Common Machinery Problems and How to Prevent Them

Your business relies on machinery to keep your projects on schedule and your clients happy. But accidents happen, and components may fail when you least expect them to. A solid maintenance prevention plan is crucial to minimize these problems and keep your tools in working order.

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If you want to avoid costly machinery problems, it’s crucial to understand what can go wrong. Here are some of the most common issues equipment operators face.


Overheating is a serious problem when working with machinery, leading to significant downtime and costly damage. This issue can happen for several reasons, including low coolant levels, dirty filters or radiator problems. Your team could overwork your equipment and exceed the engine’s maximum performance limit. Overheating can also occur when you operate in hot conditions for long periods.

If you want to avoid overheating, consider the following tips:

  • Inspect your machine daily.
  • Clean every part thoroughly.
  • Store equipment in a shaded area.
  • Top off all coolants and oils.


The hydraulic system uses pressurized fluids to power the engines of your machinery. This system can fail, leading to overheating, inefficient operation and low pressure throughout your machine. A failing hydraulic system can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Hose tears: If hoses experience too much contact with other components, they will wear down and puncture, resulting in a full system failure.
  • Contamination: Air, water or debris can infiltrate your system and degrade the quality of your fluid, which can result in overheating, premature damage and an inability to control pressure properly.
  • Human error: Improper installations, incompatible parts and inadequate maintenance can cause your equipment to not build up enough pressure to function at total capacity.

If you’re worried about your hydraulic system failing, there are a few steps you can take to prevent it from happening:

  • Work with reliable installation technicians.
  • Perform regular maintenance procedures.
  • Double-check parts compatibility.


Electrical issues are normal when working with construction equipment. If your machine won’t start, your battery is likely dead. However, wires are known to overload, experience damage or disconnect from their terminals, which can also lead to failures and malfunctions.

These problems can lead to severe safety issues, including failure in headlights or taillights that are essential for work in low light or at night. To avoid issues that could put your employees at risk and leave your operations at a standstill, you should routinely inspect your machines and keep them in top condition.


Over time, your equipment will wear down and require replacement. A problem many professionals face is not swapping out every part that is too worn, which often results in more expensive issues down the line. It’s best to check your machines regularly and replace any parts that show deterioration to minimize the risk of your equipment malfunctioning in the field

Some components that may need regular replacement include:

  • Filters
  • Batteries
  • Spark plugs
  • Starters
  • Belts
  • Hoses


Keep your tools operating at peak performance with a few simple maintenance tips.


Committing to a routine inspection program is one of the best things you can do for your fleet. By checking for signs of wear and replacing parts before they’ve reached the end of their life span, you can keep your machines running at maximum efficiency and avoid any unexpected breakdowns in the field. Create a schedule and an inspection checklist, so your employees know when to assess your equipment and what to look for.

Lubrication is another essential step to consider when you’re inspecting your equipment. Doing this will keep your machines running smoothly while reducing friction, which can help extend your machinery’s useful life. One of the most critical fluids you should check is your oil, which you should regularly change. Find your machinery’s manufacturer’s recommendations to know the right amount of fluid to use for your equipment.


Dirt and debris can quickly contaminate various components, including your engine, especially if you work in mud, dirt or sand. Frequently cleaning your equipment at the end of the day or after projects is a great way to ensure your components move freely and operate productively.

Washing with hot water and soap will also improve the look of your fleet, creating a professional appearance your clients will come to appreciate. Consider using compressed air as a safer and easier alternative to water when cleaning debris from wiring and electrical connections.


While you want to minimize storage time as much as possible, your equipment will sit around at some point. What you do with your tools when you’re not on the job matters and can play a huge role in how they operate in the field. Proper storage will protect your machinery from the elements, reduce internal and external wear, and keep rodents and pests away.

You should store your equipment indoors with adequate ground protection and use protective covers, like cribbing and crane mats, whenever you can. These accessories help safeguard your tools from moisture and dirt and reduce the risk of rust. If you’re planning on storing your equipment for a month or more, you should consider the following tips:

  • Overinflate tires.
  • Remove dirt and debris.
  • Fix any minor damage.
  • Top off fuel and fluids.


Your operators should be thoroughly trained on their assigned equipment. This training doesn’t have to be complicated but should follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements.

Qualified drivers should understand typical procedures, troubleshooting steps and best practices when dealing with potential damage or repairs. Most of this information can be found in the operator’s manual. Consider following this information with a quick test to ensure they’ve gained the necessary skills. Sporadically providing additional information to keep your team members sharp is also a good idea.

When your operators know the correct operational processes, safety practices and common maintenance issues, your job site will be more efficient and secure. Untrained employees will push your tools too far, resulting in costly accidents and expensive damage.


Hiring professional maintenance services is essential to keeping your equipment in pristine condition. You’ll want to create an all-inclusive maintenance schedule consisting of inspections, repairs and replacements to help you avoid expensive repairs and delays. Adding this schedule to your calendar will extend your machinery’s life span and reduce the likelihood of unscheduled downtime, which helps keep your projects on schedule and within budget.

While your operators may have some maintenance knowledge, it’s always best to partner with a reliable service provider. With qualified technicians, you’ll know when you should have your equipment checked and enjoy a hassle-free experience.


When something goes wrong in the field, you want to do everything possible to get your machines back up and running quickly. Troubleshooting is crucial to locating problems and servicing your equipment quickly to minimize project delays. In most cases, your operators will be your service technicians out in the field.

If you want to troubleshoot your machines at the site and give yourself the best chance of dealing with minor problems, follow these steps:

  • Identify the problem: Before taking any action, you should ensure there is a definite issue by looking for strange noises, lights and other abnormal operating conditions.
  • Locate the root cause: Narrow down the cause of the problem using testing tools, reading the equipment instruments and referring to operation manuals.
  • Attempt a fix: Fix the affected part and do your best to eliminate the cause of the problem to prevent future occurrences.
  • Verify that you solved the issue: Before diving back into your regular operations, check and double-check affected areas and gauges to ensure your machine is ready to maintain normal operating conditions.
  • Take precautions: Once you better understand what went wrong, you can implement safeguards to avoid problems in the future.

While these tips work for many situations, there may be cases when you should seek professional help, such as when the problem is too big for you to fix yourself.


From loose electrical connections and worn-down components to system failures and overheating, countless things can go wrong when you’re on the job. An in-depth preventive maintenance plan is essential to minimize these problems as much as possible.

Louisiana Cat can assist you if you’re looking for a reliable maintenance provider in the area. Many professionals have counted on our experts to deliver a superior service that keeps their machines working efficiently. Learn more about our service by contacting us online or calling us at 866-843-7440 today.

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