Heavy equipment is extremely expensive, costing tens of thousands of dollars up front. Some equipment will set a company back several hundred thousand dollars. Construction water trucks are no different. Additionally, those figures don’t take into account regular maintenance and unexpected repairs. While there is little that can be done about the prices that manufacturers and dealers charge, maintenance and repairs are controllable costs. Keeping your construction water truck working correctly requires a regular maintenance plan that involves a few important key points. It’s also vital that operators are trained properly on the machine’s operations, and that they perform daily inspections to avoid excessive wear and costly downtime.
Preventative Maintenance Program
When you learn how to anticipate changes in your equipment over time, you can predict how wear and tear will affect it. This can only be accomplished through a thorough preventative maintenance program. This involves regular service intervals, inspections, and modifying or replacing parts and components when necessary. During the inspection, performance testing and analysis can also be undertaken, further ensuring that the truck and water systems are working the way they are intended. When implemented at the time of purchase, a preventative maintenance program minimizes breakdowns, and decreases unscheduled repairs. It also increases equipment’s life expectancy and improves its resale value over time, meaning it becomes a longer range asset.
Routine Is Key
Equipment manufacturers spend a great deal of time researching and testing, and through that they create a manual that details the proper maintenance schedules users should follow. Consider that they know their equipment inside and out, have put it through its paces and make recommendations based on real data. Therefore, it’s important to follow their advice, however, it’s also vital to include your own guidelines based upon how and where you use the equipment. For example, the manufacturer may recommend air filter changes every few months, but since you work in a dusty environment, they need to be changed more frequently. In other words, use the manufacturers schedule as a baseline and alter it to suit your own specific needs, whether that be more or less frequent maintenance.
Document Construction Water Truck Service History
Every construction water truck in your fleet needs to have a documented service history for several reasons. First of all, it doesn’t depend upon the often flawed memory of a human. It’s impossible to remember what repairs were done, and when without writing it down or otherwise making note. You can use a spreadsheet, or a specific piece of software, however, it can be as simple as a pen and a ledger. The important part isn’t how you document, it’s that you do it consistently. Documentation of repairs makes daily operations smoother, removes doubt and protects against claims of neglect in the case of mechanical failure causing injuries. It basically acts as a witness, backing up your service department and proving your commitment to safety and shows that maintenance is a priority.
Daily Operator Inspections
Water truck operators are the front line when it comes to machine maintenance. It’s vital that they perform a visual inspection of their equipment before each use, top to bottom, inside and out. This includes checking the oils and fluids and filling them to the proper levels. It’s also imperative to check the tires, hoses, and belts, looking for wear, holes or other issues. Lights and other indicators have to be tested as well to ensure that they are working properly. Issues found during these daily inspections should be reported so repairs can be scheduled. What’s more, they are the individuals likely to notice problems with the machine’s operations and can alert the maintenance department and trigger necessary repairs. Again, it is imperative that these inspections are documented to ensure action is taken.
Heavy equipment uses a variety of fluids from engine and gear oils to fuel, coolant, hydraulic fluid and transmission fluid. Some of these fluids are considered longer drain cycle fluids, in other words, they have a longer useful life within the engine than others do. This type of fluid should be analyzed on a regular basis to produce information about the operation and maintenance needs of your equipment. Analysis of the fluids helps to detect wear, degradation of oils, contaminates and a variety of other indicators that cause damage to equipment and decrease its performance. Staying updated on these fluids can be a challange without a regular program in place, therefore, it’s important that each construction water truck has its own schedule and supporting documents. This will help to ensure that future maintenance stays on track and that downtime and repairs are minimized.
Keep Your Construction Water Truck Clean
An often overlooked maintenance task for water trucks is also one of the simplest to achieve, keeping equipment clean. Long hours on a job site wreak havoc on equipment, especially when it’s a dirty, dusty, muddy or wet environment. Dirt and dust build up in filters, causing the engine to work harder and increasing the fuel it consumes. Excessive grease hardens over time, decreasing its lubricating benefits and putting undo strain on the equipment. Dirty equipment is also harder to inspect as it is more difficult to spot rust, or other potential damage. While you’re not going to be able to keep your equipment in pristine, clean condition, regular cleaning will go a long way towards improving its lifespan and performance. What’s more, cleaner equipment will give your company an image boost.
Every heavy equipment fleet owner has the same goal in mind, to keep their water trucks running as long as possible while spending as little as possible. The best way to accomplish this is through regularly scheduled preventative maintenance, daily inspections and attention to small details. It’s vitally important that every aspect of your maintenance program is documented, from clean inspections to problems found and the fixes implemented. Failure to do so is a recipe for disaster, inviting problems that are costly in terms of lost work, emergency repairs and blows to your company’s reputation. You’ve worked hard to build your company, don’t let some minor problem turn into a major issue, keep up with your equipment maintenance.