Each paver's operation service manual will detail what maintenance tasks should be done weekly (after 50 hours), monthly/quarterly (after 250 hours) and annually (after 1,000 hours).
According to Ingersoll Rand, weekly checks should include attention to the screed by cleaning and smearing grease on the extension slides, depth cranks, and pivot points.
After 250 hours, be sure to change engine oil, and fluid filters. In between, pay attention to:
- Tractor components (auger bearings and flight segments, head shaft bearings, foot shaft bearings, flight chains, and chain guards)
- Screed parts (plates, front deflector plate thickness control screws, trunnion blocks, drop-arm pivot pins, screed glow plugs, and burner nozzles)
- Conveyor bar alignment and chains to ensure they're in proper adjustment
- Auger/conveyor drive chain tension (should be no more than 1 in. of play or movement in the auger) and wear signs on chains and sprockets
Hutchins adds that operators should also learn to trust their instincts and senses about what's happening with the machines. "The smell of hot wiring means you more than likely have a short, and you'll want to fix it before it melts part of the paver's wiring," he explains. "Similarly, vibrations you feel during operation might be coming from a bearing going out. It's a lot easier to replace a bearing right away than have it fail and have to replace it and other related components it may have damaged."
Annual attention pays
"It is best to start a new paving season with a new screed plate," Bolick recommends. "As it's used, it will get visually thinner. If you let it get too thin, actual holes will start to appear and that will affect the mat. The same is true for end gates. These wear and should be changed when thin, before they affect mat quality."
He also advises checking for cracks or visual signs of wear in track rails. "Replace them as needed," Bolick states. "Because this is a time-consuming project, it's usually best to do this in winter before paving season begins."
Annual maintenance includes replacing the engine air filter if operating conditions haven't dictated changing it more frequently. Other yearly PM includes changing the traction drive planetaries' fluid, hydraulic fluid, the engine fuel filter, wash down fuel filter, auger/conveyor pump control filter, and hydraulic tank strainers (clean or change).
New pavers, same approach
The routines described don't really change, even if you've purchased the newest asphalt pavers on the market, but they may be easier.
"The new pavers are a little easier to maintain, like anything else with new technologies," Cates says. "You have to be trained to do set-ups and repairs on new features, but they're on there to make the pavers more user friendly as they're operated and maintained."
One important consideration is the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. "With the new Tier II and Tier III emissions-conforming engines on the market today, contractors need to remember that pavers with these new engines must be maintained properly, as well," Kessler points out. "They must continue to meet emissions standards, and equipment dealers/distributors have the service personnel and equipment to help."
He concludes, "Paver life is all about maintenance. If the machine is maintained properly, cleaned and reconditioned (wear parts replaced, engine properly maintained and hydraulic system kept clean), it should last four to six years as a primary paver and another six to 10 years as a backup paver."