Wheel Loader Care 101
Daily inspection checklist:
Perform daily maintenance. Wheel loaders greasing points typically are associated with the boom, curling-linkage, steering, hydraulic cylinders, and center-hinge point. Centralized or automatic lube can save on time and maintenance.
Clean windows and mirrors. It sounds very simple and easy, but many operators do not keep their loaders, let alone their windows and mirrors, clean. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to operate the machine safely when these are dirty. Morning dew and bright sunlight will impair an operator’s ability to properly operate using the dirty mirrors when reversing. With clean mirrors and windows, other machines, people, and hazardous conditions on-site will be visible and hopefully be avoided. If a mirror is cracked or not visible, it is the operator’s job to report it to his superior in order to get the machine fixed as soon as possible for his or her own safety, the safety of others, and to avoid fines.
Check and wear your seatbelt. All operators need to check if their seatbelt is properly functioning. An operator needs to be fastened into his seat whenever he or she is operating to eliminate the chance of hitting his or her head on the roof and be knocked-out while still operating the machine.
Secondly, in case of an emergency, the seatbelt will ensure the operator is centrally located in a ROPS/FOPS (Rollover Protected Structure/Falling Object Protected Structure). Never jump out of a moving loader. Remain fastened into the seat at all times while operating the wheel loader.
Finally, if there are loose items in the cab, these items also need to be fastened. Many loaders are equipped with fire extinguishers or lunchboxes — these need to be fastened because they can move around in the cab and potentially cause injuries — or worse — to the operator in an emergency situation.
Maintain recommended tire pressures or adjust based on load and haul distances. Overinflation reduces ride comfort, increases vibrations, and reduces traction performance. Excessive tire pressures can induce high vibrations through the loader, which may lead to cracked welds and brackets and possibly other service problems. Secondly, the operator can visually inspect the tires. Look for and report larger cuts, imbedded metals or stone, odd wear, cracks in the sidewall, or any other unusual tire characteristics.
Look for leaks and loose parts while inspecting the machine. It is better to mistake early morning dew for hydraulic oil leak vs. not checking at all.