Although plate compactors are often self-explanatory pieces of equipment, contractors need to make sure they understand how to operate the compactors and how to maintain them to keep plates in good working condition. As with most equipment, Lewis says it is important to follow the operator's manual for maintenance. "The majority of maintenance is for the engine, and contractors should follow the engine manufacturer's recommended intervals, quantities, and types for oil, fuel, and air filters," Varel says.
And make sure to clean off the base plate and in between the plates daily to remove any asphalt that may be stuck on. Lewis also says to make sure the water tank is free of debris. Daily checks of hardware, especially bolt tightness, will help prevent any unnecessary downtime on the job. Varel adds that contractors should check belt tension and condition and engine rpms weekly.
Erbel also suggests inquiring into the type of service a manufacture offers with the plate compactor. Is there a warranty? How long is the plate compactor covered? Are there any exclusions in the warranty? What type of service support do they offer and who handles that service? What is the parts availability like? "The key for the contractor when selecting a dealer is it's critical to understand what kind of support the dealer can give him or her," Erbel says.
When selecting and purchasing a plate compactor, it is important to look at more than just price. Make sure you find a plate the suits the types of jobs it will be used on, and make sure it has the features and elements to allow you to get the best compaction and smoothest job possible.