Ongoing improvements to compact track loaders – including increased digging and lifting performance, maneuverability, and attachment capabilities – have made them more versatile and productive for you and your crew. However, these advancements require special care that cannot be overlooked.
Make the most out of your investment by following these six maintenance tips.
Start with the equipment maintenance manual
The first thing you and your equipment operators should do is read the Operation & Maintenance Manual, which is typically stored in the machine’s cab for quick reference. It’s the best resource for properly operating and maintaining your equipment, while also keeping it running at peak performance. Can’t find the manual? You can find all of our official manuals for operation and maintenance, parts, and service online, or you can contact your local Bobcat dealer to request a copy.
Inspect fluid levels and filters
Fluids – including engine oils, coolant, hydraulic fluid, grease and drive motor lubricants – need to be checked regularly. Using the wrong lubricants can lead to unnecessary repairs, so make sure to work with your dealership to match fluids to the proper ambient temperatures and to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Fuels should also be assessed at this time. A No. 1 or No. 2 ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel is the most common specification in the industry. No. 2 grades should be used at temperatures above 15 degrees Fahrenheit; however, it is recommended to use a blended or No. 1 diesel fuel and/or anti-gel additives when temperatures drop below 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
To protect today’s advanced components in compact track loaders, it is important to follow published interval schedules for engine, air, fuel and hydraulic system filters and purchase original equipment manufacturer (OEM) filters compatible with your machine. Changing filters on a consistent basis can help reduce potential system contamination and extend the life of core components.
Check the battery
Today’s compact track loaders constantly draw on the battery, so you should check it before operating. Make sure the battery is in good working condition with no visible signs of wear or damage. If you disconnect the battery during non-working seasons, such as winter, be sure it’s reconnected properly and is fully charged. Connections on the battery should be clean to prevent hard starting and charging issues.
Inspect the undercarriage
Your equipment doesn’t sit around on the jobsite. It’s busy working in mud, dirt and rock, which can build up in the undercarriage. While Bobcat compact track loaders are designed for easier cleanout, it’s vital to keep undercarriages clean and free of debris. Use shovels and pressure washers to clean remaining debris at the end of the workday.
You should also complete a full undercarriage inspection for excessive or uneven wear and damaged or missing components. During a routine machine inspection, check the tracks to see if any components look out of place or need repairs. In addition, inspect the rollers, idlers and drives for leakage.
Proper and routine undercarriage maintenance helps to prevent unnecessary downtime and reduces potential wear later on.
Prepare equipment attachments ahead of time
Attachments require the same attention to maintenance as the machine itself. Visual checks of the hydraulic hoses, cylinders and guards on the attachments can help determine if damage or wear has occurred. Everything that engages with the ground, should be looked at for wear and damage.
Consider these other maintenance tips:
● Operate only those attachments that are approved for use with the compact loader.
● Connect the attachment and operate it briefly to make sure the attachment works properly before using it on the jobsite.
● Check attachment-specific fluid levels and change them as needed.
If you do not have adequate service training or an on-site mechanic, consider partnering with your local dealership for compact equipment maintenance. Your dealership can create a unique package that can address your maintenance needs and assess key machine features – parts, supplies and lubricants – before servicing your machines.
Maintaining your compact track loader is critical in your line of work. By following these six simple maintenance tips, as well as the guidelines listed in your Operation & Maintenance Manual, you can expand the overall life of your equipment and remove the unwanted surprise of costly downtime.