Every kid knows if you want your toys to last, you have to take good care of them. That same rule applies to the worksite equipment that keeps you productive day-in and day-out as well. Although visual inspections and cleaning take some time, a few minutes here and there can save you hours, days and sometimes weeks in the end. Planned maintenance is almost always more efficient than unplanned machine downtime.

“The couple minutes that it takes to do the maintenance is well offset by the relieved downtime,” says Buck Storlie, product line manager at ASV. “As an operator, you want to go to work and have a day where things operate smoothly and work well.”

“If an operator sees something broken on the machine, they need to report it immediately,” says Tyler Smith, product training manager for Volvo Construction Equipment. “When something breaks, it is usually more cost-effective to stop the machine, get the repair taken care of and then put it back to work rather than risk having an accident or damaging the machine.”

“Routine inspection and daily maintenance are key to avoiding unnecessary repairs,” says Matt Goedert, solutions marketing manager with John Deere Construction & Forestry. “In addition, undercarriage maintenance is important to the mobility and productivity of a machine. Ignoring track maintenance will ultimately increase the operating cost.”

A good daily routine, says Storlie, is to include a walk-around inspection. Whether performed at the beginning of the shift or to wrap up the day, it should include a check on things like fluids and ensure that greaseable joints are lubricated and that wear items like hoses and belts are at an acceptable level.

“This minimizes the need to return the machine to your shop or dealer midway through a project,” says Mike Fitzgerald, marketing manager with Doosan Bobcat North America.

“One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to daily maintenance is simply not doing the maintenance recommendations by the manufacturer,” explains Aaron Kleingartner, product and dealer marketing manager for Doosan Infracore North America. “Like anything, if you don’t care for it, it will gradually wear down and may not perform like it should. This is especially true with construction equipment because of the toll the machines take performing daily tasks.”

Read more: Keeping your equipment running better, longer