Customer stands by the parts counter holding a Bobcat filter while a Finke Employee looks up a part on her computerWhen you’re clocking in early and clocking out late to keep up with a hefty workload, you can’t afford equipment downtime. In the second installment of our Top Shop series, the parts and service staff at Robert H. Finke & Sons Inc. Equipment outside Albany, New York, share tips on the essential parts they recommend operators keep on hand to minimize downtime as well as the importance of knowledgeable service technicians when repairing and servicing your machines.

Keep parts and safety items on hand during the busy season.

Examine and maintain machines in the off-season so they’re ready to work when you are, urges Bob Rowe, parts manager at Finke Equipment. Having maintenance parts and high-wear replacements on standby can prevent downtime during the busy months.

“Parts that operators should examine during the off-season and during the middle of the busy season include maintenance items like air and fuel filters; parts that are ground- and dirt-engaging; and high-wear items like bushings and seals,” Rowe says. “These are the parts that are always getting hit or getting dirt kicked into them. Customers should also make sure to have plenty of seat belts, beacons, fire extinguishers, and fluorescent tape so they can meet the criteria required to work on a diverse set of jobsites.”

Don’t attempt to repair your machine if you’re not properly trained.

Steve Micelli and five service technicians stand beside a Bobcat compact track loaderSteve Micelli, service manager and warranty administrator at Finke, says one of the biggest mistakes customers make when servicing and maintaining equipment is trying to repair machines themselves.

“The service team, in my opinion, should do all of the work on the customer’s investment to ensure quality service,” Micelli says. “One of the biggest mistakes we see is when customers try to do their own equipment repairs.

With many computers, modules and sensors integrated into today’s machines, the owner can actually do more damage than good if certain guidelines aren’t followed.”

Help service technicians diagnose problems.

A service technician looks up diagnostics on his laptop next to a Bobcat skid-steer loaderMachine not working right? Take note of what the machine is doing (or not doing), the sounds it makes, what may have caused the issue and other relevant information, and pass these details on to the service technician repairing your machine.

“The best way for customers to work with us is for them to be able to describe exactly what the machine is doing. This helps us to diagnose the machine and repair it more quickly,” says David Johnston, service technician at Finke.

Your local dealership’s service technicians can then use a variety of tools and diagnostic technology to pinpoint the problem, develop a solution and repair the machine.

“Dealership service technicians have the most advanced computers and training to streamline repairs and to avoid any unnecessary downtime,” Micelli says.

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