A Beginner’s Guide to Maintain and Operate an Excavator

Published On: July 22, 20210 Comments on A Beginner’s Guide to Maintain and Operate an ExcavatorLast Updated: February 5, 20243.3 min read

Excavators are an important part of the construction industry. These highly versatile machines can be used for demolition works, landscaping, digging, etc. However, like any heavy machinery, excavators must be handled with care. The excavator market is bound to grow and is expected to cross 63 million USD by 2026.

A Beginner's Guide to Maintain and Operate an Excavator

If you are a new owner of an excavator and are keen to learn how to run an excavator, here is what you must know.

Training and Familiarizing with the Machine

Training requirements for operating heavy machinery vary between provinces and territories. Obtain the necessary certifications and complete the training program to learn how to run an excavator before you take the plunge. Next, read through the operator manual that comes along with the machine. Pay attention to the smallest detail mentioned in the manual. This helps you get familiarized with the device and the location of the controls. The manual will also educate you about the safe operating limits before you start using the machine.

Learning the Safety Protocols

Before you start operating the machine, conduct a pre-start inspection to avoid accidents or unwarranted downtime. Ensure there is sufficient room in your work site for the machine to operate safely. Check the controls, lights, hitch safety clips, boom, and dipper arm. While fixing manual hitches like changing buckets or any other attachment, ensure smooth completion of the task. Take additional help whenever needed.



Loading and Unloading an Excavator

Most accidents happen when loading and unloading an excavator. Falling off while driving, getting trapped between machines, rolling the tires over someone’s feet, and the catapult effect are some of the common dangers that operators encounter. As you prepare your heavy machinery for some action, start with a risk assessment. A documented risk assessment is proof that your fleet management is thorough and detailed. In addition, the report can be a good reference for amateurs who plan to use the excavator after you. Next, make sure that you have all the necessary safety gear to get to work. Ensure that the hauling capacity of the truck/trailer matches the weight and size of your excavator. Also, remember always to keep the ramp clear.

A Beginner's Guide to Maintain and Operate an Excavator - mini excavator

Being Prepared

Some common excavator problems arise even when you are well-versed with how to run an excavator. So, the key is to be prepared. For example, the excavator may move slower than it is supposed to, or have an overheating issue, or the excavator control controls may malfunction due to no fault of yours. Equip yourself with sufficient information to handle the situation. However, when dealing with unknown factors, get assistance rather than attempting to deal with it yourself.

Important Excavator Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance of the machine is essential to ensure minimum downtime and optimum returns. Below are some maintenance tips for excavators.

  • Check fluids, coolant, and hydraulic fluid, engine oil regularly.
  • Any leaks in the side compartments or undercarriage must be detected and fixed without delay.
  • The coolers must be kept free of debris always.
  • Check tracks for any missing bolts or bent shoes.
  • If the excavator is used under extreme conditions, regular servicing must be done.
  • The dust ejector in the air filters must be checked regularly.
  • Keep the undercarriage clean to avoid the debris from damaging the moving parts.
  • Smaller excavators tend to overheat. To avoid overheating issues, ensure that the radiator and exhaust are in good condition.
  • The machine’s hydraulic system must be inspected regularly and maintained in good condition (without damage and corrosion). This ensures the excavator works at the right speed.

Is Operating an Excavator Too Hard?

Appropriate training and attention to detail make excavators easy to handle. While it may take only about three weeks to learn how to run an excavator, you need sufficient practise to excel in the job. While handling any heavy machinery, strict adherence to safety rules and proper maintenance will ensure a smooth ride.


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