Got a Backhoe Loader? Keep It Ship-Shape
By James White
Homesteaders work hard to keep their food growing, their animals happy and their land in good condition. Doing all this takes a lot of work as well as the right tools for the job. If you treat your tools right, they’ll last longer and give you a lifetime of return on your investment.
If your homestead is big enough to require a backhoe loader, you know just how rough all that dirt-moving can be – on human backs and machinery alike. A backhoe is a big piece of equipment, and it’s important to keep it working properly. Regular maintenance can save you a lot of hassle and expense by catching problems before they get out of hand. Here’s what to do to maintain your backhoe loader.
Give Your Backhoe Loader a Daily Visual Inspection
Before you get in your machine, take a walk around it and give it a once-over. How does the bucket look? Is the cutting edge still in good shape? Are the tires fully inflated? Any dings or chips in the windshield? Getting a handle on the condition of your machine will make it easier to notice any new damage that comes up so you can take care of it promptly. Some manufacturers offer a safety checklist, which can help you focus on the important bits during your inspection.
Check Fluid Levels Regularly
Part of your daily inspection should include checking the oil and hydraulic fluid levels. Check your owner’s manual for specifics, but good practice requires that you wipe the dipstick clean and reinsert it to get a proper reading. If you have to top off any fluids, make sure that you are using the right grade as recommended by the manufacturer, and that your fluids are clean and new.
It’s also a good idea to check your fuel levels – there’s nothing worse than running out of diesel in the middle of a job.
Keep Your Backhoe Well-Greased
This machine has lots of joints and moving parts, and that means you need to keep it greased so everything moves smoothly. As with most aspects of your backhoe loader, reading the owner’s manual is a must. Check for the type of grease recommended by the manufacturer, and get advice from local mechanics to see what works best in your climate. The swing system, front axle and trunnion bearings bear the brunt of the wear and tear on your backhoe, so be sure they are well-greased on a regular basis to prevent damage.
Adjust Your E-Stick When Necessary
With repeated digging, the extendable arm of your backhoe – also known as the E-stick – can start to become loose, causing movements to be wobbly and a little unpredictable. This also weakens your machine and can eventually lead to major damage. If the arm of your backhoe looks shaky, tighten it up using the attached adjustment tools. You can check your manual for specifics about your backhoe loader, or try an instructional video to get a sense of how to make these adjustments.
With a little preventive maintenance each day, you can keep your valuable backhoe loader in great shape. Taking the time to attend to small maintenance and repair issue rights away will keep you safe on the homestead and keep your machine running well for years to come.
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