Reducing Heavy Equipment Fuel Use
Fuel is one of the largest expenses for heavy equipment owners. But it’s also an expense that you can keep under control if you take the right steps and operate your machines correctly. To help you reduce your overall costs, we’ve put together some key tips and best practices for reducing construction equipment fuel usage.
Choose machines with fuel saving features
Many types of modern heavy equipment are equipped with systems and operating modes designed to limit fuel consumption. When shopping for a new excavator, wheel loader, or other machine, opt for ones that have auto idle and auto shutdown features. Construction equipment often idles for half the time that it’s on a jobsite. Auto idle and auto shutdown will keep you from burning fuel during that time. Many machines also have eco operating modes that will reduce engine output when less power is needed, saving fuel.
Maintain the right tire pressure
One of the most basic methods for reducing heavy equipment fuel use is checking tire pressure before each shift. If the tire pressure is low, add air to them as soon as possible. Insufficient pressure will reduce the efficiency of your machine and increase your fuel consumption.
Check your air filters
We recommend inspecting your equipment’s air filter about every 50 hours. If you are operating in especially dirty or dusty environments, you may want to check the filters more often. The reason is that when filters become clogged with dirt, the engine doesn’t get enough air and the machine’s performance will suffer. Your engine will need to work harder to perform every task, causing your equipment fuel usage to increase. Many machines have air flow indicators, but checking your filters regularly will help you stay ahead of the game and make your engines more efficient.
Grease your fittings
Maintaining proper grease levels on your hydraulic equipment lubricates components and makes movement easier for your machine. Efficiency increases and fuel consumption decreases because less power is required for your machine to perform lifting, digging, loading, and other tasks when components are well lubricated.
Don’t let machines idle
In the old days, you’d let machines idle because they were often difficult to start back up. With modern machines, restarting equipment is not an issue, so it’s important to turn off your equipment when you are not actively using a machine. A general rule of thumb is to shut off your equipment if it will be idling for more than five minutes, because you’ll use less fuel to restart it than to keep it running. You can also choose machines with auto idle features that reduce RPM below normal machine idle in certain conditions, significantly reducing fuel consumption.
Operate at the lowest RPM possible
One of the easiest ways to reduce heavy equipment fuel usage is to accelerate slowly and avoid straining the engine. We recommend running at a low RPM during operation, then slowly raising the RPM until you reach the level of power you need. This level will be the most efficient and effective RPM for the job. When a job does not require maximum power, running the engine at a lower rpm can significantly lower fuel consumption.
Perform regular service and maintenance
To reduce fuel use and keep your equipment performing at its best, it’s critical to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for servicing your machines. Most machines require service at least every 500 hours. Keeping your equipment maintained and fixing any mechanical problems quickly when they occur will help prevent your engine from working harder than it needs to, which consumes more fuel.
If you have any questions about reducing heavy equipment fuel use, contact our team today!