Fire Chief Issues Warning For Heavy Equipment Parts This Summer

Although extreme heat is less of an issue for heavy equipment users here in Long Island, fire safety should never be taken lightly by anyone who works with these machines. On the other side of the country in Redding, California, one fire chief is urging anyone who works with heavy equipment to take special care to avoid common fire hazards this summer.

"These have caused property damage and a lot of the times we lose the heavy equipment to fire, which is a very expensive result," said Redding Fire Chief Gerry Gray to KRCR TV.

And according to, "Failure to properly maintain your cooling system is a leading cause of catastrophic diesel engine problems, accounting for approximately 40% of engine failures."

These problems are often hard to spot. Crucial heavy equipment parts like the head gasket, water pump, and radiator are all confined within the cooling system. That's why regular heavy equipment servicing is so important.

"Neglect of coolant maintenance happens all too often and most failures related to the coolant are very preventable," Jared Parsons, Caterpillar Fluids Engineer, told "As diesel engine technology advances, greater stresses are being placed on the cooling system. EGR coolers put a greater thermal stress on the coolant and can cause breakdown of the glycol."

When heavy equipment parts show signs of wear, it's important to stop using the machine until servicing has been completed. Fortunately, it's never been easier to find used heavy equipment components and used Caterpillar parts.

And remember, most pieces of heavy equipment have a 15-year life span, so take special precautions when equipment reaches the end of its life expectancy. It's also worth noting that overuse can cause equipment breakdown much sooner. In fact, user error accounts for 35% of equipment failure. And since user error won't be covered by any warranty, that makes an expensive equipment failure all the more costly.

This summer, make sure heavy equipment cooling systems are properly maintained and serviced. In dry conditions, try and prevent Hardox plates and cutting edges from striking rocks or other materials that could cause unexpected sparks.