Skid steer loaders are highly useful machines for a wide variety of applications. To get the most out of them, there are plenty of important considerations when buying a new skid steer loader. And then of course, you must take good care of them to keep them operating at peak power, efficiency, and safety.
Basic preventive maintenance is crucial for protecting the performance and prolonging the life of all heavy equipment. It also helps avoid machine downtime and more expensive repairs and component replacements later down the line.
Below are some key aspects of preventive maintenance for skid steer loaders. Apply these essential upkeep tips regularly to keep your skid steers performing as reliably and productively as possible for many years to come.
Tackling Preventive Maintenance for Skid Steer Loaders
- Follow all cleaning and maintenance procedures and service time lines included in the skid steer loader’s manufacturer’s manual
- Operators should always perform pre- and post-operation inspections of the skid steer loaders they use
- Pay close attention during inspections to attachment components like hoses, cylinders and guards, auger flighting and teeth, etc.
- Check all the boom pins and bushings for wear
- Inspect the boom for cracks, particularly at weld sites
- Know when to use a vertical-lift skid steer and when to use a radial-lift skid steer
- Only use properly sized attachments that match the skid steer loader’s hydraulic capabilities and horsepower, or you can damage the lift arm cylinders and other components (plus you risk tipping and other hazards)
- Lubricate the lifting arms, pivot pins, and cylinders after each use; grease the pins and bushings as needed
- Look at all filters daily; clean and change them as needed and as recommended by the OEM
- Clean the skid steer loader thoroughly at the end of each day to make inspections easier and to prevent dirt, debris, or other matter from caking on or clogging components
- Maintain proper tire pressure; remember to inspect tires for damage and tread depth, and confirm that wheel nuts are at the correct torque
- Carefully adhere to fluid management best practices and the fluid recommendations in the machine’s operator’s manual
- Monitor for unusual loss of fuel, engine oil, hydraulic fluid, coolant, and radiator fluid, as this can indicate tears, loose fittings, failing seals, or other problems; address the issue immediately