6 Overlooked Maintenance Tips for Heavy Equipment Owners

My dad owned a construction company when I was a kid, which meant summer break wasn’t really a break. One summer I was tasked with cleaning up an old asphalt paver. It took a couple days to get it as clean as possible. I greased it and told my dad it was all cleaned up. Of course, we did the classic walk around looking for dirty spots.

A few days later, I went to grab something out of the building where the paver was usually stored. It was gone. I was on the paving crew so I knew it wasn’t out on a job. I ran up to my dad and asked where it was. His response? “Oh, I sold that. Sold it for enough to buy a new and better one.”

Certainly, keeping your equipment clean is only one of the few overlooked aspects of heavy equipment maintenance. In my experience, adhering to these six maintenance practices increases your return on investment (ROI) and extends the equipment’s life.

  1. Maintenance Log

Companies both big and small rarely keep in-depth service logs. Sometimes workers keep track of the basics, like repairs and oil changes. To maximize your ROI, it is critical to keep track of maintenance. It’s far too difficult to remember, and it gets harder the more equipment you have. MyAMSOILGarage is a handy (and free) tool for tracking maintenance and services. Another benefit of maintenance logs? You can show potential buyers the equipment’s track record when it’s time to sell.

  1. Washing/Cleaning

Washing and cleaning your equipment has significant benefits. First, mud and dirt can make it difficult to watch for fluid leaks, broken parts and other safety issues. Extended exposure to mud, dirt and dust can also accelerate rust formation and wear. I also highly recommend applying AMSOIL Heavy Duty Metal Protector on important areas for an added dose of protection.

  1. Grease

While most workers grease equipment periodically, they may not use a quality synthetic grease that resists impact and washout. If you’re hard on equipment, upgrade to AMSOIL Synthetic Polymeric Off-Road Grease or Synthetic Polymeric Truck, Chassis and Equipment Grease. They offer resistance to impact, helping prevent the grease from pounding out in heavily loaded, extreme applications. They’re also recommended for extended service intervals, which helps reduce downtime.

  1. Tires and Tracks

Tires – after discovering how much tires for heavy equipment can cost, I haven’t felt bad for the guy replacing tires on his Toyota Camry since. Sets run in the thousands, and you likely won’t find a “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” deal. Take care of them by checking the tread and inflation (psi) daily.

Tracks – Keep them clean! Get a narrow shovel and, if you can recruit one, a child who can dig into all the narrow spaces to get the dirt out (that’s what my parents did). Try to avoid slopes, blacktop and concrete. Plus, try not to spin the tracks. I realize that’s not possible in the real world, but I still encourage being mindful of it.

  1. Air Filters

From working at AMSOIL, the phrase “an engine is an air pump” is ingrained in my brain. That said, the air entering the engine requires filtration, especially considering the constant dirt and dust on a work site. (And, if you aren’t kicking up dirt and mud in your loader, you’re not really working!) Contaminants can breach the engine and slowly scour away metal components. It’s just a matter of time until something fails. Check your air filters often.

  1. Cooling System

Like the cooling system on your car or truck, the cooling system on heavy equipment is often overlooked. Proper cooling-system maintenance is essential in both diesel and gasoline applications. In diesel applications, pitting, overheating, over-cooling and cracked heads are just some of the common cooling-system catastrophes. AMSOIL Heavy-Duty Antifreeze & Coolant offers an extensive service life of 600,000 miles/12,000 hours of operation/six years in heavy-duty and off-road applications.

  1. Bonus Round: Fluid Analysis

Conducting fluid analysis provides a number of different benefits, including…

  • Maximum drain intervals
  • Long equipment life
  • Reduced instances of major mechanical problems
  • Increased resale value

Oil Analyzers Inc. has many options for testing. Check out the OAI user guide for more details. Fluid analysis is well worth the investment in comparison to the investment of heavy machinery. Fluid analysis can help identify potential sources of contaminants while providing an idea of what mechanical issues may be looming.

These are just a few of the life lessons I learned during my summer “breaks.” It all boils down to performing those often-overlooked maintenance tasks (like cleaning equipment) to maximize the value of your assets.


  1. Checking your heavy machinery equipment and applying grease is always rule number one, you don’t want the wear and tear to commence sooner than expected. I really liked the fact that you added Air Filters as some people ignore them completely and forget about them

  2. With my work, I think doing these maintenance items would be a good idea. I think that the tires and tracks can be one of the more important ones. If they are in a bad state, then there will be problems with keeping traction. I’ll mention this to my boss to see if we can get some new tracks for one of the loaders.

  3. One of the simplest solutions for taking care of your heavy construction equipment also happens to be one of the most important: keep your equipment squeaky clean! Set your schedule for pressure washing your equipment to remove hardened mud and grease buildup; create a separate schedule for additional cleaning procedures like replacing filters and cleaning your engine.

  4. It’s good to know this about heavy construction equipment maintenance. I like how you said that there needs to be frequent washing, cleaning, and greasing to make sure it performs. We’re looking to rent one for our landscape project, so I’ll look for a company that does all of this!

  5. Every equipment has a big impact on the overall business hence it is necessary to make sure that your equipment doesn’t break down. And if the equipment breaks down happen it can cause a huge loss to the company. Thanks for sharing the maintenance tips for heavy equipment. These are really useful tips and following this tips will extend the equipment’s life as well as RIO.

  6. Good reminder to regularly clean your air filters. I can only imagine how quickly those can get clogged up, especially if you work in an area with bad air quality to begin with. I’s always fascinating to me to learn about different methods of construction.

  7. It’s astonishing to learn that workers and companies tend to keep maintenance logs that take note of everything that the equipment is going through from repairs to oil changes. That is great to have learned as being able to see these logs would make choosing a used construction equipment a lot easier. Hopefully, once we do need to obtain these types of equipment we would be able to know their history properly for assessment. Thanks!

  8. I’m glad that you brought up that it can be hard to check for any issues if your construction equipment is too dirty. Regardless if you’re renting or buying, it’s important to keep your equipment clean because it helps it last longer. The better you take care of it, the longer it will last and the more usage you’ll get out of it.

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