By Lonnie Fritz, Senior Market Professional, Construction Industries, Caterpillar Inc.
It’s March, which means you might still be buried in snow or starting to enjoy sunnier days and warmer temps — or experiencing both in the same week, depending on where you live. Either way, the calendar says spring is coming and with it comes construction’s busy season. If you’ve had equipment in storage or sitting idle for a while, now’s the time to prep it for the months ahead. Follow these four tips to make sure you’re work-ready:
1. Start with preventive maintenance. Check the condition of filters; hydraulic, transmission, final drive and engine oils; and coolant and replace if needed. Be sure to grease any components that need lubrication.
2. Give it a good cleaning. If your equipment’s been sitting outside, get rid of any caked-on snow, ice, dirt or mud. Remove any debris from the undercarriage and check the tracks for proper tension. And don’t forget the interior — wipe down cab surfaces, wash the windows and mirrors, and consider replacing the cab air filters.
3. Conduct a thorough inspection using the CAT Inspect App. Set aside some time to give these key systems and components a good once-over, replacing anything that’s not in good working condition:
- Brakes, lights, flashers and wipers — Make sure they’re working properly
- Engine belts — Look for signs of wear and misalignment
- Hoses — Check for wear, cracking, abrasion and kinks
- Clamps — Keep an eye out for rust or corrosion
- Seals — Look for leaks
- Battery — Ensure it’s clean and free of corrosion, check electrolyte levels and top off the charge
- Tires — Check pressure, examine tread wear and sidewalls and make sure lug nuts are tight
- Undercarriage – inspect and measure, lubricate and adjust tension
- Boom, stick, lift arms and work tools/attachments — inspect for wear and damage
- Hydraulic – check for leaks, worn lines, pump performance
- Technology – inspect components, update software, perform calibrations and test system
4. Check your paperwork. Don’t limit your spring prep just to your equipment. It’s also a great time to make sure you’re up to date on:
- Professional licenses — Is it time to start work on renewals or continuing education requirements?
- Warranty requirements — Does keeping your warranty active require you to take certain measures each year?
- Insurance policies — Is your current equipment and scope of work covered under your policy?
A small amount of time invested in spring cleanup can pay big dividends during the busy months to come — helping you prevent breakdowns, avoid unnecessary downtime and keep your business running productively and profitably.