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Excavator Parts You Should Keep On Hand to Avoid Excess Downtime

Excavator Parts You Should Keep On Hand to Avoid Excess Downtime

Excavator working in backyard

Excavator Parts You should Keep On Hand To Avoid Excess Downtime

Reading time: 8 min

Introduction to excavators

Excavators are one of the most common machines found on a job site. Their popularity is due to their variety of classes and the versatility of jobs they can accomplish. Different classes of excavators provide different advantages depending on your construction needs, work environment and job size. Long-reach excavators that include a boom and an arm, beneficial for work over a river or lake, have different advantages than hydraulic shovels, commonly used for mining, lifting and moving heavy objects. The sizes of excavators also vary. Large excavators weigh over 45 tons compared to mini excavators, typically 6 tons or less. 

Excavators have several different attachments that allow the machine to perform various tasks. Buckets, clamps, augers, breakers and couplers are some of the most common attachments found on excavators. Depending on the attachment, excavators can be used for digging, moving debris, lifting, etc. Due to their importance, any problems affecting your excavators may cause delays and downtime. 

Preventive maintenance is a strategy used to prevent unexpected breakdowns. Failing to keep up with preventive maintenance is the leading cause of downtime. The average cost of downtime for a machine is $448 to $760 per day. Shipping could take weeks, depending on the availability of your part, which means downtime could cost you up to thousands of dollars. Practicing and implementing a preventive maintenance strategy is one way to avoid the costs associated with downtime. A good preventive maintenance strategy also maximizes the lifespan of your excavator by allowing fewer issues within critical operations, making your machine safer to operate. 

Anticipating failures or breakdowns before they occur allows your operators to stay one step ahead. Keeping preventive maintenance parts for your excavator on hand helps avoid waiting on spare preventive maintenance parts to be delivered, delaying productivity. Instead of waiting for a replacement part to come in the mail, your machine can be back up in no time if you already have the parts. 

What excavator parts are the most commonly replaced?

The most common excavator components that will need to be replaced include air filters, belts, seals, hoses, hydraulic filters, fuel filters, bucket teeth and oil filters. Specific excavator model manuals, like Takeuchi, have a stock list of what parts need replacing frequently. 

Environmental elements greatly affect how frequently your parts need to be replaced. 

Your machine’s manual contains recommended maintenance hours, but your environment can supersede these recommendations. Depending on if your environment has freezing temperatures, muddy terrain or any other extreme elements, you may have to switch out parts more often. 

Air filters 

Air filters trap particles and prevent them from reaching your machine's engine. There are two parts to an air filter: an inner and an outer filter. The inner filter sits inside the outer filter. The outer filter acts as a first pass to filter out most large, airborne particles. The inner filter is a last resort to ensure no stray particles reach the engine. Outer filters are typically replaced more often than inner filters. Some signs your air filters may need to be replaced are reduced engine performance, poor fuel efficiency, engine misfires, unusual engine noises and warning lights. Most manufacturers recommend referring to a filter gauge to determine if your air filter needs to be replaced and regularly monitoring them to be sure there are no issues. Your excavator's service manual should include details on how often you should replace your filters. New air filter prices vary from $15 to $150.

Hydraulic filters 

Hydraulic filters remove contaminants from the hydraulic fluid. If the fluid becomes contaminated, the components of your excavator's hydraulic system may begin to break down. One common sign there is an issue with the hydraulic system is a loss of power to the excavator or its attachments. Other symptoms your hydraulic filter needs to be replaced are decreased flow rate, drops in pressure, unusual noises, sluggish machine performance and hydraulic leaks. Replacement frequency varies depending on your excavator's make and model, but most hydraulic filters must be changed every 1,000 hours. Check your excavator's service manual about when your model's hydraulic filters must be replaced. New hydraulic filter prices vary from $10 to $150 depending on your excavator's make and model. 

Oil filters 

Oil filters purify oil from contaminated particles that may degrade the components of your machine's engine. Debris and sediments entering the engine oil can cause irreversible wear. Your oil filter may need replacing if your machine loses power, you can hear a knocking sound coming from the engine or there is a loss in oil pressure. Most manufacturers recommend changing your excavator's oil filter every 250-500 hours or at least once per year. Your machine's service manual will give the specific oil filter replacement intervals for your excavator. New oil filter prices vary from $15 to $60 depending on your excavator's make and model.

Fuel filters 

Fuel filters purify fuel from particles, like sand, before it gets to the engine. If your machine hesitates or sputters, it may be time to replace the fuel filter. Other common issues that may mean your filter is ready to be replaced are damaged fuel pumps, poor engine performance and a misfiring engine. Changing your fuel filter at least once a year is considered standard. Your machine's service manual should also include specific intervals when to replace your fuel filters. New fuel filter prices vary from $15 and $70 depending on your excavator's make and model. 


Belts are important for the performance of engines and hydraulic systems. They transfer power between parts of the engine to various systems throughout the machine. Most engine belts belong to one of four categories: v-belts, serpentine belts, air conditioning belts and fan belts. Symptoms your belts may need to be replaced include visible signs of wear or damage, squeaking noises while equipment runs, reduced power output or struggling performance. If your AC belt breaks down, your AC will stop working. If your serpentine belt breaks, your entire machine will shut down. High heat can damage the elasticity of rubber belts and will cause them to slope. You should inspect your belts whenever you perform preventive maintenance tasks and during extreme environmental elements. Prices for new belts vary from $25 to several hundred dollars, depending on the type you’re purchasing. 


Seals are essential for sealing two surfaces and preventing damage to your machine from fluid and gas leaks. Two of the most common types of seals are gaskets and o-rings, which can be found in hydraulic systems, engine components, pipe connections, etc. Seals that are not air-tight or liquid-tight can become damaged by wear, high pressure and heat erosion. Due to the nature of seals' jobs, they can be damaged easily. Depending on where your seal is, it can cause catastrophic engine failure. When performing other preventive maintenance tasks, you should inspect your seals to prevent any issues. Depending on the type of seal, prices can vary from $1 to $100.


Hoses are important for your excavator's fuel and hydraulic components to work correctly. Hoses can be damaged from regular deterioration, vibration damage, a lack of maintenance or improper installation. Damaged hoses could lead to overheating, engine misfires and stalling. Inspect your excavator's hoses for any tears or crushing whenever you perform preventive maintenance tasks. If your hydraulic hose breaks, your hydraulics will begin to spray everywhere, and your joysticks will cease to work. Coolant can be spotted under the machine if your radiator hose breaks, and if left untreated, this can overheat and blow the engine. Hoses can last anywhere from one to four years, depending on their job. For specific models, refer to your machine's service manual to see how often each hose needs to be replaced. New hoses can vary from $6 to several hundred dollars, depending on your purchasing type. 

Bucket teeth

Bucket teeth are heavy-duty spikes attached to your excavator’s bucket attachment. How long your bucket teeth last depends on how you use your machine and the harshness of the soil of your job site. Bucket teeth can become worn down, dull or loose, and it is important to inspect your bucket teeth whenever you conduct your daily walk-around. Depending on your purchasing type, new bucket teeth can vary from $10 to $250. 

Best Practices to Prevent and Identify Worn Excavator Parts

Creating a preventive maintenance routine protects your excavators from becoming a victim of downtime. Anticipating problems and making a schedule or checklist for future maintenance ensures you have parts when needed instead of waiting for them in the mail. You should replace any damaged parts immediately after discovery. 


  • Pay attention to areas of your excavator at a higher risk for wear and tear. Parts of your excavator that are the most worn include bucket teeth, sprockets, bottom and top rollers, track adjusters, track springs, bearings and steel or rubber tracks. Before you use your excavator, you should conduct a daily walk around your equipment, checking these parts to be sure there are no issues. 


  • Regarding the undercarriage of your excavator, dirt and debris must be cleaned. When too much dirt builds up, it could lead to repairs and downtime. Cleaning loose debris and large chunks of dirt from your heavy equipment daily and washing your machine once a week will ensure your machine does not break down. The best way to wash your excavator's undercarriage is to use a pressure washer or hose with a jet nozzle. 


  • Consult your excavator's operation manual. Your machine's manual should contain a preventive maintenance section where you’ll find any tasks that need to be performed and the replacement frequency of certain parts. Create a log of the parts that will need to be replaced along with their frequency. 
  • Make a list of your current inventory to avoid unnecessarily ordering parts you already have. Then, order the parts that need to be replaced frequently to avoid delays in shipping and extended downtime. All of EquipmentShare's orders are shipped within 24 business hours and include the option of expedited shipping to help lessen downtime. 
  • Create a log for hours used on your machine and maintenance history; whether through EquipmentShare's T3 technology, a digital spreadsheet or physically written down, there should be documentation of your machine.
  • Once your machine is ready for any replacements, you should perform maintenance as soon as possible to avoid further issues.
  • When replacing parts that need more frequent replacement, e.g., filters, be sure to check your hoses, seals and belts. These parts won't need to be replaced as often as others, but they still need to be checked to ensure they have not endured damage. 

Use T3 Telematics to Track Machine Performance and Maintenance

EquipmentShare’s T3 technology is a tool that allows you to automate and maintain your preventive maintenance plan. T3 has several apps: Analytics, Work Orders and Inventory, to keep you ahead of any maintenance issues that arise. 

The Analytics app allows users to monitor data on fleet care reports, usage reports and service reports. Users can see if their machines are nearing scheduled maintenance intervals and check in on the machine’s health. The fleet usage reports track fuel usage, hours and mileage, allowing users to track machine usage. 

The Work Orders app helps streamline service on your machines. Work Orders has a preventive maintenance management tracking system. The app allows users to create a work order immediately, alerting the technician with all the details. Work Orders also automatically creates work orders if the machine nears replacement thresholds. Technicians can then follow an inspection checklist in the app to perform maintenance on the machine. The app also documents the machine’s service history. 

The Inventory app helps users plan for jobs and manage their inventory. This tool will help keep track of any preventive maintenance parts in your inventory and ensure there are always parts in stock.

Storing Spare Excavator Parts for Preventive Maintenance

All fluids should be kept in airtight, sterile containers. Keep your fluids from coming into contact with dust or moisture. Make sure your fluids are kept out of direct sunlight. Fluids should be kept at room temperature; during colder months, you should move them somewhere where they will not freeze. 

Your rubber products should be kept out of direct sunlight, which can cause the rubber to degrade, leaving these parts unusable. 

Most manufacturers recommend you store parts in a climate-controlled room to avoid dealing with external weather issues. You should also ensure your replacement parts are stored in a clean, dust-free room to avoid any damage from dust or debris. 

Once you have found a storage area for your parts, you should properly label and organize them. Labeling your parts and keeping your space organized keeps everything easily accessible and helps to avoid confusion. Organizing your parts by class is one way to ensure you can easily find them. Another tip for organizing your parts is to put them in order of their replacement frequency; this way, the parts you should need sooner are more readily available.

It is recommended to use a first-in, first-out method for your parts inventory. This method means that the first purchased items should be the first items used. 

Final Thoughts

Excavators are essential pieces of equipment on your job site for productivity. Having spare parts on hand and following a preventive maintenance routine can decrease the costly downtime expenses and increase your machine’s lifespan. 

There is no downside to keeping spare parts on site for preventive maintenance. Anticipating regular maintenance or issues by storing spare parts lessens downtime and overall costs, increasing productivity for your job. Setting aside just one shelf in a climate-controlled room can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. 

EquipmentShare’s T3 technology allows you to create and optimize your preventive maintenance strategy. T3’s apps allow users to track their inventory, monitor machine health and easily create work orders and checklists for maintenance. The technology provides a preventive maintenance strategy at your fingertips. 

The EquipmentShare Shop carries OEM and aftermarket parts for excavators from top brands like Takeuchi, SANY and Wacker Neuson. Still can’t find the part you’re looking for? Reach out to one of our parts experts for personalized assistance.

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