Best Practices

Heavy Equipment Tips for Summer Construction

In most regions, summer is the busiest time for construction projects. The problem is that the sun and excessive heat can put extra strain your machines, potentially leading to operating issues and expensive downtime. To help you out on summer construction jobs, we’ve put together some tips and best practices for equipment operation during the hotter months.

Check your cooling system

A key part of heavy equipment maintenance during summer construction is ensuring your cooling system is working properly. Before each shift, we recommend inspecting the cooling fans, looking for damaged or loose blades. You should also clear excessive debris or dirt build up on your fans. Another good practice during summer construction projects is to power wash the radiator and cooler every couple of days. Humidity and dust buildup will coat radiators, air coolers, and oil coolers, reducing airflow and hurting system performance.

Run your A/C properly

A/C is a must for equipment operation during the heat of the summer. A common cause of issues with machine air conditioning systems is running them when the windows are down. Doing so can put unnecessary strain on your A/C, cause it to work harder than necessary, and lead to accelerated wear and worse performance.

Store out of the sun if possible

When not in use, we recommend storing your machines out of the sun, if possible. Constant sun exposure can take its toll on your hydraulic hoses, paint, and especially your tires, leading to cracking and premature wear.

Stay within your machine’s parameters

A key part of heavy equipment operation on summer construction jobs is to not push your machine too far. Overworking your equipment can result in overheating, unnecessary damage to engine, cooling system, and A/C components, and eventual breakdowns. Stay well within the limits of your machines to ensure proper performance. It’s also important to pay attention to your equipment’s displays and warning signals for indications of overheating.

Follow proper shutdown procedures

A key part of heavy equipment maintenance during summer construction is to give it sufficient time to cool after finishing each shift. Prior to shutting down your machine completely, let the engine idle for a few minutes. If you have access to shade, perform this cooldown out of the sun. A phased shutdown will allow the engine to cool down and turn off properly, avoiding damage to components.

Keep your crew protected

In addition to taking the right steps for heavy equipment maintenance, you also need to ensure your crew stays cool, hydrated, and productive on summer construction jobs. They should avoid long periods of work in direct sunshine, wear sunscreen and breathable clothing, take regular breaks in the shade, and drink plenty of water. Everyone on the jobsite should be aware of the signs of heatstroke; dizziness, nausea, confusion, slurred speech, throbbing headaches, and the immediate stopping of sweating. If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or anyone else, seek immediate medical attention.

If you have any questions about equipment operation during summer construction or heavy equipment maintenance in general, contact our team today.