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Important Fluid Management Tips for Heavy Equipment Owners

Fluids such as engine and transmission oil, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), hydraulic fluid, diesel fuel, and coolant are the driving force of all heavy machineries. These liquid components determine whether a piece of equipment is able to serve its intended purpose. Unfortunately, however, many heavy equipment owners don’t pay enough attention to monitoring fluid levels and conditions. 

The performance of the machine suffers when something goes wrong with any of the fluids, resulting in loss of efficiency and productivity at the job site. Moreover, poor fluid management also increases the probability of equipment downtime and shortens its lifespan. Proactive fluid management helps avoid unnecessary maintenance expenses, achieve optimum productivity, and maximises the return on heavy equipment investments.  

Discussed below are some simple fluid management tips that can be useful for all heavy machinery owners. 

Follow the manual: Reading the operation and maintenance manual provided by the manufacturer is the first step towards proper maintenance and selection of equipment fluids. These manuals include detailed explanation of the machine’s maintenance requirements. All manuals also contain a list of recommended OEM fluids and suggested fluid intervals. The safety measures and instructional decals mentioned in the manual should also be followed. Ideally, in order to get familiarised with the fluid management needs of the machine, owners may consider proper maintenance training for machine operators. 

Storage Procedures: While storing hydraulic fluids, coolants, oils, and diesel fuels, it is important to keep water, dust and debris away from the storage tanks. Presence of these contaminants may degrade the chemical structures of fluids, causing pump, filter and injector related issues. Handling of all machine fluids should take place in a dedicated fluid containment area and the maximum level of cleanliness should be maintained for their storage. 

Extra caution is required while storing DEF for earthmoving applications. It is always recommended that the DEF tank is filled directly from the DEF container. If intermediate containers or funnels are used, they should be clean and used only for DEF. It is also recommended to get your supply tanks examined by a professional diesel fuel inspection service every six months. 

Delivery Methods: In order to avoid damaging critical system components and machine parts, it is critical to use clean and contaminant-free fluids. Many fluid distributors are well equipped to provide efficient fluid delivery methods that can significantly reduce contaminants. Depending on your fluid requirement, the distributors will determine the type of mobile lube vehicle suitable for your operation.  

Proactive Approach: Before minor issues turn into major repairs, it makes sense to invest in a proactive maintenance program under the guidance of trained service technicians. It is advisable to engage dealership service teams because they have access to all the latest information, resources and tools. By using tools and software that are typically not available to others, these technicians can check diagnostics and complete calibrations.

Fluid Analysis: A fluid analysis program can be extremely useful for protecting your equipment. Manufacturers often offer programs where small samples of coolant, transmission oil, and engine oil are tested to ascertain the overall fluid condition.  

These were some simple steps to reduce maintenance costs, prolong component life, and keep your equipment in top condition. Please contact us if you have more questions about your heavy equipment.