Wheel loaders do a lot of heavy lifting and materials transport, often over rough ground conditions. This hard work eventually takes a toll on any machine, but problems are most likely to arise if you’re not proactive about preventive maintenance for wheel loaders.
Regular preventive maintenance is crucial for keeping the wheel loaders in your fleet operating safely and at peak power and efficiency. This of course promotes job site productivity. But it also lets you spot developing issues early on, which in turn can spare you from significantly more machine downtime and higher repair and replacement costs.
Below are some tips for proper preventive maintenance for wheel loaders. Follow them closely to promote safety, productivity, and the lowest possible maintenance and equipment replacement costs.
Tackling Preventive Maintenance for Wheel Loaders
- Refer to the OEM manual for detailed cleaning and maintenance instructions and schedules, and follow them closely
- Remember that pre- and post-operation inspections are an essential part of regular maintenance for any piece of heavy equipment
- During inspections, pay close attention to tires, belts, hoses, cylinders, and other standard components, but also to the base edge, attachment coupler, attachment pins, wear plates, bucket, pallet forks, or other attachment
- Always check the bucket for missing, loose, or cracked teeth
- Be proactive about replacing wear plates and other worn parts
- Clean off any buildup along the driveline to facilitate inspection of seals and axles
- Only use approved attachments that meet the specs for the wheel loader
- Pay attention to selecting the right wheel loader bucket or other attachment for each application and material
- Operators should be trained to avoid backdragging the cutting edge and using it in wet conditions, and to minimize pressure when the bucket is engaged with the ground
- Use corner guards to increase the bucket’s strength and prevent undue wear
- Regularly rotate the cutting edge, as this can double the blade’s life
- Warm up a wheel loader for about 5 minutes before use to let oil pressure build and lubricate the moving parts in the engine, to get the cooling system going, and to have an opportunity to hear unusual noises
- Make sure reversible fans are on when working in dusty conditions to protect the cooling system, and don’t forget to check for buildup on the cooling system during inspections and clean it as needed
- Follow fluid management best practices for every wheel loader in your fleet