How to Maintain Construction Diggers for Optimum Performance

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Construction Diggers and How to Maintain Them for Optimum Performance

A construction digger refers to any type of machine used for excavation in projects. With a variety of diggers available on the market, the right one depends on the project and its magnitude. Smaller diggers are available for small scale sites, and these "mini diggers" or compact excavators, are the most popular on the option. Commercial project more frequently need a full sized diggers. Before buying a digger, shoppers are encouraged to become familiar with the capabilities and limitations of each type.

While there are companies that rent construction diggers, some people prefer to have their own. Just like owning a vehicle, diggers must undergo routine maintenance to keep everything running in shape. Diggers should be thoroughly inspected before and after each use to ensure all the parts are in working order. Should something break or need to be replaced, workers should take to manufacturer or retailer websites, or online auctions such as eBay, to find the part.

About Construction Diggers

Though there are many types of construction diggers used on site, they perform the same basic function. Every machine relies on hydraulics to move. Moreover, diggers are made up of three main components: the house, the undercarriage, and workgroup. The house is responsible for protecting both the operator and the hydraulic pump, as well as the engine and distribution compartments. The undercarriage is what makes the digger move and is comprised of rubber or steel tracks, rollers, idlers, and drive sprockets. The last part, the workgroup, is what is responsible for the digging and excavating. This component is either made of the boom, the arm, or dipper, and the end attachment, such as a bucket or claw.

Full size diggers are preferred at large commercial construction sites, but several of the same diggers come in "mini" or "compact sizes. These machines typically weigh between 1 and 7 tonnes, yet despite being smaller, they are incredibly powerful. Mini diggers are ideal for small construction projects, such as a single home. Another added benefit of their compact size is they are easier to move around. Whether using a full sized or mini, drivers must always exercise caution when manoeuvring a digger.

Types of Diggers

In addition to choosing between a full-sized or mini construction digger, buyers must also determine which type they want. All diggers are made from the same basic parts, but most often it is the workgroup component that is different.

Excavators are by far one of the most popular diggers on the market due to its versatility. Backhoe loaders are designed for those who want a single machine for digging and moving the excavated material. Bulldozers have at least one large steel blade in the front that can have a variety of attachments fitted to it. Loadalls are favourites for agriculturists and those in the construction industry. The sections below have more detailed descriptions about the features of style of construction digger.


Excavator diggers refer to any type of machine with a single arm on the front with a boom and a stick; most often, there is a bucket at the end. The housing has a cab placed above a revolving platform, giving operators directional control. Excavators are prevalent because they can perform a variety of tasks. These diggers are used generally for digging, demolition, landscaping, and grading.

Excavators come in an array of sizes. Larger models are preferred in the mining industry and commercial construction projects, especially when space is not limited. Mini, or compact, excavators may be small, but they can carry some heavy loads. Some of the smallest excavators can fit through a doorway, making them ideal for indoor use.

Backhoe Loader

The backhoe loader is like a super excavator since it has both a front bucket and a backhoe. Operators only need a single piece of machinery to do the digging and moving the material. The original inspiration for the backhoe loader was the tractor, so one of the main advantages is portability. Like a tractor, a backhoe loader can be driven down the road. Therefore, whereas other types of diggers require another truck and trailer to transport it, a backhoe loader can be moved from site to site with ease.

Moreover, users can increase the diggers stability by lowering the front scoop and stabilisers. Modifying a backhoe loader for more stability allows operators to dig quickly and with more force. Backhoe loaders prove to be one of the best compact diggers available.


Like the backhoe loader, the bulldozer is another reincarnation of the tractor. They are commonly found on construction sites, but miners and road workers also use bulldozers to get the job done. These tough diggers are designed to tackle rough, uneven terrain thanks to their undercarriages. The housing sits atop a set of caterpillar tracks that give the digger mobility.

Bulldozers come equipped with a front-mounted steel plate, called a blade. The blade can be changed to complete a variety of tasks such as shovelling large quantities of dirt, sand, gravel, or even debris such as rubble. Additionally, bulldozers can be equipped with a rear ripper style of attachment to penetrate dense, compacted surfaces.


Loadalls resemble the backhoe loaders in that the housing rests above four tires like a tractor. Although not the typical digger, the loadall digger has its use in construction and agriculture. The loadall is sometimes referred to as a "telescopic handler", and these models are renowned for being both small and versatile. The loadall has extendable arms or booms with the ability to swivel at the operator's command. Most often there is a forklift attachment at the end, but bale lifts, shovels, and grapple attachments are also available. The chart below lists the four types of diggers and summarises the features of each.

Type of Digger


Backhoe Loader

Compact digger with a front arm and bucket and a backhoe for breaking up dense surfaces


Heavy duty digger with front-mounted blade attachment with capabilities to attach a rear ripper


Most common and basic digger; has a front-mounted arm or boom with attachment, usually a bucket, at the end


Known also as "telescopic handler", typically has forklift or similar style attachment

While an excavator and a backhoe loader can often be used interchangeably to get the job done, it is important for operators to fully understand their project and the space where it is completed. Only then can they choose the right digger for the job.

Tips for Maintaining Construction Diggers

Like any vehicle, diggers must be properly maintained in order to keep them operating at full capacity. Additionally, performing routine maintenance on a digger prolongs the life of the machine. The amount and extent of maintenance done is wholly dependent on how often the digger is used. Diggers frequently in operation and those exposed to the elements require regular inspections and work. Operators and owners should pay special attention to vital components, such as the hydraulic system.

One of the best rules for operating a digger and keeping is in working order is to always work within the capacity of the machine. Improper use could cause the digger to malfunction or break. Should the digger break down, owners have several options to choose from when having it fixed. The first is to look up a local specialist. Many times, these individuals have easy access to replacement parts; the downside is, they are often expensive. Some owners prefer to fix the diggers themselves and look for parts. The Internet is a great place to find new and salvaged parts.

Although there is no law stating users are required to keep a maintenance log, people who own high risk equipment should consider documenting everything they do to repair or maintain the digger. A detailed log should include the date, procedure, and cost. It allows owners to track what has been done and also aids repairmen working on the digger; knowing what has been repaired before and when allows them to properly assess and diagnose the issue.

Buying Diggers and Parts on eBay

Diggers are not an everyday purchase on eBay, but when shopping for either a working piece of machinery or just a spare part, you need to have an idea of what make, model and type you are looking for. Many people shop for diggers on eBay because they can buy used. If buying a used digger, make sure it is in working condition and not being sold for parts.

Payment Methods

eBay has four payment methods. PayPal is the preferred method for many sellers. With a PayPal account, submitting payment takes only a few clicks, and it is 100 per cent safe. A large number of sellers also take credit and debit cards; using a card is just as safe as PayPal; however, with each transaction, buyers must keep their card information handy. If buying a digger on eBay, you may be able to hold the money in escrow until you have it in your possession. The final type of payment lumps together non-traditional payments including personal cheques and direct money transfers.


Becoming familiar the various features and types of diggers allow renters or buyers to choose the right one for their project. The excavator can accomplish a multitude of tasks; however those who need to bust up concrete or other dense material would benefit from using a backhoe loader or a bulldozer. The size of the space should also be taken into account. Open areas can accommodate larger machinery, and small projects with limited room may only be completed with the help of a compact digger.

Those who rent diggers should ask to see the maintenance logs before agreeing to terms. Those who own a digger are encouraged to keep records of what is fixed and when. To ensure safety, operators should only use diggers within their ability and never overexert the machine. Before operating any digger, workers must read the user manual to understand how to operate the machine and learn its limitations.

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