Backhoe Loaders (BHLs) are necessary at every construction site because they are highly versatile and multi-purpose equipment. Since they are costly, it is necessary to maintain the BHLs properly so as to increase their productivity and jobsite safety. This makes preventive maintenance necessary and can help the BHLs to run at the peak power and efficiency. Also, preventive maintenance help in cutting down the operating costs over the period of time by helping in avoiding expensive repairs and this can increase the life of the equipment. Often, it is the operator’s responsibility to carry out the basic daily or weekly preventive maintenance for the BHLs.

So, if you are a BHL operator or owner, here are the tips on basic preventive maintenance of BHLs to keep them productive and efficient over a longer period of time...

1. Refer to the BHLs operators’ manual to get familiar with all the manufacturer-recommended maintenance procedures and intervals. You also need to read the warning labels, stickers and specification charts and other important information posted around the machine.

2. Walk around the equipment and visually inspect the whole machine before and after the operation so as to inspect any leak, damage or other signs of problem.

3. You also need to carefully check controls, engine, compartment, cooling system, gear boxes, hydraulic parts and other parts.

4. Ensure that you check around the backhoe and loader arms as the equipment is heavily stressed here. If you observe a crack in the paint, it could mean structural crack and this need to be inspected further before using the equipment again.

5. It is necessary to check the tire pressure and condition before and after using the BHL. Debris such as loose gravel or mud may get stuck in the tire and impact it’s working. You also need to check that each of the tire has the right pressure as this can help in lessening tire wear, improve stability and reduce the fatigue of the operator. Also, you need to check for any cuts and replace the tires when needed.

6. Checking of hoses, belts and auxiliary connections before and after the use of equipment is also very important.

7. Generally, the hydraulic hoses get ripped upon due to operators messing up the hose routing. In addition, if the hoses are leaky or damaged, then the operating expenses can get doubled. Hence, house routing should be made accurate. Typically, hoses should be tied correctly, then secured near the stick and boom and not just strung simultaneously and hanging unfastened.

8. Bachoe Loaders are fitted with special seals and filters designed to keep dirt and grime out of sensitive areas. Hence, broken seals must be repaired immediately, breathers must be kept clean and all filters should be inspected regularly and changed when they become dirty or clogged.

9. Air filter should be checked and cleaned regularly.

10. The boom and stick of the BHL should also be checked for any leaks and wear.

11. The cutting edge of the bucket should be checked for any signs of wear. If there is any, then it needs to replaced. Also, it should be seen that all the bolts are intact and tight.

12. Ensure that the bucket teeth are all there with retainer pins.

13. You need to check all the attachments of the BHL before and after work.

14. You also need to make it a point to check the fuel levels and document the periodic refills. Also, the hydraulic fluid level before and after using the equipment should be checked.

15. Use fuel which is prescribed by the manufacturer and avoid adulterated fuel which can reduce the life and productivity of the equipment.

16. Without fail, look out for any clear signs of oil leakage. There are many protocols and ways to carry out this inspection. If you are smart enough to pay attention to the leaky valves, you can carry out repairs much faster, thereby, preventing the machine from further damage.

17. Properly grease and lubricate all moving parts of the equipment in order to save them from failing to work and creating excess friction leading to severe wear and tear of the machinery, frequent breakdowns and shorter life span. If you hear noise coming from any part of the equipment like around pins, bushings, pivot points and bearing joints, you need to grease those parts properly. For greasing, refer to your operation and maintenance manual to learn about the specifications of the manufacturer.

18. All the electric wires in the BHL should be protected from exposure to harmful external elements. This can be done by covering critical wires properly or sheltering the whole equipment under a covering.

19. BHLs are often employed in rough terrains and this may lead to misalignment of the equipment in certain situations. Although, BHLs are made in such a way that they can withstand adverse conditions, however, assuring proper alignment of the equipment remains a crucial task.

20. It is necessary to confirm that all safety features of machine are working aptly.

21. The equipment should be stored in cool and dry place, protected from all the contamination.

22. Always avoid engine idling as much as possible.

23. Create and follow a maintenance schedule. Include notations on how often each part of the machinery should be inspected for problems, repairs and general maintenance.

24. BHL operators should be trained well regarding BHL operation and preventive maintenance measures. Without proper operator training, operators can damage the machinery or even injure themselves or others.

Overall, by following these simple preventive maintenance safety tips, BHL’s lifespan can be increased considerably. These small but important tips can help to increase productivity as well as efficiency of the equipment to a very large extent.

In a nutshell

From construction work to building roads, utility work to landscaping, backhoes are used almost at every jobsite and in every industry due to their versatility. Since, BHLs are put to use for numerous applications, they work for long hours and in difficult terrains. This increases the need for BHL maintenance. In fact, if not properly cared for and maintained, BHLs can go from productive and valuable to idle and costly. Hence, following the preventive maintenance in case of BHL is very important.