Studies show just more than half of major-component repairs are done before failure. The rest occur after, when costs can be 2.5 times as much. That’s because the failure of sacrificial parts (like seals and bearings) often damages more expensive, long-life components (like clutch plates and discs, hydraulic pump pistons and swash plates, and final-drive shafts and gears).
That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are plenty of tools and technologies available to help you anticipate failures to less costly parts, so you can keep more expensive, reusable components on the job and your equipment running longer. Here are four simple ways to extend component life and lower repair costs:
The simplest and most cost-effective way to keep your machine running longer is to change filters and fluids at the recommended intervals. Using the right maintenance products for your equipment matters too, particularly if you work in conditions where contaminants are a problem. Take a closer look at what makes Cat® filters and fluids different — and how that can make a real difference on your bottom line.
Contaminants in oil or other fluids can give you a heads-up about component wear — and not just in your engine compartment. Fluid analysis of lubricants from transmissions, differentials, final drives and hydraulic components can be used to indicate life as well. A general rule of thumb is when two or more contaminants and lube characteristics deteriorate in tandem, trouble is on the way. It’s time to investigate further.
Review your repair records to see if there are any similarities between failures. You may find common warning signals or a particular hour range where problems tend to occur. Establishing more frequent inspections and tracking them through the Cat Inspect app can help you prevent the same issues from occurring in the future.
Onboard telematics like Cat Product Link™ collect all kinds of equipment data. Using tools like the Cat App, My.Cat.Com and VisionLink®, you can monitor performance and set up automatic alerts when components operate outside normal parameters. If the cooling system overheats or an engine or gear in a transmission runs faster than rated speed, you’ll know — and can make adjustments to operating and maintenance practices before failure.
If you need help with any of these steps, your Cat dealer is standing by. In fact, if you want to make equipment ownership and maintenance hassle-free, talk to your dealer about setting up a Customer Value Agreement (CVA) that includes any or all of these tools and technologies. CVAs help ensure your equipment is easy to own and ready to work — maximizing your investment and lowering your ownership costs.