5 common mistakes that increase machine downtime

Keeping machines up and running – and earning – is of utmost importance to Volvo CE and its dealers. Here are five of the most common unnecessary maintenance issues and how to avoid them.

1. Not reading the operator's manual

Volvo machines include a whole host of features designed to enhance performance and ease of operability. Updated with each generation, even the most experienced operator won’t be familiar with them all without reading the manual. If an operator isn’t aware of the retarder button on an articulated hauler, for example, and instead uses the brakes to maintain a steady speed when travelling downhill, this could lead to unnecessary brake wear and avoidable downtime and replacement costs.

2. Pre-filling fuel filters

Given that replacing a fuel filter is a time-consuming process, some maintenance technicians pre-fill the filter as a shortcut. The trouble is, it’s virtually impossible using a fuel can and a funnel to avoid contaminating the new filter. Even the tiniest amount of contaminant can start to depreciate the injectors, leading to very expensive repairs. Volvo CE recommends installing filters dry and pre-priming them for contamination control – it’s well the worth taking the time to do the job properly.

3. Using the wrong attachment for the job

Volvo CE offers a huge range of attachments but using a bucket that’s too big will slow the machine down, work the hydraulics harder and cause severe production issues. Similarly, using an attachment to complete a task for which it was not designed will also cause issues. A hydraulic breaker, for example, is only designed to be used straight down or at a certain angle. Using it to dig around or pick up and turn large pieces of concrete or rocks put an excessive side load on the tool, leading to excessive wear on the bushing, fractures and leaks.

Operating too fast

When operating construction equipment, slow and steady always wins the race. Making quick starts, stops and turns will cause material to spill out of the bucket and onto the ground. Similarly, driving a wheel loader into a stockpile and allowing the tyres to spin causes ruts that shake the machine. These ruts have to be refilled and spilled material cleared up.

5. Not connecting machines via CareTrack

When a machine is connected via Volvo CE’s telematics system CareTrack, owners and dealers can proactively monitor its health, diagnose any issues and take preventative action. Reports can reveal unusual operating behaviour, which can then be corrected through operator training. They can also show when components are likely to need servicing or repairs, helping owners to schedule maintenance at a convenient time and avoid any unplanned downtime.