Tips From Techs: How to Conduct Routine Maintenance on Your Cat® Machines


Cat Heavy Equipment is built to last for the long haul, but with the wear-and-tear that comes from a construction site, it’s inevitable that they’ll eventually need some maintenance. Our team of expert technicians have compiled some key tips that will help you care for different parts of your machine on your own to avoid major costly repairs as long as possible.

The Benefits of Conducting Preventative Heavy Equipment Maintenance

Want to know how to make your Cat Heavy Equipment last even longer? Getting in the habit of conducting routine equipment check-ups is one of the best things you can do for your machines — and your business. Here are some of the biggest benefits of regular maintenance:

1.      It will save you money

If heavy equipment breaks down or unexpectedly stops working, you may need larger repairs that cost you a lot of money.


2.      Avoid compound failures and save time

Small unaddressed issues can easily turn into larger ones, this is known as a Compound Failure. Regularly looking for potential problems can help you spot something that might become bigger so you can avoid large fixes that stall productivity.


3.      Prolong the lifespan of your Cat Heavy Equipment

Since routinely checking your Cat equipment helps avoid major costly repairs, your machines will typically have a longer lifespan, giving you the biggest return on your investment.


Essential Routine Maintenance for Heavy Machinery

Here are some things you can do on your own to maintain your Cat Heavy Equipment. Of course, if you’d prefer to have a Boyd CAT technician take a look, you can always come into your closest Boyd CAT dealership.


Grease Points on Equipment and Attachments

Making sure your heavy machine is greased can reduce excessive friction and damage, resist corrosion and washout and prevent overheating or seizing. Cat Greases also have unique thickener blends built to withstand harsh weather. Routinely taking care of grease points on the machine and its attachments should keep your machine running well in any environment, whether it’s a telehandler, front end loader, skid steer or dozer. Here’s how to check your machine’s grease points:

  1. Find your grease points in your operator’s maintenance manual.
  2. Walk around your machine and inspect these points every day before you start work. Make sure that nothing’s in the way of each one.
  3. Ensure that each grease point is properly lubricated.


Check Track Undercarriage Sag on Dozers and Excavators

Did you know that your undercarriage can make up as much as half of your machine’s operating costs? Undercarriages endure more wear-and-tear than any other part of your machine, so eventually you will need to replace it. However, knowing how to measure the track sag on the undercarriage can help eliminate machine downtime and allow you to better forecast when you’ll need a larger replacement. This way you can budget ahead and possibly bundle the replacement with other repairs.

Here’s how to measure the track sag of your undercarriage:

  1. The materials you’ll need:
    1. UW5 Ultrasonic Tool
    2. Calipers
    3. Depth Gauge
    4. Tape Measure
    5. Ruler
    6. Wire Brush
    7. String
  2. Always check for warm joints using the back of your hand or a thermal gun.
  3. Check inside the machine to see the last time someone measured the tracks (if it was tracked).
  4. Take out your string and run it over the top of the track, fastening it securely so it stays on top.
  5. Measure the two lowest points, add them together and divide them by 2 to see the overall track sag.


Watch this video for a step-by-step tutorial:


Change Your Oil and Filters

Changing your oil and filters are some of the most important things you can do to extend the lifespan of your equipment. Fortunately, they’re also two of the simplest things you can do yourself.

With 45% longer fuel injector life, up to 80% lower fuel system cost, extended run times and optimum power and performance, Cat Filters are simply the best on the market. All machines have slightly different instructions for changing them, but the filter should be located on the bottom of the fuel tank underneath the fuel line. Check your Service Manual to see exactly what’s needed to make a change.

It’s important to check the fluid and oil on your machine every day to ensure everything is running smoothly. When checking and refilling oil:

  1. Be careful not to introduce any dirt.
  2. Wipe down the area around the dipstick.
  3. Carefully check all end caps for debris before refilling.

Accessing these crucial maintenance materials is easy. You can order authentic Cat Filters and Fluids 24/7 on Parts.Cat.Com and have them delivered to you or pick them up at your nearest Boyd CAT dealership.


Post-Winter Checks

If you live in a climate with long winters, your equipment probably sat idle while you waited for the cold weather to pass. Freezing temperatures and moisture can increase wear-and-tear on your machines, so it’s important to make sure everything is in working order before you gear up for the spring. Here’s what you’ll need to check before starting work:

  1. Lights, flashers and wipers: Movement and sight are extremely important for your machine, so check that your lights, flashers and wipers are good-to-go. You may also want to check the windows and air conditioning.
  2. Brakes: Put your machine in neutral and move slowly to see if they’re working properly. Safety is key, so always turn on the parking brake if your brakes fail to work.
  3. Engine Belt: Inspect this for signs of fraying or wear. Also, ensure the alignment is in working order.
  4. Hoses: These often contain hazardous materials, both for humans and the environment. Make sure they’re still intact and not rubbing up against other components.
  5. Clamps: Many hoses and pipes are held down by clamps that can suffer wear-and- tear. Replace them as needed.
  6. Seals: Leaks can occur over a long winter. Make sure there’s no loose fluid that could ruin efficiency.
  7. Tires: Tire pressure is greatly affected by winter weather. Check yours so that you don’t cause any damage.
  8. Boom and arm: Replace any pins or bushings that look worn and look for any damage to the lines.
  9. Battery: Look at the battery compartment to ensure there’s no corrosion or foreign materials. You can also check the electrolyte levels and top off the charge.
  10. Stickers and decals: The stickers on your vehicle that warn others about hazards can fall off or wear down. Check that yours are in good condition so you can help warn others about potential issues.


Cold Start Your Cat Heavy Equipment

Sometimes work can’t wait until the Spring, so you’ll need to make sure your machines are ready to go in freezing Winter weather. Your equipment can freeze if you don’t properly care for it, so make sure you do the following:

  1. Install the correct lubricants: Be sure to adjust them to the proper temperature.
  2. Condition hydraulic hoses: The outer wrapper of hydraulic hoses can crack in colder temperatures. Apply arctic hydraulic oil for colder months and normal machine use will condition it to work properly.
  3. Use block heaters: A block heater is the best way to fire up your engine in cold weather as it increases the temperatures of the engine and hydraulic fluid. To help speed up the warm-up process, block the radiator to restrict cold air from the fan.
  4. Keep batteries fully charged and warm: Cold weather requires your batteries to generate nearly twice as many cranking amps to turn over, so keep yours charged and warm for an easy start.
  5. Use starting fluid: Storing starting fluid at room temperatures and injecting it only when the engine is cranking will help the machine. However, starting fluids are highly flammable and toxic, so ensure safe storage when not in use (never store them in the operator’s compartment).
  6. Always run the engine until it reaches operating temperature: The intake and exhaust valves can stick if you don’t wait to get started each day.
  7. Ensure your tires are properly inflated: Check your tire pressure at the beginning of every shift to make sure they’re filled to the proper pounds per square inch for your machine. Colder weather can cause them to lose pressure.
  8. Schedule an undercarriage inspection: Schedule an undercarriage inspection to help ensure that all components are working properly before the ground freezes.
  9. Properly Store Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF): DEF freezes if it’s been exposed to temperatures of 12° F or lower, so make sure the area you choose to store it in is well-insulated. If it does freeze, store the fluid in a big enough container to avoid it bursting as it expands while it thaws out.
  10. Always fill the fuel tank at the end of a shift: Fill up your tank at the end of each workday so it doesn’t freeze.


Nobody Does Heavy Machine Repairs and Maintenance Better Than Boyd CAT

With more than 160 years of providing the best equipment solutions, Boyd CAT is the most trusted heavy equipment repair company in the area. Our team of highly skilled technicians and more than 575-person strong support staff do everything it takes to keep your machines running at their best.

Whether you need preventative maintenance, a major equipment repair or field service that comes straight to you, we’ve got you covered 24/7.

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