Thus, a routine and timely engine maintenance regime is essential, to reduce your running costs and prolong the life of your engine. Generally, any engine can break down due to normal wear, which is expected and predictable. However, it can also be abnormal wear that might be the result of improper maintenance or operating techniques, adversely affecting your productivity and operating costs.
To ensure a longer life for the engine and its efficient performance, it’s advisable to plan preventative maintenance schedules and follow regular engine monitoring practices. Here are a few tips that will help keep your engine in excellent working condition, all the while helping you plan for and predict normal wear – and avoid abnormal wear.
Inspections and regular checks
A decent periodic inspection with an in-depth analysis will allow you to locate the potential problem with the engine before it heads for a major failure. When this is identified, it saves you from major repairs and significant costs later.
The operator should follow a daily routine of visual inspection and operational check of the engine. Engines indicate problems through warning signs like overheating, smoke, power loss or hard start, it’s equally important for an operator to understand these indicators and take the necessary actions.
Scheduled maintenance prolongs engine life
To ensure longer life of the engine, regular maintenance is a must. It should be carried out as per the recommended schedules and guidelines issued by engine or machine manufacturers. Sometimes, a missed service interval can affect the performance of an engine, which might not be noticed unless it gets worse or leads to the failure of a vital part.
As performance checks required vary by operating conditions and engine type, it is wise to ensure the checks and frequency are right for your engine. Also, the regular checks that you need to carry out fall into daily and weekly categories, along with regular servicing and specified intervals. Generally, engine checks are scheduled as per the calendar time, or for the hours that the engine has been running. So, the engines in constant use should be checked more often and vigorously than those used less frequently.
Importance of good oil quality
Oil is another important parameter for the smooth functioning of engines. Using poor quality oil for an engine can lead to issues with viscosity, bringing down its life. This can also lead to operational or start-up problems, thermal breakdown, corrosion or major wear.
Generally, all fuels contain some amount of water in suspension. Water in fuel for off-highway engines comes from either condensation within fuel storage, the fuel tank, free water from agitation or poor fuel housekeeping.
Significant levels of water can cause problems such as corrosion of fuel systems leading to excessive injector wear, filter plugging, sudden engine cooling, reduced energy and lower power. Thus, it is important to drain out the water periodically. Always make sure the fuel storage tanks are sealed correctly and allow settling time after a fuel delivery. Ensure you avoid condensation from warming/cooling and ensure tanks are sealed to prevent rainwater contamination. A little time spent every day draining water from the water separator on the fuel filter can save money on replacing damaged injectors.
Quick daily checkup tips
Operators need to check following daily, as part of good maintenance practice to protect your machine investment:
- Cooling system coolant level
- Air pre-cleaner, empty if necessary
- Engine oil level check
- Fuel system primary filter check
- Drain water from the water separator
- Driven equipment, belts and electrical system check
Walk-around inspection of the machine, especially guards and drive system. Technology has given an added benefit to today’s engines, making them tough and dependable. However, it’s a must for an operator to carry out daily checks, which should include a visual review, operational inspection, and routine water drain. These checks, backed with in-depth weekly and monthly inspections of your engine, will help flag potential troubles before they lead to major wear. You may already be aware, but if you are in tune with your engine, it will generally give you an advance warning if something isn’t quite right. All this will help you ensure a stronger engine life and constant high performance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Julian Wood, aftermarket product manager at Perkins Engines Company.