5 Tips for Keeping Heavy Equipment Clean

5 tips for keeping heavy equipment clean

Although cleaning your heavy equipment may seem like a time-consuming hassle, there are more benefits to it than you might have imagined. 

Whether you are operating tractors, excavators, loaders, or compactors, most projects involve a major buildup of dirt, grease, and grime, which is why it is important to clean your heavy equipment thoroughly and regularly. 

Neglecting such cleaning processes will only make it harder to do when you finally get around to it, and could have a negative impact on your equipment’s performance in the meantime. 

Cleaning your equipment properly and as often as possible will help reduce wear and tear, as dirt and grime are abrasive and can cause friction in machines. Cleaning your heavy equipment is also essential for temperature control since clean machines keep cooler than those that are caked in mud. 

For both of these reasons, keeping your equipment clean can extend its lifespan. On the other hand, allowing it to get too dirty and stay that way for too long can have a negative impact on its longevity.

Dirty equipment also tends to have more frequent part failures and breakages, meaning increased costs and downtime, both of which can be avoided through routine cleaning practices. 

While cleaning your heavy equipment, it is also a great opportunity to inspect it for potential problems, such as metal fatigue, cracks, oxidization and rusting, and worn or leaking fittings. 

By discovering these issues before they escalate, you can address them with proper maintenance or repair work, which, in turn, will improve their performance and enhance their safety.

How to Ensure Your Heavy Equipment is Cleaned Properly

When it comes to cleaning heavy equipment, you will require more than just soap and water, as simply rinsing your machinery or wiping it down will not suffice. The following are some of the best tips to keep in mind while cleaning your heavy equipment:

1. Wear personal protection equipment

Since safety should always be your top priority, it is crucial to wear proper personal protective equipment while washing your heavy machinery. 

This should include full-length coveralls (with insulated protection if you are using hot water), protective footwear, face and eye protection (e.g., wrap-around eyewear or a full-face shield), and gloves.

The combination of this protective equipment will help decrease your chances of getting burned, splashed with chemicals, or injured in various other ways.

2. Use pressure-washing equipment

If you need to clean your heavy equipment, having a pressure washer is an absolute must, as they are the best tool for removing dirt, grease, and grime by forcing concentrated streams of water into tight places (like hinges and seams) that are otherwise difficult to reach.

High volume hoses and air guns are other great tools to have on hand for cleaning your heavy equipment. 

3. Use heavy equipment wash pads and racks

In many jurisdictions, wash locations are regulated to ensure they comply with environmental laws that prohibit contaminated water from entering open surfaces and groundwater reservoirs. 

Failing to comply with such laws can lead to heavy fines and even jail time, and is environmentally irresponsible. However, professionally designed wash pads and racks are made with water containment and recycling systems.

Wash pads should be self-contained and enclosed so that polluted wash water does not find its way into the outer environment. Alternatively, dirt, grime, and grease are collected in sumps, and the closed-loop wash operation recycles the excess water, filtering it back to workable gray water so that it may be continually reused.

4. Use proper detergents and surfactants

The kind of degreasing solution that you will require will depend on the type of equipment you must clean and the conditions that it typically operates under. 

If your equipment is caked with a mixture of organic substances, such as lubrication grease, fuel residue, or insect and bird waste, or inorganic substances, such as sand, gravel, and dust, then detergents will help you remove them. 

Synthetic detergent surfactants will surround any contaminants and dislodge them from the surface of your equipment so that they may be washed away. Chelating agents are also often added to equipment-washing detergent, as they attack minerals in the water to soften them, blocking hard water from impacting surfactant efficiency.

5. Follow the proper equipment-cleaning procedure

If you want to clean your heavy equipment quickly and easily, there is a distinct procedure that you should follow, which starts by assembling all the washing products and putting the equipment in a muck out bay or a contained wash rack. 

Following this, you should use a spade to pry large chunks of material from the chassis and undercarriage, disposing of them appropriately. Before wetting the machine, use an air gun to blow out any loose debris and dirt. If your machine is in a muck out bay, this is when you should move it to a wash pad. After that, spray the machine with a high volume hose using warm or hot water to dislodge chunks of material that would not come loose previously. 

Next, you must pull chunks of grease off or remove them with cloths before applying detergent sparingly on areas with visible contamination. Allow the cleaning solvents to sit for 15-30 minutes before using the high volume hose once more, beginning at the top of the machine and working your way down. That can be followed with the detailing of tighter places using a pressure washer.

Then, clean the hoses and rubber tires with a suitable surfactant, and clean and polish glass surfaces before vacuuming and hand-wiping cab interiors. After the equipment has been totally cleaned, it should air dry before being removed from the washing rack. 

Of course, the final step should involve a thorough inspection of the wash pad, cleaning off mud and waste, and checking to make sure no contaminants escaped.

How Great West Equipment Can Help With Maintenance and Repairs

If you are dealing with heavy equipment grease in British Columbia, and you notice any issues with your machinery during the cleaning process, you can bring it to Great West Equipment for full-service maintenance and repairs. 

Although a deep cleaning is the first step, and certainly an important one, performing any other necessary maintenance and repairs promptly afterward is crucial, and that is where we come in. Our skilled technicians are trained to handle all kinds of heavy equipment that comes our way, no matter the make or model.

We will help you maintain and repair your heavy equipment so that it functions like new again while taking measures to minimize its downtime. 

You can benefit from the expertise of our team of professionals, as we will offer advice regarding best practices for heavy equipment maintenance to ensure the longevity of your equipment. We pride ourselves on our service-first attitude, which is why we will go out of our way to ensure all of your needs are met. 

For more information about our heavy equipment maintenance and repair services, call Great West Equipment at 1-888-GW-24-365 or contact us here.

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