Excavator 101: Uses and Maintenance Guide

Posted on 03 September 19


A valuable piece of equipment on a construction site is an excavator that has helped various projects to work more effectively and efficiently. However what is an excavator and what is it used for? 

An excavator is a construction equipment which is used in excavating or moving large objects. An excavator is generally made up of two fundamental parts. It has a driving base associated with a powerful boom arm and an attachment which is designed for excavating. They are also called as backhoes which can be either wheel type or crawler type. The one who is operating the excavator sits within a small cab connecting the base and he controls the arm. 

The excavator makes use of a hydraulic system that generates hydraulic force for controlling the mechanical arm of the machine. It also has a chain wheel system which helps in movement. Excavators are used in big and small-scale construction works. They deal in small housing projects for cutting and filling, construction of roads and highways, placing armor and large rocks in marine structures, moving the materials in jobsites, removing waste, etc. 

Uses of an excavator

To know the uses of an excavator better, first let us understand its components. An excavator consists of a house, undercarriage, stick, boom and a bucket. These parts of the excavator feature the motor, gears, and the bucket. 

The primary usage of the excavator is for digging trenches, holes, and foundations and thus provides power to perform these activities at ease and with great effectiveness than any other heavy equipment. These are used in various types of industries like forestry, mining and all kinds of construction industries. Along with the work of digging, excavators are also used for tasks such as demolition, dredging rivers, handling of materials or just the lifting up of heavy materials. 

It offers a wide range of usages, which gives the sense that there are different types of excavators for performing various kinds of jobs. Let's take the example of tracked and wheeled excavator, which is ideal for tasks such as digging, demolition, mining of open-pit, handling of materials, forestry work etc. Mini excavators are small in size and light-weighted, which makes transportation more comfortable, quicker and efficient to various construction sites. Trenching can be done well with this type of excavators and also other utility works. 

Maintenance procedures for excavator

With proper maintenance, the efficiency of the fuel is maximized, and it also helps in reducing operational costs as well as equipment failure. Here are some of the tips to maintain excavator well.

Daily inspection list 

Perform a daily inspection before operating the excavator. This won't take much time and if any issue is discovered, it can be easily solved. Before operating the excavator, here are some of the items to be checked:

  • Check if there is enough coolant or not
  • Engine oil and the hydraulic oil level should be checked
  • Leakage in the compartment and under the machine should be checked
  • Tracks should be checked
  • Make sure the coolers are free of debris
  • Dust ejector must also be checked
  • Pins must be greased and brushed daily
  • Trash and debris from the cab should be cleaned 


One of the most expensive parts of excavator operation is undercarriage. Here are some of the following items to be checked for proper track operation:

  • Check if there are any loose bolts on track and tighten them if required
  • Check if there are bent shoes on tracks because one bent shoe can result in another bent shoe
  • If there are any bent or damaged guards, make a replacement for them
  • Clean the debris from around the track

The gearbox oil must also be changed at about 1000- hour duration. 

Changing air and fuel filters

Air, fuel and hydraulic filters must be maintained properly so that equipment works well in dirty and wet conditions. You can refer the operator manual and change the air and fuel filters according to their instructions. Due to contamination, problems of shortcuts happen.

Swing bearing and swing gear maintenance

Swing gear is an essential component of excavator and is often ignored while it's servicing. Bearing and gear both must be properly lubricated to avoid any contamination. Ensure that the bearing is greased well and check the swing gear regarding enough grease and no leakage.

Spark plugs

While you check or change the spark plugs, ensure that you clean and re-gap spark them. Do remember to clean the threads and seat area and before you reinstall the spark plug, change the gasket.

The above maintenance procedures if followed well, will keep your excavator in proper running condition and this will also help in reducing unscheduled maintenance. 

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