HOUSEKEEPING CHECKLIST FOR HEAVY CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT
Use this end-of-day heavy construction equipment checklist to safely inspect and maintain your machines at the end of each shift:
- Top off the fuel. When you mix hot fuel with cool air, you end up with small amounts of water — and water in a fuel tank eventually leads to expensive downtime. At the end of a shift, always fill up your fuel tank. You’ll help eliminate condensation from forming in the tank, plus you’ll be ready to get to work first thing the next day.
- Refill the DEF tank. Diesel exhaust fluid doesn’t get hot like fuel, so you don’t have to worry about condensation, but it’s worth it to properly top off the DEF while you’re filling up the fuel tank. Just be sure not to confuse the fill holes.
- Lower hydraulic implements to the ground. Before you exit the cab, make sure booms and buckets are lowered to the ground. It’s an important safety factor while parking the machine to ensure no one walks under an unsupported hydraulic system. It also allows you to properly check the hydraulic oil at the end of your shift, as well as the next day.
- Let your machine idle for at least two minutes before shutting down. This will allow the turbocharger to cool down. A one-off hot shutdown isn’t likely to cause catastrophic damage, but if the practice becomes a habit, it can result in a blown turbocharger or irreparable damage to the engine. Volvo machines come with a delayed engine shutdown feature to help avoid costly hot turbo shutdowns.
- When exiting the machine, use three points of contact. A lot of injuries tend to be around slips, trips and falls getting on and off machines. Always have safety top of mind, even when you’re at the end of your shift.
- Turn the battery disconnect switch off. The master disconnects on Volvo wheel loaders and excavators are ground level — on the articulated hauler, it’s located in the ignition key. If you accidentally forget to turn off your radio or lights, this simple step means nothing will be drawing from the batteries overnight.
- Perform a quick machine walk around. Check out the tires or tracks to make sure there’s nothing in them and no excessive damage. If you’re running tracks, and they’re full of mud, clean them out to prevent unnecessary wear and tear the next morning. This is especially critical if you’re working in wintertime — frozen mud in tracks can end up costing thousands in repairs. You’ll also want to check the hydraulics on the machine to ensure nothing is leaking. If there is a leak, you can have your night shift mechanic take care of it before you return the next day.
HOW LONG TO SPEND ON AN END-OF-DAY HEAVY EQUIPMENT INSPECTION
A really good pre-and post-trip machine inspection walk around should take about three to five minutes. And as I mentioned before, those minutes can be incredibly valuable to your company in both repair cost savings and minimized downtime.
As an example, if you notice a leak on a hydraulic line and catch it early, the repair might only be a couple of hundred dollars. But if you wait until it blows out, you now have to put all the hydraulic oil back in the machine. If you’re on an EPA-regulated site, you’ll also have to pay a cleanup crew to come in and clean up the spill. That’s all on top of the repairs, which can end up costing thousands of dollars.
Use these tips, and you have a better shot at avoiding costly scenarios like this. For any days you might have to skip your end-of-day checklist, this excavator prestart checklist and articulated hauler prestart checklist are great to ensure your next day is a productive one right from the start.
CENTRALIZED ARM GREASING
Volvo Excavators feature centralized greasing points on the arm for quick, easy maintenance. Competitors typically have multiple, separate greasing points.
SLEW RING GREASE BATH
A raised, thick and tight seal cover on Volvo excavators provides durability for a long service interval. Some competitors’ cover is flush to the deck, allowing water in, and others are behind the boom cylinder mount, making it difficult to check for water.
SWING BEARING LUBE POINTS
The lube points on Volvo excavators are grouped together on the front of the superstructure, accessible from ground level. Some competitors have separate lube points on the front and back of the superstructure, requiring someone to crawl under or rotate the upper structure to reach the zerk.
CONVENIENT CAB AIR FILTER
Our filter is located at the rear of the cab away from contaminants, with a convenient pull-tab for quick replacement. Some competitor filters are located directly above the tracks, leading to rapid clogging from dirt.