Spring Cleaning; Getting Your Skid Steer Ready for ActionPosted on April 15, 2020
With warmer weather on the way, it's time to get your skid steer ready for the spring and summer. The change to springtime provides the ideal opportunity for skid steer maintenance and inspection.
Here are some tips for you to get your skid steer ready for spring and summer time work.
Step 1: Check Your Fluid, Fuel Levels, and Batteries
Winter can impact a skid skid’s critical fluids and battery life. Before testing any other part of your skid steer, remember to inspect the following components:
Motor Oil and Coolant Levels
Your skid steer's motor oil and coolant support its performance and longevity.
The operator's manual will include information on your skid steer fluids. Keep your oil and coolant in top condition by:
- Following your manufacturer's recommendations: Every skid steer model has recommended service levels and fluid types. If the suggested interval for replacement passed, make sure to change the relevant fluids before spring.
- Use the correct oil viscosity: Pay attention to your manual's recommended oil viscosity based on average temperatures. An incorrect oil type can affect performance or damage your skid-steer's systems.
- Mix coolant properly: If you use concentrated coolant, carefully follow the package directions. To optimize your coolant performance, only mix it with distilled or deionized water.
In addition to ensuring your skid steer has enough fuel to operate, you should check other aspects of fuel performance. Drain any water that formed in the tank due to condensation over the winter. You should also compare the skid steer's current fuel levels to its fuel level before winter. An unusual loss of fuel could indicate a leak or another issue you need to address immediately.
The time your skid steer spent in storage can affect the battery's function. Remove the battery connectors to check electrolyte levels and clean battery acid off the posts. If you see any battery acid on the cable connectors, take note. Corrosion can cause a bad connection.
Step 2: Test the Primary Functions
By testing your skid steer's main functions, you can address any potential problems before they happen on a job site. Make sure that these features work as intended:
Steering and Controls
Test your steering and controls thoroughly by operating it through multiple cycles while listening and feeling for any abnormalities. Engine noises, shimmying, hesitation, or sluggishness could indicate an issue in various systems. Perform these checks while running your skid steer:
- Drive forward and in reverse, making sure that they have similar speeds and that the backup alarm works
- Move left and right
- Cycle the attachment up and down ensuring functions are operating correctly and no leaks are present.
Remember to test the parking brake on level ground and a grade to find any differences in function.
Safety Features and Horn
Check these safety features for proper function and good condition:
- Horn: Tap the horn to ensure that it works as intended.
- Seat belt and lap bar: Inspect the seat belt and lap bar for damage and wear.
- Roll-over protection system (ROPS): Look at the structure of your ROPS and note if it has any deformities or damage. Check for loose mounting bolts and other hardware that you need to fasten or replace.
Thoroughly inspect your windshield wipers for damage or obstructions that could impact their effectiveness. Fill your wiper fluid level to full if it doesn't have a full tank already.
Examine all the gauges in the cab for correct function and visibility. Make sure they have no dirt or damage that could result in incorrect readings. You should also ensure that the digital dashboards are functioning and bright enough for visibility in dark conditions.
Other Locks, Controls, and Functions
In addition to the above features, remember to inspect these skid steer functions:
- Locks for controls, attachments and the cab
- Safety decals and signs
- Fire extinguisher, if equipped
Step 3: Look Over the Exterior
After checking your skid steer's fluids, battery and function, perform a walk-around inspection of its exterior, including:
- Lights: Ensure all lights work, including headlights and backup lights. Check the lamp and lenses for any cracks and keep them clean.
- Surfaces: Look for cracks all over your skid-steer's exterior surface, especially on the welds.
- Reflectors: Clean any dirt, smudges, or obstructions to promote better visibility of reflectors.
- Hydraulic lines: Inspect the hydraulic lines for leaks or abrasion. If you see any issues, request or perform repairs as soon as possible.
- Tires: Maintain the correct tire pressure in all tires and inspect them for leaks, damage, and wear. Ensure that they have the proper tread depth.
- Tracks: Inspect tracks for cuts or other damage. Ensure that they are the proper tension. If tracks are too tight this can cause bearing damage. If the tracks are too loose, they can fall off.
- Windshield and glass: Make sure that you will have complete visibility during operation. Clean if dirty or obstructed.
The Final Touches
Once you check your skid steer's condition using the above steps, you can complete the finishing touches, such as cleaning and inspecting attachments. Cleaning your skid steer, will make inspections easier and prevent dirt from clogging any components. Inspecting your attachments matter just as much for your skid steer’s performance as equipment inspections. The inspection process for an attachment depends on its function and manufacturer recommendations.
When you need assistance with maintaining your attachments in any season, you can count on Advanced Forest Equipment experts to help you. We can give you advice on inspecting any of the attachments we sell. You can contact Advanced Forest Equipment anytime.