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Winter Maintenance Checklist for Construction Equipment and Heavy Equipment Owners

When cold weather arrives, proper winter equipment maintenance keeps engines, hydraulic systems, traction control, and electrical systems safe, secure, and ready to keep your business running strong. Severe weather stresses construction equipment and whether you own your construction equipment or rent heavy equipment, maintenance ahead of the cold weather construction season should be followed precisely.

At RPM Machinery, our service technicians and experienced parts professionals create an equipment maintenance checklist. How do you know when your equipment needs simple maintenance or professional help? We offer a free 100-point inspection to get you started. 

Once you know your equipment is ready for the job site, you need to create plans for spring, summer, and winter maintenance. The importance of timely maintenance cannot be over-emphasized. Equipment needs to be ready to operate to keep projects on time, under budget, and build your reputation. Let’s explore why and how to create a winter equipment maintenance checklist for your construction equipment.

What is a Heavy Equipment Maintenance Checklist?

An equipment maintenance checklist is a comprehensive guide for inspecting and maintaining your equipment. This written guideline has many benefits, including:

  • Saving time: For most construction equipment owners manuals and service manuals include maintenance. Your heavy equipment operators and service personnel may spend an extensive amount of time locating these manuals and then they must read through technical writing.
  • Preventing oversight: By creating a clear procedure to regularly inspect engine components and tasks to perform on every machine, your equipment is better protected and ready for the most challenging construction sites.
  • Including unique processes: There isn’t one winter season for all regions. Another key benefit of an equipment maintenance checklist is customizing to your business. Simply following manufacturer recommendations may not ensure your equipment is ready for your specific business. Some heavy equipment is dormant for long periods in areas with colder temperatures. For others, work continues in cold temperatures and winter weather. An equipment maintenance checklist ensures your business is not impacted by machines that won’t start up and unnecessary repairs.

How to Create an Equipment Maintenance Checklist

A good rule is to create a winter maintenance checklist for each piece of equipment. Let’s consider some key steps to designing a written process.

What is Preventive Maintenance for Heavy Machinery?

This question may seem redundant but should be clearly defined on your checklist. Preventative maintenance for heavy equipment includes the daily, weekly, monthly, and hourly tasks performed on the engine, hydraulic system, traction, and other systems. Maintenance typically requires less technical expertise than repairs and replacement of worn parts.

Who is Responsible for Maintaining the Equipment and Heavy Machinery?

Pinpoint the person or role that is responsible for caring for each piece of equipment.

Because maintenance is planned and less complex, you should identify what maintenance is performed by operators, your head of maintenance, and also when to schedule with professional service experts.

Daily tasks like checking fluids, recording hours, visual inspections, and cleaning are often the responsibility of the operator. Weekly, monthly, seasonal, and hourly tasks may be the responsibility of a dedicated service technician.

It is also important to note when construction equipment should be scheduled for professional maintenance. Working with trusted service experts such as RPM Machinery for scheduled maintenance verifies the complex components within your machines are operating efficiently.

Specifically, if you store equipment for a long period of time, it is recommended to schedule winter equipment maintenance with a professional servicing dealer like RPM Machinery. Our service centers help you schedule winter maintenance to optimize storage in the offseason and ensure proper operations when spring construction, turf care, and other work restarts.

How Do I Know What Maintenance I Have to Do to the Equipment?

First, reference your owner’s manual and service manual. Next, consult with professional service and parts experts. The team at RPM Machinery is familiar with how winter temperatures impact your specific models and the local conditions that impact equipment.

How to Design a Winter Maintenance Checklist

Once you have confirmed what needs to be performed, you can begin designing a written winter maintenance checklist. This checklist typically includes:

  1. Identification of Equipment: Details about the equipment, including model, serial number, and location.
  2. List of part numbers: List the name and part number for your air filters, fuel filters, oil filters, fluids, and other parts required. Including fluid quantities avoids overfilling or underfilling your crankcase, hydraulic system, or cooling system which can completely derail your work.
  3. Scheduled Maintenance Tasks: A list of routine tasks to be performed at set intervals, including daily, weekly, monthly, or hourly. These tasks may include cleaning, lubrication, adjusting, and inspecting various components. During the winter plugging in block heaters may be on the checklist. To maximize efficiency, organize these tasks in the most logical order. For instance, cleaning should be the final step so all fluids and dirt are removed upon storing the machine.
  4. Inspection Criteria: After tasks, a visual inspection of specific points for wear and tear, proper alignment, leakages, and operational efficiency should be performed.
  5. Record Keeping: Space for recording the date of maintenance, the person who performed it, any issues found, and actions taken.
  6. Review: The checklist should be reviewed by the parts manager, service manager, or another supervisor. The review should include guidelines for repair or replacement if issues are found in record keeping. This review helps with parts inventory control and ordering from your supporting parts dealer.

Cold Weather Tips From RPM Machinery

Cold weather is harsh on equipment. At RPM Machinery, we are a service, parts, rental, and sales leader of heavy equipment throughout Indiana. We are deeply committed to the protection of our customers and the construction equipment that powers your growth.

Harsh weather impacts equipment during the winter months and storage can be just as damaging. Designing a process for your team simplifies maintenance and instills confidence in your operators. Well-maintained equipment is essential to success.

For more information on creating a winter service maintenance checklist and scheduling professional maintenance of heavy equipment, contact one of our locations in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Franklin, and Lafayette, Indiana.