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How Do You Maintain an Excavator?

Feb 08 , 2023

Proper maintenance of your excavator is essential to maximize the potential of your fleet. A well-maintained machine is less likely to break down, thus saving you time, money, and stress. In addition, proper maintenance will greatly extend the life of your excavator. Because excavators are complex machines, it can be difficult to keep up with even just one machine. Many parts of an excavator will eventually wear out and need to be replaced as well.


This is why most people use maintenance schedules to minimize downtime and simplify the whole process. There are usually two different ways of maintaining a machine on a regular basis. Routine maintenance is a program where the machine is sent in for regular maintenance checks. This includes replacing wearing parts such as fluids, filters,, and belts. Each machine follows a maintenance schedule that determines which parts need to be replaced and when.


1. Lubricate and clean slewing bearings and surrounding parts

One aspect that gives excavators a unique advantage on site is the ability of the housing to rotate freely and indefinitely from the chassis. However, the importance of the critical parts that allow this to happen can often be overlooked. As with any rotating part, keeping the slewing ring properly lubricated will extend its life, and monitoring the lubrication in the system can help identify problems in advance - if you find metal grit in the lubricant, you may not be able to stop the slewing ring from going bad, but at least you can plan repairs in advance.


Excavator Rock Ripper

 Excavator Rock Ripper

Because of the position of the slewing bearings and slewing motors on the machine, they are also prone to accumulating dust and debris. As it accumulates, it forces these parts to work harder to spin the house and because they are located at points that are not normally immediately visible, the accumulation may not be noticed. Taking a few minutes to inspect the area and remove debris is an important part of any maintenance program.


Grease escapes and collects in the slewing ring on the body of the car. Taking the time to duck under the machine and visually inspect the area around the slewing ring can help you spot problems early. Keeping it clean (almost) makes it easier to see any signs of a problem brewing.


2. Continuously monitor fluids and keep them at the right level

Probably everyone on a tight deadline decides, "I should do it now, but tomorrow I'll check the fluids." In most cases, these small interruptions in the maintenance schedule don't cause too many problems, but if oil level or quality issues go undetected, the impact on the machine can be catastrophic. Experienced operators know that routinely checking the fluids in a machine takes just two minutes and can avoid hours of downtime.


In addition to ensuring proper fluid levels, checking the fluid for debris by visually inspecting and rubbing a small amount of fluid with your finger can help you spot problems brewing inside the excavator. As debris in the fluid and improper levels can lead to inefficiencies throughout the machine, these quick checks are also a consistent way to ensure that loss of efficiency is avoided.




3. Check your hydraulic cylinders regularly

The hydraulic cylinders on an excavator may not be the most complex on the machine as far as parts are concerned, but a failed hydraulic cylinder will often result in downtime that seems disproportionate to the parts. While some hydraulic cylinder failures are unavoidable and sudden, there are often additional cautionary issues such as leaking seals, power loss and non-fluid movement that will manifest themselves and lead to smaller corrections and maintenance rather than replacing the cylinder altogether.


Inspecting hydraulic cylinders can also reveal signs of how the machine is operating, such as lateral loading, and if a cylinder failure is detected, you can look for a replacement in advance, keeping planned downtime in line with repairs.


Any part will last and be in high demand, but taking the time to develop and stick to a maintenance plan will ensure that you extend the life of the part for as long as possible.


If an excavator part does break down, we're here to help. As a top dismantler of excavators, with a long and respected history in the industry, we pride ourselves on being able to connect our customers with parts that will get them up and running again - quickly, easily and at a great price. You can search our website or call one of our parts specialists directly.

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