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3 Signs Your Heavy Equipment Needs Repairing (and What to Do About It)

By Reannon Muth on Apr 12, 2019

You know to call your heavy equipment rental company the moment a machine's dashboard warning light comes on. That's a no-brainer. But what about the less obvious signs? How do you know which visual and audio abnormalities are a part of normal equipment wear and tear and which are signs that something potentially more serious is going on?

Below we outline three common signs your machinery needs servicing as well as measures you can take to prevent costly repairs. 

Call your equipment rental company or mechanic immediately if you notice one more of the following signs.

1. Discolored or thick exhaust

Exhaust problems won't just get you in trouble with OSHA, but they'll also put your employees health and safety at risk. If you notice that your machine's exhaust is thick or discolored or if it's accompanied by an unusual smell, take action right away.

Two possible causes of exhaust problems: 

  • Dirty or clogged air filters
  • Ventilation failure

2. Low fluid levels

Low fluid levels can cause your equipment to wear down and malfunction over time. It's vital that you ensure your equipment is well lubricated, as this is one of the most effective ways you can extend the life of your equipment. If you notice that your fluid levels are low, check for leaks, as this could be a sign that your machine is leaking coolant or hydraulic oils.

Two possible causes of low fluid levels:

  • Leaks from hoses
  • Blocked or faulty valves

3. Hissing or grinding sounds

Your equipment will often make a lot of noise when in operation, and that can make it difficult to ascertain whether the sounds you're hearing are par for the course or if they are signs your equipment is being overworked, or worse, starting to malfunction. A properly trained operator should, however, be able to tell the difference, which is why it's important operators stay vigilant for any unusual sounds, smells and vibrations. 

Sounds to listen for:

  • Hissing—This could be a sign that there is a leak in the vacuum or cooling system.
  • Clacking—A clunking or clacking sign could mean a problem with your machine's hydraulic, steering, brake or combustion systems.
  • Grinding—This may mean a pump or valve is misaligned. 

Preventative Measures to Take: 

Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance

It probably goes without saying, but the best way to prevent equipment repairs is to have your machinery serviced regularly. 

This should include:

  • Checking your fluids, especially during extremes in hot or cold weather (Read: How to Winterize Your Equipment.)
  • Checking your belts and hoses
  • Testing your vacuum gauge
  • Changing air filters

Proper training

Many repairs are a result of mishandling by equipment operators. While mistakes can happen, you can lessen the odds by providing continual training and enforcing equipment safety rules. 


About Heavy Metal Equipment: Heavy Metal Equipment is an independently-owned construction equipment company in Las Vegas that rents and sells heavy equipment. Heavy Metal Equipment currently services Nevada, Utah and Idaho. To learn more, visit www.bluediamondmachinery.com.

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