Skid Steer Maintenance
Skid steers are some of the most widely used, reliable, and cost-effective machines on the market. Though they are constructed to be durable, you can further enhance a skid steer’s lifespan, expand productivity, boost uptime, and save yourself from potentially costly repairs by adhering to a routine maintenance schedule.
- Prevention—The first step in routine maintenance is prevention, especially for attachments and hydraulic flow. Always match the attachments with the proper flow. Attaching a low flow piece with heavy hydraulic flow can cause leakage and damage the machine. Conversely, not using enough hydraulic power can cause attachments to overheat.
- Clean Attachments—All attachments should be cleaned before each use.
- Daily Inspections—Skid steers should be visually inspected before each use. Look over the machine for any wear or tear, frayed or broken hoses, chipped or worn blades, and changes in track tension or tire pressure. Fuel, engine oil, and engine coolant levels should also be checked. All hoses and couplers should be free of debris and moving parts need to be properly greased before each use.
- Hydraulic Check—It’s part of daily maintenance, but it’s important enough to call out on its own. You should check your hydraulic levels daily to guarantee proper flow and operation. Visually inspect hoses before turning on the vehicle, and then once the vehicle’s been powered up, run a piece of cardboard, paper, or other material close to the hose’s surface to make sure nothing was missed. Don’t use your hand, as you could suffer a painful hydraulic cut.
- Filter Refresh—Hydraulic filters should be changed after the first 50 hours of operation, a breaking-in period that produces more contaminants. After this initial change, hydraulic, fuel, and possibly even air filters should be changed every 250 hours.
- Fluid Refresh, Too—Hydraulic fluid should be changed every 500 hours. Repetitive heating and cooling can degrade its integrity, leading to improper flow and potential damage.
- Standard Checks—Engine oil, belts, and all filters should be checked and/or replaced every 250 – 500 hours.
- Annual Checks—Engine valves, tank vents, and other internal components should be inspected and maintained on an annual basis.
- Checklist: Make an inspection list that everyone can follow. Here’s a template to get you started.