Beat the Heat – Caring for Machinery Equipment During the Summer
Written By: Michael Bowens, Service Manager, Company Wrench
Summer is upon us and with the temperatures climbing higher every day, you need to think about the heat. Machines perform best in the summer, but that doesn’t mean they are designed for blazing hot temperatures. Even simple items, such as the grease used to lubricate the pins of a machine, have an operating range, and the best performance of a machine will be right in the middle of that range.
You’ve invested a lot in your machinery and expect peak performance. Unfortunately, heat and sun damage may harm it more than you know. When machinery breaks down, it is costly to repair and can delay projects from finishing on time. Understanding what happens to machines in the heat is vital to protecting them from damage.
Heat can do a lot to construction equipment. Cooling systems have their limits and once that limit is passed, the machine goes down. High temperatures cause hoses and O-rings to become brittle and crack. Cracks become leaks and leaks become downtime for owners.
Heat also causes dry, dusty environments. Dust will clog air filters and limit the performance of the machine. UV rays cause metal to become extremely hot. When you are running hot oil through hot metal you get one result: hotter oil! Hot oil that gets too thin causes pump flow problems and wears down machines faster. Diesel exhaust fluid (“DEF”) used for newer Tier 4 final machines should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible. Poor quality DEF codes are becoming more common every summer.
Cosmetically speaking, sunlight starts to deteriorate the machine’s paint the day it rolls off the assembly line. After a year in the environment, you can compare it to a new machine and already see fading and discoloration. If your machine is subjected to high temperatures and direct sunlight, these are issues you and your workers need to monitor.
To reduce chances of sun and heat damage, there are easy precautionary steps you can take:
1) Filters – Make sure they are changed often.
2) Dust – Run the machine with the cab sealed; dust is a killer on the A/C system.
3) Fluids – Make sure to only use manufacturer recommended fluids.
4) Inspections – Inspect coolers and vents for proper air flow; a restricted cooler will not keep up with hotter temperatures.
5) Preventative Maintenance – Follow the recommended service procedures in your service manual. Performing a full service, not just an oil change, can help find a leaking radiator hose or loose fan belt before they become major problems.
I have been in this industry for 18 years and witnessed many cases of equipment breakdown. Summer sun can take a toll on your equipment. Just as you protect your workers from the sun and heat, protect your equipment, too. Your investment will last for years to come and your projects won’t be sidelined by broken machinery.
Company Wrench rents to a diverse set of customers across the U.S. Some customers might be in the Florida sun, while others will be playing in the snow in Minnesota. With machines able to adapt to both hot and cold climates, we have no problem sending the same machine to either!