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RapidWorks Team4/10/24 11:46 AM4 min read

The Essential Heavy Equipment Maintenance Checklist

For heavy equipment teams, keeping your equipment in top shape is a constant battle against the elements. The daily grind of pressure, dust, heat, and constant use wears down parts faster than you can say "construction." That's why understanding the ins and outs of heavy equipment maintenance is crucial — it can be the difference between preventing a breakdown before it happens, and an unexpected repair that breaks the bank.

In this post we'll share our essential checklist for heavy equipment maintenance, from standard engine upkeep to technical maintenance for specialty equipment like concrete pumping and hydrovac trucks. Read on to learn more!  

Inside this article:

  1. What Is Heavy Equipment Maintenance?
  2. Heavy Equipment Maintenance Checklist
    1. Engine Maintenance
    2. Standard Vehicle Maintenance
    3. Daily Preventative Maintenance
  3. Specialty Equipment Maintenance
    1. Concrete Pump Truck Maintenance
    2. Hydrovac Truck Maintenance 
  4. Tracking Preventative Maintenance

What Is Heavy Equipment Maintenance? 

Heavy equipment job sites are harsh environments — things like dust, heat, extreme pressure, and constant use can cause parts to wear down extremely quickly. Heavy equipment maintenance includes anything you do to keep your trucks performing properly on the road and on the job site (one of the most important parts of maxing out your fleet utilization).

Traditional maintenance is usually geared toward things like repairs and part replacements that get equipment back up and running after a breakdown.

But don't forget about preventative maintenance. Regularly inspecting and caring for equipment before it breaks down is just as important — it can help you avoid repairs and downtime, and even extend the life of your equipment. 

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Heavy Equipment Maintenance Inspection Checklist

There are several types of heavy equipment maintenance, such as engine maintenance, standard maintenance, and daily preventative maintenance. Each type focuses on a specific aspect of the equipment and should be part of your maintenance program. According to the 1926.431 standard by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), employers in industries that use heavy equipment must regularly maintain the machines, especially in hazardous locations. Non-compliance with these regulations can result in fines per Section 17 of the OSHA Act. This checklist should help keep you on track. 

Engine Maintenance Checklist

Engine maintenance means inspecting and maintaining all the components that keep the engine running smoothly, such as filters, belts, and fluids.

  • Check the levels of engine fluids (oil, coolant) regularly. 
  • Inspect the battery and clean the terminals. 
  • Check the air filters and replace them when necessary. 
  • Inspect and clean the cooling system, including hoses, radiators, and water pumps. 
  • Inspect all hoses for leaks. 

Standard Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

A standard vehicle maintenance routine involves inspecting all the major systems, including the engine, transmission, hydraulics, and electrical systems. 

  • Inspect the hydraulic system for leaks. 
  • Check the transmission fluid level. 
  • Inspect the electrical system (battery and starter). 
  • Check for the dashboard warning lights and address them promptly. 
  • Test the wipers
  • Check the wheel alignments
  • Inspect the tires for wear and tear. 

Daily Preventative Maintenance Checklist

As the name suggests, daily preventative maintenance means performing basic routine checks and maintenance tasks every day before starting the equipment. The operator can do it without much technical knowledge. 

  • Inspect the exterior of the equipment for any visible damage or leaks. 
  • Check all the lights (headlights, turn signals, brake lights). 
  • Inspect and clean mirrors and windows. 
  • Check the horn and warning signals. 
  • Check the seat belt for any damages. 
  • Inspect and clean the cabin area. 
  • Lubricate all moving parts (hinges, joints) as necessary. 

Specialty Equipment Maintenance Checklists

Some maintenance needs are common across all types of equipment, while others may be specific to certain machines. 

For instance, an excavator may require different maintenance steps than a bulldozer. Here are the maintenance checklists for specific types of heavy equipment. 

Concrete Pump Truck Maintenance Checklist

A concrete pump transfers liquid concrete from a mixer truck to a designated location, such as a building site. 

It is prone to particle contamination since contaminants like gravel and sand can get inside the machine's pipes and pumps. Here are some maintenance tasks specific to concrete pumps: 

  • Check the hydraulic oil. Replace or clean it if it has a high particulate concentration. 
  • Replace the hydraulic hose if it is damaged. 
  • Inspect the electrical elements, such as loose junction boxes, terminal connections, or loose plugs. 
  • Check for corrosion on the steel pipes
  • Inspect the rubber seals; replace if damaged.  
  • Replace bad or faulty gaskets on the boom
  • Fix leaky hydraulic fittings
  • Fix or replace malfunctioning electrical components

Hydrovac Truck Maintenance Checklist

The hydrovac is a combination of a water nozzle and a vacuum. It uses high-pressure water to excavate soil and rocks. The following are some maintenance tasks specific to hydrovacs: 

  • Check the blower's oil levels and change the oil every 250 hours of use or according to the manufacturer's guidelines. 
  • Grease the drive shaft regularly. 
  • Replace the filter bags every 1,500 to 2,000 hours of operation. 
  • Run restriction tests on the machine and replace the filter bags if the restriction levels are high. 
  • Check the exhaust system for any damage.  
  • Inspect the vacuum hose regularly for wear and tear. 
  • Inspect the batteries and charge them if needed. 
  • Test the hydraulic hoses and replace them if they're compromised. 
  • Drain the water system, especially in winter, to prevent freezing. 
  • Check the water pump for signs of damage before winter. 

Preventative Maintenance Tracking

Even with a heavy equipment maintenance checklist, it can be hard to stay on top of all the maintenance tasks for your machinery. If you're managing a large fleet of heavy equipment vehicles, it becomes even tougher. That's where fleet management software like RapidWorks comes in. 

RapidWorks automatically tracks equipment usage and mileage while your team works, helping you schedule upcoming maintenance and giving you alerts when each truck is due. Schedule a demo to see RapidWorks in action today. 


RapidWorks Team

RapidWorks is on a mission to help heavy equipment service teams maximize profit and utilization by simplifying everything from quote to cash.