Ramesh Chauhan is a forklift technical consultant at Action Construction Equipment.
With many organisations shutting down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ramesh Chauhan
offers some tips on maintaining your equipment during the lockdown.
Remaining idle for a long time means that your equipment requires more care than usual. We list the top tricks to keep in mind.
1. Preserve the battery
As most equipment owners will know, the battery gets depleted even when the vehicle is not in use. To prevent it from getting discharged, start your equipment once a week and keep it running for at least 10-15 minutes, which will allow the alternator to replenish the juice. If that isn't possible, and the vehicle is likely to remain idle for a month or longer, then automakers suggest disconnecting the battery from the negative terminal to prevent discharge. Following this advice will save a lot of trouble and help avoid the need to jump start your equipment.
2. Keep the vehicle running
In essence, machines perform their best when they are kept running. So, start your vehicle every few days, as recommended earlier. And do remember to operate all the systems. This will not only help to keep them in good shape, but will also allow you to diagnose any faults and niggles well in advance of actually being able to operate. If circumstances permit, move your equipment some distance. And if that doesn't prove to be feasible, move your equipment forwards and backwards to keep it from remaining stationary for too long. This will help prevent flat spots on the tyres.
The equipment should be parked on a level, hard surface and you should avoid engaging the handbrake as this can jam the brakes over a long period of time. So, simply park the equipment in gear instead. OEMs recommend leaving the vehicle in reverse gear if parked on a downhill gradient and in the first gear if parked on an uphill gradient. The smarter thing to do would be to place chocks at the wheels to prevent the vehicle from rolling.
4. Clean the cabin
Your equipment is likely to miss proper cleaning in the cabin for the lockdown period; hence, it would be a good idea to remove leftover waste and food wrappers to prevent any foul odours from developing. Thoroughly dust off and clean the interiors, paying close attention to the muddy bits like the floor mats. And if you plan on following up the advice of regularly starting the equipment, do wash your hands before and after to avoid contaminating the equipment interior with possible COVID-19 contagions that you may have picked up somewhere else. And to err on the side of caution, try to disinfect the cabin as well.
5. Clean the outside
Clean your equipment on a regular basis as the accumulation of dirt, bugs and bird droppings over a period of time could damage the paint.