay attention to the chassis and the engine compartment while cleaning so that you can remove any debris, which may cause engine damage.
The canopy or cab should be checked for any indication of bends or damage to the cab windows. Pivot pins, lifting arms and all other areas mentioned in the maintenance manual should be lubricated with lithium-based multi-purpose grease. If working in a dusty area, it is essential that the air filters and coolers be cleaned out to prevent overheating.
5. Periodic maintenance
Beyond daily maintenance, periodic maintenance needs to be conducted to ensure that the skid steer continues to function at peak performance. Most manufacturers recommend that hydraulic and oil filters be replaced after 250 hours of operation. Engine oil should also be replaced at this time.
After 500 hours of operation, fuel filters should be replaced. The axle to the chassis and all other components of the steering should be inspected at this time for any signs of damage. The battery and the fuse box should be checked to ensure that they are in good working condition and that the battery terminals are securely in place. On an annual basis, the tank vent should be replaced and the engine valves adjusted.
In conclusion, taking the time to carry out preventive maintenance by inspecting and maintaining your skid steer loader on a daily basis is key to extending its service life. Periodic maintenance at the recommended times will help in early detection of faulty parts and save you expensive repairs later on.