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Optimize Machine Productivity With an Excavator Inspection Checklist

A proper excavator maintenance schedule makes your machine fuel-efficient, minimizes equipment failure, and reduces operating costs. With a structured and excavator inspection checklist it is easy to keep track and make sure your equipment is fully functional.

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What Is an Excavator Maintenance?


Excavators are heavy construction equipment designed for digging earth, loading material onto trucks and digging trenches. Due to the intensive labour they are used and built for, these machines are often exposed to harsh conditions since are often operating even when there’s heavy rain, snow, or mud.


Just like any other piece of construction equipment, proper regular maintenance is critical to keeping an excavator in good working order and ensure the health and safety of your employees and construction crew. Considering the structure and complexity of this machine, using an excavator inspection checklist can help ensure the scheduled maintenance is thorough and effective. With a structured checklist it is near impossible to forget an area of check-up and you simultaneously have documents to keep track of any malfunctions or repairs. This way, you know which machines have had which problems and when, so that you are more sensitive to issues when they arise.


An effective excavator maintenance schedule can help control expenses and maximize your machine’s productivity. Every minute an excavator is not operable due to a breakdown, it costs you money in employee wages and lost productivity.



In this article, you will learn more about:


1. How Often You Should Inspect Your Excavator


2. What You Should Include in Your Excavator Maintenance Schedule and Checklist


3. Why a Digital App Is The Perfect Tool to Create an Excavator Inspection Checklist



Excavator on Construction Site

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Excavator Maintenance Schedule: How Often Should You Inspect Your Excavator?


In the construction industry, an excavator is indispensable because it is used in various tasks. It can be used for demolishing a house, digging trenches, loading heavy materials onto trucks, and many other complicated tasks that would be near impossible without sturdy equipment. Most of the time, excavators are exposed to harsh weather conditions and are operated even when it’s snowing or heavy rain is pouring. Whether it’s a new or a used excavator, you should always aim to keep it in excellent working condition and make sure it is fuel-efficient to minimize its operating cost. This will extend the lifespan of your equipment and help improve your staff’s productivity while using the excavator.


When it comes to deciding on the right excavator maintenance schedule, you can consult the manufacturer’s suggestion from the manual that comes with your equipment. Often, these manuals will provide suggestions for service intervals. Don’t forget to file the excavator service sheet that you filled in after each scheduled maintenance: It will come as a helpful guide when making decisions regarding repairs, maintenance or the retirement of your machine.


Additional to regular maintenance, you should also schedule a daily inspection of the excavator parts. Use an excavator daily maintenance checklist to evaluate how the parts are running or if there are minor problems. If you see a particular part of the excavator that is not working properly, get it repaired right away. If you wait a while before getting it serviced, the damage could get worse and the repair could become more costly.



The Components Of an Excavator Inspection Checklist


When it comes to owning heavy equipment such as an excavator, you will save a lot of money if you are proactive about repairs rather than reactive. Letting small issues linger will have a considerable impact on your business. Below are points you should pay attention to during your excavator inspection in order to make sure that all parts are checked regularly.


  1. Check the engine and hydraulic oil levels
    Check the engine and hydraulic oil levels daily and whenever necessary. Not all machines are built the same, so consult the manual about how often you need to change the oil. If the oil is contaminated, it can cause hydraulic failures.
  2. Make sure you are using the right kind of oil
    Economizing on oil or using low-quality oil can lead to problems. High-grade oils are better at preventing thermal and oxidative damage to your excavator. They can also help protect your machine from soot.
    Hydraulic systems have specific requirements. The wrong kind of oil will likely cause hydraulic failures. Cheaper, low-quality oils often come with additives that will cause your excavator to break down.
  3. Check water and fuel separator
    A fuel water separator is a device that is necessary for ensuring the cleanliness of the fuel that gets to the excavator's engine. It's like a filtering device that protects the sensitive parts of the engine. This separator requires daily inspection and regular draining.
  4. Make sure the fuel is clean
    One of the most valuable excavator maintenance tips you will ever need is: Hire a fuel technician to make sure that the fuel you use in your excavator has the right additives that will protect your machine from algae and other organisms. It is also necessary that you don’t forget to check the fuel tank vent. It can easily get clogged when you use your excavator in dusty conditions.
  5. Inspect the cooling system
    Make sure the radiator insulation and heat shields are in the correct place. Replace them if they show signs of wear and tear. Heat exchangers must always be kept clean. Debris and dust buildup will slow the passage of air and affect the heat exchange. The cooling system must always be in good condition to avoid overheating and engine failure.
  6. Lubricate pivot points
    Use high-quality grease to lubricate all attachments. This should include the bucket, boom, dipper, pins, and busting. Adequate and proper lubrication is crucial if you want to expand the life of your excavator. However, you must also be careful not to over grease as it can be messy or worse, cause fires.
  7. Check the bucket and attachments
    Check the bucket daily or before and after use for cracks and wear. The teeth of the bucket will show signs of wear and tear if it is constantly used for heavy-duty work. Also, inspect all attachments for cracks and other damage.
  8. Adjust the track
    Check excavator track daily, especially if it is being heavily used. If the track is too tight, it can cause breakage, but if it’s too loose, it can be difficult to maneuver and lead to de-tracking. Adjust the track properly to improve its longevity and minimize damage on the track and its parts.
  9. Service the gearbox
    Change the oil in the gearboxes regularly. Make sure this part is not overlooked during your regular excavator maintenance schedule. Even the professionals forget this part.
  10. Check for leaks
    Check for leaks in the cooling system, the swing drive, and the hydraulic system. If you see evidence of leakage, have it repaired right away.
  11. General cleaning and maintenance
    • Clean the excavator regularly using steam cleaning or high-pressure water. Include the cabin.
    • Make sure safety messages are not covered by dust and debris.
    • Make sure steps and handholds are not loose, damaged, or broken.
    • The air filters must be cleaned regularly. Dust will damage the air conditioner or heater.


Excavator being used

Create an Excavator Maintenance Schedule With a Checklist App


With Lumiform’s audit and checklist app performing excavator inspections and maintenance schedules has never been easier. Create your checklist and perform a multitude of safety and quality inspections on the go from your smartphone or tablet - online or offline. Collect data in the field, document inspections and stay up-to-date on how your equipment is being maintained so you can save money and time down the road.


  • We at Lumiform offer a huge library of ready-made templates to choose from, so that you can quickly and safely go digital from the get-go.
  • If you prefer creating your own excavator maintenance schedule according to your specifications, Lumiform’s flexible form builder helps you convert any paper-based checklist into a digital format within minutes.
  • With the intuitive and easy-to-use mobile app you and your team can perform daily or regularly scheduled inspections with ease and save time. Never forget an inspection by assigning specific check-up dates and follow all inspections live.
  • All excavator service sheets are automatically summarised in a report and can be sent to responsible personnel on-the-fly.
  • Lumiform’s comprehensive and automated analysis feature help you uncover threats and errors fast and effectively and thus allows you to concentrate on improving your processes continuously.



Excavator on rocky terrain


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