Checklist for Heavy Equipment Maintenance

April 17, 2024

Oded Ran

Oded Ran, CEO and Co-Founder of Clue since 2019, expertly integrates AI and data tools to revolutionize construction equipment management and maintenance, positioning Clue as a premier software choice in the construction industry.

Table of Content

Heavy equipment like cranes, mixers, trucks, excavators, etc., are some of the most significant assets for a company and are ones that you cannot afford to have breaking down at a time of need. 

This is why, to save yourself from repairs and replacement costs, you must create a heavy equipment maintenance checklist to keep your equipment in check. Preventative measures help you ensure your heavy equipment maintenance is up to date and the equipment works properly.

In this article, we will help you answer the tough questions about how to keep checking on your heavy construction equipment maintenance, take timely preventative measures, and more. So, if you are keen on learning how to create a comprehensive checklist to help you out, keep reading.

What exactly is preventive maintenance?

It's better to be preventative than react reactively to issues that might arise when the time comes.

In preventative maintenance, the main relies heavily on comprehensive plans that ensure timely check-ups and predict any problems that might arise before they arise.

In the case of heavy machinery, preventative maintenance includes routine visual servicing of the machine based on a comprehensive maintenance plan.

A preventive maintenance plan helps you schedule routine checkups and predict specific issues that might arise in the machinery before the time the problem occurs.

Regular maintenance can help you maintain the longevity of your heavy machinery and reduce the chance of a sudden malfunction.

Example of a heavy equipment preventative maintenance checklist

When you are considering creating a heavy equipment maintenance checklist, there are a few factors that you should be aware of. 

Here are a few factors that you should consider in your next inspection.

Primary components

  • Inspect exhaust 
  • Check tires for tread wear 
  • Check wheel alignment
  • Insect steering
  • Inspect tracks

Engine checks

  • Inspect the battery to ensure that the engine works well
  • Check coolant levels to ensure that your engine doesn’t heat up
  • Inspect the belt in your engine to check for any wear and tear
  • Check oil levels to ensure they are up to speed
  • Inspect  the machinery filter 
  • Check the hose for leaks

Cab and dashboard

  • Check the condition of the steps and safety bar to ensure there are no weak parts.
  • Check the door seal to keep the doors closed and safe while working.
  • Test lights in the cab and headlights to ensure the machinery functions correctly when needed.
  • Test wipers to make sure that the wipers work during climate changes
  • Check for engine lights to ensure that there are no issues with the engine

The complete heavy equipment preventive maintenance checklist template

Effective heavy equipment maintenance requires precision and experience. The provided heavy equipment maintenance checklist template is designed for heavy construction equipment but can be adapted for other machinery.

The point of the checklist is to help you ensure you don’t skip on any component of your heavy machinery. 

According to most equipment manufacturers and owners, poor maintenance and improper inspections are the main reasons for equipment breakdown. This is why you need a checklist to ensure that nothing goes missing.

This heavy equipment maintenance management checklist is broken down into four main steps to help you improve your inspections and keep your heavy equipment maintenance costs in check.

Step 1– Inspect entirely from the ground up

The first step in your checklist should be to inspect everything from the ground up. You can start by going through the machinery, looking for any visual or most visible faults, and moving down to the internal checkups.

In this step, your checklist will consist of the following steps:

Body check: Look at the exterior body of the machine first. Walk around the machine and look for noticeable signs of damage.

This can include rust, dents, scratches, chipped paint, etc. This part mainly shows which damage already exists and how it can impact the machine's performance.

Attachments: This is the inspection of the assets that are used in the maintenance of the machinery. It can include smaller tools, like a simple hammer or a screwdriver, to more complicated tools. In this inspection, you ensure that all attachments are up to date and can perform well when needed.

Brakes: To ensure your heavy machinery is in its peak condition, you must start with the basic working of the machine, starting with the brakes.

Brakes play a crucial role in the working of your machine. Once you have finished checking the breaks, you can check the brake pads, drums, and shows to see if any part needs lubrication or fixing.

Fuel: Since fuel is required to work the machine and cannot operate without it, you must ensure that your fuel is adequately filled and there are no leaks or issues with the tank.

Electrical lining: This inspection is better if done by a professional. Consider getting an electrician to check all the required electrical inspections to ensure that all pieces are intact and there is no static electricity.

Lubrication: Ensuring all your moving parts, joints, and sleeves are lubricated ensures that your machine operates smoothly and that no friction can lead to wear and tear in the machinery.

Suspension: The machine's suspension mechanisms, such as shocks, springs, and undercarriage, are essential to inspect so you can proactively pinpoint any corrosion or leaks.

Once you finish this step, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2– Check primary components.

The second step involves checking the primary components of the heavy machinery. These components are crucial for ensuring the equipment is working to its potential.

Here are the steps you should consider.

Tires: Tire health is crucial since the tires constantly work with the machine and are prone to wear and tear.

Consistent inspection of the tires is needed to ensure there is no wear in the tire, the pressure in the tire is adequate, the balance and axis are aligned, and the nuts are adequately secured.

Track: Some equipment relies on tracks to work and must be maintained continuously. This ensures that there are no issues with the tracks. The main components you should check include the cleats, idlers, threads, rollers, and more.

Exhaust: Did you check your exhaust for any sounds that shouldn't be there yet? What are you waiting for? Make sure you check the exhausts for any issues. Check the connections for any irregular smoke when the engine is working.

Steering: Since you will be using the steering a lot when working the machinery, check the joints, rods, and oil levels in the steering to ensure it is working correctly and up to speed.

Checking these pieces of equipment would help you conclude that your machinery is working well and is up to date.

Step 3– Scrutinize the engine thoroughly.

Since the engine is the heart of your heavy machinery, it must be checked regularly to ensure that there are no clogs and all parts are working correctly. 

If you need help with which parts to inspect, start with these parts first.

Battery: Start by checking your batteries for any corrosions or rust, clean the ducts, and make sure that you check for leaks and cracks. Note all the details about the engine and make sure that you keep checking the battery regularly to ensure no issues occur.

Fluid: Monitor the fluid color and consistency for any warning signs. Check the engine oil, hydraulic fluids, and brake fluids to ensure all parts are well-lubricated and the engine works well.

Belts: Since most engines rely on belts for their work, you must keep checking on them to ensure that no wear or tear in the belts can hinder the machine's performance.

Filters: Check for all the filters, including the oil, cabin, fuel, and hydraulic filter. If the machinery has air conditioning, check its filter too. Replace the filters if necessary, or just clean them of any dirt.

Injectors: Clean and maintain the fuel injectors to ensure your engine has an adequate fuel supply while running. Once you have finished all these inspections, start your engine and rev it to see if there are no suspicious sounds.

You can also drive the equipment around to ensure that there are no issues with the engine.

Step 4– Inspect the interior/cab compartment

Your inspection's fourth and last part should be in the heavy equipment cab compartment. 

Ensure all the equipment is working to its full potential, and go through your heavy equipment maintenance checklist step by step to see if the cab compartment is up to speed.

Here are some of the checks you should be performing according to the checklist

Lights: Check all the lights, especially the hazard and warning lights, to ensure they work correctly.

If your job requires the machinery to be worked during the night hours, make sure you put in the right lights to ensure the machine gets the adequate lighting it needs to work correctly.

Handrails and Bars: Since safety is your priority, ensure all your grab points are damaged or rust-free.  Anything that can cause a slip or issues with the handles can lead to problems in the long run.

Also, ensure you check if your bars can maintain the weight of the operators.

Safety Devices: Check your equipment belts, pedals, alarms, horns, and hazard warnings to make sure that all the safety devices are up to code and are performing well. 

Windshield: Your very last step should be to check all the glassware in the machine itself. Check the windshields, side mirrors, back mirrors, and lights to ensure they have no chips or cracks.

Once you finish your initial check-up, review your heavy equipment maintenance checklist again to see if you still need to include anything. Once done, double-check the problem areas before moving on to the following equipment.

The importance of preventive maintenance

Now that you have a heavy equipment maintenance checklist, you are still trying to understand why it is essential for your processes.

Having a checklist ensures you can reduce any risks of working in a high-hazard area. 

A checklist reduces the risk of accidents and avoids any incorrect procedures.

Here are a few reasons you should create a checklist for your business.

1. Create job productivity and consistency

With a proper checklist, you can ensure job consistency since everyone knows about their job, and the inspections are up to code.

There are no delays or issues in the work, which increases the workers' performance and, thus, increases productivity in the long run.

A checklist maps out the plan that your technicians have to follow, thus reducing the chances of any accidents or something being missed.

A carefully curated checklist will also help you train new employees, as you already have a game plan for all the preventative measures. 

2. Reduce costly repairs.

The average maintenance cost for heavy equipment is much lower than doing costly repairs on heavy machinery that gets broken down or malfunctions. 

While the checklist is tedious, it helps ensure you don’t have to wait until something breaks down to repair it. 

Constant check-ups help you highlight issues beforehand and work on them on time.

3. Boost safety in your business

A proper heavy equipment maintenance checklist ensures everything is up to speed. It also helps in boosting safety in the workplace.

Since all the machinery is checked regularly, there is less chance of anything going wrong or any accidents occurring in the workplace.

4. Less unexpected issues:

Your checklist is planned to account for all unexpected issues. If any issue occurs unexpectedly, you have the tools to work on it and ensure that it is taken care of promptly.

You will find that having a properly created checklist helps you troubleshoot issues beforehand. A checklist also ensures that all the processes are being followed correctly.

Key takeaways for proper maintenance

Now that you have gone through the article, here are a few takeaways you should remember when creating your checklist.

  • Checklists are crucial for reducing costs and streamlining processes.
  • Know your equipment. It is not just the make and model; it's the ins and outs of the equipment.
  • Training is needed so your maintenance team can learn and follow the checklist adequately.
  • Keep track of your maintenance history to ensure that if an issue comes up, it doesn’t become a risk to the team.

The best way to ensure that your business follows your heavy equipment maintenance checklist is to have excellent operation software.

Clue is construction operation software that will help you maintain your equipment and revolutionize your equipment management.

Clue’s asset tracking system ensures that you always have your eyes on all your assets, making it easier to keep checking them.

What to do now?

Get a Demo
Apple StoreGoogle Play Store