A skid steer loader is a powerful machine that accelerates heavy labour in mines, construction, excavation sites, and other areas that depend on the handling of heavy materials. That being said, the flame that burns twice as bright, and the same rule applies to many heavy equipment tools.
Because skid steer loaders carry massive weights on their lifting arms, abrasive materials are always in contact with the machine and its components.
As a part of high-end industrial machinery, skid steer loaders are not cheap, therefore proper maintenance tasks are necessary to avoid costly repairs and increase working hours. In this guide, we will discuss the importance of a well-built maintenance plan, the recommended frequency of servicing procedures, the average life of main components, and other maintenance tips that will result in reduced downtime.
Skid steer loader maintenance tips
While there is no universal system that applies to all skid steers, operators and equipment managers must understand the most effective maintenance strategies.
Before initialising any servicing plans, equipment managers and operators run a visual inspection to identify outliers and top-priority servicing needs. After noting alarming damages and unusual handling cases, most businesses run proper maintenance checks and servicing procedures to bring the machine into the best possible condition.
Keeping a skid steer loader with proper skid steer maintenance procedures is much easier when the machine is in top condition before the servicing plan takes effect. For that, skilled technicians start with the most vulnerable and essential components:
- Tires, tracks and wheels: routine maintenance needs for these parts may vary depending on rough driving and working conditions. Daily servicing tasks measure the tire pressure and inspect the state of skid steers’ rigid frame.
- Hydraulic systems: Hydraulic fluid, also known as hydraulic oil, is pressurised in the hydraulic pump, and the force generated within the cylinders lets the machine perform its feats of strength. Qualified employees also install, service, and replace hydraulic filters that keep the system safe from dust, debris, and other components. All essential components are protected, allowing the machine to stay at its maximum work output.
- Filtering components: A Skid steer works far better when its parts are protected from harsh working conditions. Also, a well-serviced loader poses less health risks to its operator.
- Electrical connections: rough working conditions cause damage to electrical components that simplify the management of modern steer loaders. An operator looks for visible harm to many loose fittings, wires, and other damage that could cause total equipment failure.
- The engine compartment: Operators run a quick visual inspection, while skilled engineers perform monthly maintenance procedures to monitor the entire setup. They inspect the engine cooling system, air filter, and fuel filter components, plus signs of uneven wear that could sabotage the engine.
- Bucket: as the hand that does the heavy lifting, the bucket and its optimal health are protected with daily maintenance procedures. Here workers are applying grease, inspecting pivot points, loose hoses, bolts, and other components that could affect the accuracy and lifting capabilities.
How do I know when my skid steer loader needs to be serviced
Here are the tips and rough estimates that help companies establish clear guidelines and plans for skid steer’s servicing needs.
Daily maintenance tasks
Daily inspections ensure that skid steers work without limitations on a daily basis. These maintenance tasks start with replenishment of essential fluids, and checking the overall state of components mentioned in the tips section.
Preventative maintenance procedures
On top of regular maintenance checks, preventive maintenance focuses on preventing total equipment failure and saving money on repairs. During a routine equipment check, a skilled technician tracks the wear and tear of main components, making sure that the company finds affordable replacements without risking equipment downtime.
Seasonal maintenance tasks
Seasonal maintenance procedures prepare the machine for unique and harsh weather conditions. Working in a dusty environment requires more frequent replacements in the filtering systems, while ensuring proper storage, tire changes, heaters, and lubrication to keep the loader operational in winter during extremely cold weather.
A recommended regular maintenance schedule
Skid steer maintenance goals are best realised when following a strict maintenance schedule. There is no need to over-complicate things, therefore structuring tasks into checklists with appropriate time intervals will keep your machines in optimal condition.
Daily maintenance checklist
These are skid steer loader components that require daily servicing and inspections:
- Inspection of engine oil, washer fluid, hydraulic oil, and other fluid levels
- Examination of tire pressure levels, frame condition, and pivot pins
- Proper functionality of electrical components, bucket control, lights and other utility equipment
- Lubrication of moving components
Weekly maintenance checklist
Here are the necessary maintenance steps that skilled technicians go over every week:
- Cleaning, repairs, and replacement of components in the air filtering system
- A close inspection of the control unit and its functionality
- The search for loose bolts, screws, and signs of structural damage
Monthly maintenance checklist
These tests and servicing tasks require the assistance of skilled technicians and equipment managers. You can also contact the manufacturer for the best possible equipment aid. Here are the less common, but detrimental maintenance steps you’ll see during monthly maintenance:
- Rigid testing of the engine compartment, inspection of fluid levels and state of filtering components
- Calibration of equipment controls
- Replacement of broken components, registration of gradual failure, ordering of spare parts
Read the manufacturer’s recommendations
For those that need to know the expected lifespan of the skid steer and its components, there is no better source than the manufacturer’s recommendations. While the previously mentioned strategy takes care of most servicing needs, knowing which parts are sturdier than others will help you properly distribute maintenance resources. It will keep your machines safe and operational for longer without costing tons of money
Make sure to take all information with a grain of salt, and build many safety nets for your machine. Even if one component shows a longer lifespan, the number may not account for potential extreme weather conditions and the abundance of contaminants in mines, underground structures, and construction sites.
Combining this information will let you adjust your skid steer maintenance checklist, as well as add additional steps to the schedule. Also, tracking the state of the machine and its efficiency in practice will show how far are the recommendations from reality in specific working conditions. After making these adjustments, businesses eventually end up with the most accurate and well-structured plan.
This guide describes the most important factors in finding servicing intervals for your skid steer loader. Use these tips, and compare average numbers with the manufacturer’s recommendations to maximise operating hours for your machines.