Graders perform some heavy-duty work at the construction site, and their movable blades (moldboards) are the most important component—and the most abused by the machine’s work. So they of course need a little special care and attention.
A little preventive maintenance for motor graders helps keep them working at peak power, efficiency, and safety. It also helps avoid machine downtime, excessive repair and part replacement costs, and an unduly short lifespan—which of course means the significant cost of heavy equipment replacement.
Take a look at this guide to preventive maintenance for motor graders and make sure operators and supervisors are familiar with the processes and carrying them out.
Tackling Preventive Maintenance for Motor Graders
- Review the operator’s manual for specific cleaning and maintenance directions and follow them closely
- Also follow the manual’s instructions for maintenance service appointments
- Inspect the cutting edges of the blades regularly—even as often as daily or every 25 operating hours depending on the type of surface—for wear that compromises performance; also inspect the condition and tightness of the bolts securing the blade to the moldboard
- Replace blades and bolts as needed to prevent having to replace the entire moldboard; most cutting edges need at least ½ inch of usable space
- Check the blade slide that allows the moldboard to swivel and the guides that control the blade slide’s movements for wear and tear at least once per month
- Replace the guides as needed, and all four at the same time
- If the movement of the blade slide seems too loose, replace the clevis pins that hold it in place
- If a motor grader has a scarifier, check its teeth (rippers) regularly for wear; replace teeth as needed, or you’ll end up having to replace the scarifier’s shank, which is more expensive
- Check and clean the air filters as recommended in the operator’s manual to keep up fuel efficiency, and keep an eye out for the restricted alert; motor graders are often exposed to the most dirt of any heavy equipment, and their structure make them especially susceptible to clogged air filters
- Monitor the tire pressure and tread, making sure the tread never falls below ½ inch deep, to maintain traction and he machine’s performance and productivity
- Always complete a thorough pre- and post-operation inspection
- Clean and lubricate the circle ring according to the instructions in the operator’s manual
- Inspect all hoses and connections regularly for wear, cracks, tears, and leaks and replace right away as needed
- After operation, idle the engine for 5 minutes before shutting down to reduce hydraulic pressure that can damage seals or hoses
- Clean off all buildup of dirt or other foreign matter every day