In Florida, warm to hot weather can take an extra toll on construction machinery in the summer and beyond—during much of the year, even. Operating these machines in The Sunshine State means taking extra precautions and paying close attention to maintenance tasks that keep heavy equipment working well in the heat.
Of course, the importance of preventive maintenance can’t be overstated. It’s essential to keeping your fleet operating at peak power, efficiency, and safety, and to avoiding more costly downtime, repairs, and part replacements. It also extends the life of your machines. And this includes specific maintenance to keep heavy equipment working well in the heat.
So, here are some basic maintenance tasks to be sure you get to in Florida’s extended periods of warm to hot weather.
Hot Weather Preventive Maintenance for Heavy Equipment
- Limit your machines’ exposure to direct sunlight as much as possible.
- During daily inspections, make sure to check that machines have the proper level of coolant, the right coolant-to-water ratio, and enough oil. Heavy equipment goes through these fluids faster in the heat. Get info about the right types and quantities from the OEM manual.
- Use thicker grease, because heat reduces grease’s adhesive properties. Check the OEM manual for information about what type of grease to use, where to apply it, and how often to reapply it.
- Test the air conditioning systems in cabs to help protect operators from the potentially dangerous effects of the heat.
- Inspect belts for looseness and hoses for discoloration, excessive pliancy, or cracking every day. These are typical signs of overheating.
- Check the air filters daily.
- Look for signs of hydraulic leaks and leaks around seals during daily inspections.
- Monitor tire pressure every day. Hot weather weakens tires and increases the risk of blowouts. Also, keep in mind that heat increases tire pressure, so it can lead to overinflation, which increases the risk of blowouts even more.
- Heat and humidity can take a toll on brake components and reduce brake friction, so check the brakes on all heavy equipment regularly.
- The cooling system is extra important in warm and hot weather, and it works harder, so check its components closely on a daily basis. Keep radiators and the inlets and outlets of cooling systems clean and clear of debris.
- Make sure there’s no corrosion on the radiator, and check the radiator cap for damage or swelling.
- Watch for common warning signs that you’re overworking your heavy equipment.