Service Tips: Routine Maintenance increases mini skid steer ROI

By Chris Thompson

Mini skid steers provide great value to rental owners – especially when the equipment is at peak performance and reliable.

To help rental centers increase ROI and maintain uptime, mini skid steers have been updated and designed for reliable, low-maintenance operation. However, to get the most of these machines, rental owners should follow best practices and perform regular maintenance.

Ditch Witch mini skid steer
Mini skid steers provide great value to rental owners – especially when the equipment is at peak performance and reliable.

Attachment match
Before a renter leaves with the machine, make sure that the flow rate of the hydraulic system can power any attachment the renter may also be picking up. Issues of incompatibility of an attachment and the unit can cause immediate downtime, bringing the renter right back to the rental center. For example, if a low-flow attachment is put on a high-flow hydraulic system, it can cause motor seal failure. Once the attachment or mini skid steer is damaged, productivity and project failure are not far off.

Renters should follow routine maintenance best practices for attachments to improve efficiency and longevity. The operator’s manual is loaded with safety and practical information.

For example, each attachment available for Ditch Witch mini skid steers has its own maintenance routine. The manual details the regular upkeep that optimizes performance. Recommended maintenance includes:

  • Pallet forks: Inspect forks before each use for damage or wear
  • Plows: Inspect for loose hoses or fittings and check the blade for wear or cracks
  • Tillers: Lubricate the bearings and inspect tines for damage
  • Trenchers: Check for worn teeth and proper chain tension to reduce binding

A best practice for keeping attachments operating effectively is greasing them daily. The renter should use a grease gun on grease fittings; conversely, some attachments are grease-free, simplifying daily maintenance.

Check lock pins whenever an attachment is installed. Rental owners and renters need to make sure the bottoms of lock pins are visible under the attachment receiver plate. Renters should also check the hose couplers for dirt or debris. Contaminated quick couplers can lead to hydraulic system failure even if the fluid coming from the attachment is filtered.

Inspect daily
Rental centers should encourage renters to inspect equipment before the start of each day on a job to make sure it’s working properly. A good way to do this is by using checklists from the manufacturer. For example, Ditch Witch equipment has inspection checklists available. By checking for leaks, loose fittings and hardware, an operator is better prepared to maintain a safe job site.

When operated properly, a mini skid steer outfitted with an attachment delivers exceptional performance and productivity for a wide variety of job sites. They are capable of tackling compact landscaping to larger underground construction jobs.

Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson is compact equipment product manager at Ditch Witch of The Charles Machine Works Inc.