Aside from the initial purchase price of an excavator, a considerable amount of money is required for the up keep of all heavy plant equipment, whether it be a skid steer, excavator or dump truck. A heavy plant dealership or independent workshop will obviously bill out all the labour spent on a particular service or repair, as well charge the customer for the parts and fluids used such as hydraulic oil and filters, grease, engine oil and other elements that may need replacing.
Carrying Out Own Maintenance on Heavy Vehicles
Many owner-operators around Australia choose to carry out a lot of their own maintenance on their trucks, trailers and excavators. One of the main reasons is to save money. As a rule, a dealership will normally recommend pre-emptive action on any number of things such as windscreen wipers on the cab of an excavator that look a bit worn, or recommending a bearing, hose or other item be replaced. Aside from having the best interests of the customer in mind and providing customer service that goes ‘above and beyond’ this is also in order to avoid the risk of being blamed for a subsequent breakdown, as well as the additional repairs generating more profit for the dealership. Owner-operators, on the other hand will perhaps stagger the various repairs needed, whilst closely monitoring the worn item in question, in order to get maximum life out of it as well as spreading out the amount of money being invested in the maintenance of their excavator at any given time.
Another reason why operators carry out their own maintenance is to be able to do it in their own time. A dealership will typically require the excavator for the day, whilst someone carrying out their own maintenance can do it after hours, or between excavation work, which saves relying on the availability times of the dealership.
Getting Maximum Life Out of Parts
The risk of attempting to get the maximum possible life out of, for example, hydraulic hoses is that there is such a fine line between a worn hose and a blown hose. On the surface waiting for a hose to fail before changing it out with a new one seems like the most economical way of getting maximum life out of it, but there are many downsides to neglecting replacement of a hydraulic hose until it actually fails.
The main negative aspect of a hose failure is that it is often unexpected and usually at the worst possible time. Whilst every operator prays that if a hose failure does occur, it is at a convenient time like the end of a day or at the completion of the job, not everyone is this lucky. Downtime from a blown hose or other worn part finally failing can be a lot costlier than if it was changed slightly prematurely.
Extra Challenges with Under House Excavation Breakdowns
An excavator operator carrying out delicate under house excavations has enough on their mind already, like ensuring they avoid digging into existing electrical or plumbing infrastructure such as wiring or piping without having to face the prospect of their machine breaking down at the same time. A breakdown whilst carrying out an under house excavation is something to be prevented if at all possible, as it is often difficult to retrieve the machine due to limited access. Usually the only option is to have the machine repaired onsite which can incur hefty call out fees and after hours rates if it is a weekend.