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Best Practices for Fluid Maintenance

Your One Stop Guide to Fluid Maintenance

Machine operators need to make a habit of checking all their equipment’s fluids on a daily basis. This routine is especially important in the summer months, when engines run hotter and faster, which leads to more fluid evaporation, causing lower fluid levels. To reduce downtime and keep your machines running efficiently, check hydraulic fluid, coolant, and oils every day.

Daily Fluid Check List

Your machine needs more than engine oil to operate. Here’s a complete list of the oils you should check:

Engine Oil

Engine oil is the lifeblood of your heavy machinery. It keeps the engine running smoothly, cleanly, and problem free. It can easily be checked with either a dipstick or by looking for a clearly visible fill line. If either is below normal, add more oil.

Transmission Oil

Formulated to provide power to your transmission system, this oil also keeps the system cool and well lubricated. To check your transmission oil, turn off the engine, and look for the transmission dipstick. Check your machine owner’s manual if you’re unsure. Ideally, the transmission fluid is just under the full mark.

Gear Oil

Essential for lubricating gears and preventing overheating, gear oil should also be at the filler plug. Don’t be tempted to overfill it, as this will decrease gear efficiency.

Hydraulic Fluid

Hydraulic fluid transmits the force needed to keep your machine moving fast and smooth for years to come and lubricates the hydraulic system to protect it from corrosion. If the fluid level falls too low, your machine operates below capacity and runs the risk of overheating.

To check the hydraulic fluid: First, turn off the machine, but make sure it’s on level ground, to get the most accurate reading. Second, check the hydraulic tank or dipstick. If your levels are too low, pour some more fluid in.

Coolant

Coolant does far more than keep the engine cool. It keeps it warm, too. It also prevents corrosion, rust, and parts degradation. Basically, it’s a miracle worker. But only if it’s allowed to work. Low coolant levels lead to a host of potential repairs, so check it daily. First, turn off your machine and let the engine cool. Then, open the coolant tank and check your levels against the line. If yours is low, add some more!

Additional Tips
  • Always wear gloves and protective glasses when checking fluids. Pressure can build, leading to splatter, which can lead to serious injury.
  • Store all fluids in a well ventilated area, and always make sure the tops are tightly sealed.
  • Use only the appropriate oils and other fluids for your machine. Check your manual for more information, or call Kelbe Brothers for help.
  • Check hoses for leaks daily, especially if there’s a persistent problem with low fluid levels.
  • We recommend a full fluid analysis every six months. This procedure will identify any contaminants in your system, allowing you to respond before potential repairs become full blown problems. You can also predict when parts will wear out and need to be replaced by the types and levels of contaminants in the various fluids.

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