An Ultimate Guide On Mini Excavators’ Operations and Maintenance 2023

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Are you the one who’s looking for the best mini excavator which can fulfill all your needs? You don’t need to worry more. Operating and maintaining is an important activity whether you are operating excavators or vocational trucks.

A mini excavator is one of the most critical pieces of equipment for a work site. An excavator that weighs between 3,000-3,999 pounds and can dig a 7.8-foot deep hole is termed a mini excavator. Mini excavators are also known as compact excavators. An excavator is an outstanding moving vehicle with its arms, rotating cabs, buckets, and moveable tracks. This amazing machine comes with a variety of attachments which makes it more useful. Compact excavators play a vital role on the construction site.

Here you are going to learn about the operations and maintenance of mini excavators. All you need is to keep reading the article till the end. So let’s dig in!

Any project that requires digging is made 100x easier with an excavator. However, an excavator must be operated by a person who understands its proper use. But it is not that difficult to operate an excavator. 

The rotating cab of a mini excavator provides complete visibility, which makes work easier. Here we have listed the best 21 steps to operate your mini excavator. Without further due let’s get started.

mini excavators guide for operations and maintenance

21 Steps To Operate Your Mini Excavator 

  1. Selection Of Right Mini Excavator

When it comes to operating excavators, the selection of the right machine is the most crucial step. A right mini excavator will decrease your workload and vice versa. Mini excavators come in a variety of sizes from super compact (less than 4000 pounds) to heavyweights. If you simply want to do the digging process you don’t need to buy a super-efficient mini excavator.

For a DIY irrigation project, a space-limited project, or a simple trenching/backfilling project, go for the smallest mini excavators you can find. But for a large landscaping process, you need a 3-3.5 ton machine like a Bobcat 336 possibly better suited for the job.

  1. Comparison Of Rental vs. Labour Costs

If you don’t have a long-term project you don’t need to buy a mini excavator. Instead renting a mini excavator can be the best option. Compare the cost of rental and labor mini excavators before investing in a weekend rental. Normally, the rental of an efficient compact excavator can cost you around 150$ (US) per day.

Renting a mini excavator for a short-term project can be a great decision. However, the cost of rental always increases with the increase in demand for attachments. So far a weekly project with an excavator can cost you around 250-300$ (US). But bank insurance can surely help you in this regard.

compact excavators maintenance
  1. Demonstrations Of Machine

Always remember that before operating a mini excavator you need to get familiar with the machine. Ask the manufacturer if they do allow the demonstration of the machine. Many large excavator manufacturers will provide you with this facility. They have a big maintenance area where they allow you to get familiar with your machine

However, the best manufacturers will also allow you to feel the machine with some experienced supervision. Many people neglect this part because they don’t consider it important. Never buy a machine without proper checking.

  1. Check User Manual 

Before Climbing into an excavator you must go through the user manual. It will familiarise you with your device. Remember it is more important to feel the excavator first before actually operating it. Feel free to touch everything gently on your mini excavators. In case you don’t want to read the whole manual book. 

Many mini excavator manufacturer brands facilitate you with a site map. Understanding the map properly will help you to get familiar with the buttons.

Remember, not all mini excavators are the same! You will find differences in different

brands of mini excavators.

  1. Get Familiar With Warnings And Labels Of Mini Excavators

While operating a mini excavator you will find different warning signs and labels. It is wise to familiarise yourself with them. Don’t try to neglect them. Check out those stickers properly because they contain specific warnings. On your compact device, you will also notice some maintenance information. Make sure to read them.

The specification charts, pertinent information as well as manufacturer tag will help you a lot to understand the device. Don’t try to be over-smart, try to understand everything before operating an excavator.

factors to consider to buy a mini excavator 1
  1. Transportation Of Mini Excavators

One advantage of a mini excavator which is liked by all the buyers is its size. A compact excavator can be towed on a trailer to simply reach your worksite. Transportation of a mini excavator is easier than the transportation of any other big construction device.

You can tow a mini excavator anywhere with just a standard pickup truck.

  1. Test The Machine At Some Place

Testing the machine is another important step that needs most of your attention. Find yourself a level, clear area where you can test your machine. Mini excavators are the most stable machines. They can maintain a good balance. The wide footprint helps it to maintain its balance on uneven ground.

However, they can be overturned, so start them out on a clear area or leveled ground. If you are unprofessional don’t think to try the ride on your own. Make sure to hire a professional to test the machine for its first journey.

  1. Look For Damaged Parts

Before you buy or operate an excavator take a look around the machine to properly see it. Check if there are any loose, damaged, or destroyed parts. Those parts will make the usage hazardous. Look for oil leakage, other fuel dripping, control cable linkages, damaged tracks, or any other potential problem.

Check out the engine lubricants and coolant levels in your mini excavators. Those are some standard operating procedures for the usage and construction of devices. Make a habit of giving a once over to every machine you operate before cranking it.

  1. Mounting The Mini Excavator

Mount your machine. On the left of the operator’s seat, you will find an arm set or control assembly. Flip it up and out of the way to access the seat. Pull the lever on the front end(not the joystick) in the upward direction. The whole thing will swing up and back. 

Now grab the handheld which is attached to the revolver frame, step on the track and pull yourself up to the deck. Swing in and have a seat. Pull the arms back down. Push the release lever to lock it into place.

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  1. Get Familiar With The Controls And Gauges Of Mini Excavators

Finally when you’re in the operator’s seat. Look around and get yourself familiarised with the controls and gauges. For a digital engine starting system, you should see the keypad otherwise put the ignition key on the console. Overhead on your right to control the device more easily.

Make a habit of checking the engine temperature, fuel level, and oil pressure while operating a mini excavator. Wear the seatbelt to keep yourself safe inside the machine while driving.

  1. Feel The Motion Of Joysticks Of Mini Excavators

As mentioned above you don’t need to operate the mini excavator before feeling it. Grip the joystick and try to feel its motion. Gently move it around a bit. This stick controls the motion of the boom/bucket which is also known as the hoe. The joystick also controls the rotating function which swings the upper body.

The upper body or the cab provides complete visibility which makes the work easier. The joystick always comes to a neutral position when it is set free or released. This stops every single movement which is caused by its use.

  1. Check For Driver/Steer Controls

Between your legs, you’ll find two long steel rods with a hand attached on the top. These are the driver’s controls. Each of them controls the rotation of the track on the side it is located. Pushing them forward will cause the machine to move forward, and vice versa.

However, pushing the single one of them forward will cause the machine to turn in the opposite direction, pulling the stick backward will turn the machine in the direction of the stick pulled. Where pushing one stick and pulling the other will cause the machine to spin in one place.

The further you push or pull these sticks the faster the excavator will move. So make sure when it’s time to crank up and go, operate those controls slowly and smoothly.

  1. Check For High-Speed Controls

On the floorboard, you will see two more controls. They are the least used controls. On the left, there is either a small pedal or a button that can be operated with your left foot. That’s a high-speed controller used to boost the drive pump and speed up the machine.

However, this feature must be used on a leveled or smooth surface. On the right side, a pedal covered with a hinge steel plate will be present. This pedal pivots the machine’s hoe left or right. The machine doesn’t have to swing or rotate to reach your location.

test mini excavator
  1. Test The Throttle Of the Mini Excavator

Look on the right side and in the front of the instrument panel, you will see two more levers. The rear one is the throttle, which increases the engine’s RPMs, usually the further back it is pulled, the faster the engine speeds. The larger handle is the front blade control.

When you pull this lever it will raise the blade, pushing this handle will lower it. This blade can be used for gardening, pushing debris, or filling holes. It is also used to stabilize the machine while digging with the hoe.

  1. Starting The Engine

Now start up the engine, with the running engine you must be very careful. Avoid the accidental bumping of any control stick which is mentioned earlier. Every single movement from this stick will cause an instant response from the mini excavator.

  1. Begin With Manoeuvring Your Machine

Manoeuvre your machine. Make sure the front blade and boom both are raised. Push the steering control levers forward. If you are not doing any gardening work with the machine, using the dozer blade, you can control one stick with each hand.

Interestingly, these sticks are located very close to each other so you can easily grab both of them with one hand. You can twist to push or pull the sticks while in motion. Allow your right hand to be free. It will help you to raise or lower the dozer blade. 

  1. Get Used To Handling The Machine Properly 

Move the machine around a bit. Get used to handling the machine properly. The turning and backing of it will make you get used to its handling and speed. As you move forward watch the hazards. Since the boom is farther away than your thoughts it can cause serious damage if it hits something.

compact excavators

So it is wise to properly understand the operating guide or manual. To avoid any serious damage make sure you are moving the excavator smoothly and slowly.

  1. Try Out Digging Function Of Your Mini Excavators

The most amazing feature of an excavator is its digging power. You need to try this out as soon as you get some basic operative information about digging depth. Find a suitable place in your practice area to use the digging function and dig depth.

The joystick on the arms controls the boom, pivot, and bucket motion. All of them can be controlled in one of the two modes which are commonly called a backhoe or track hoe mode. Usually, these settings are labeled as A or F in your equipment type.

Note that excavators with different operating weights will have varying digging depths.

  1. Managing The Control Handle

Manage the control handle. Lower the dozer blade by pushing forward the frontal console on your right. Grip both of the joysticks but be careful, don’t move the until you are ready. Start by raising and lowering the main boom section. This can be done by pulling the right joystick straight and pushing it forward to lower it.

  1. Moving The Left Joystick

You can move the left joystick forward and the secondary boom segment will swing up(away from you). Pulling the stick in will swing the boom back (towards you). For scooping dirt or stumps from the ground or a hole you have to lower the bucket into the soil. 

Now pull back the left boom to pull the bucket upward through the soil i.e towards you, While pulling the right stick in the left direction to scoop a part of soil into your excavator’s bucket. Moving the left joystick while being sure the bucket is clear of the ground and there is no obstacle on the left. This will cause the complete cab of the machine to rotate on the tracks

  1. Keep Having This Practice

For mastering the control of the excavator you need to keep practicing this control. Keep going with him until you have a good feel for every control. With enough practice, you will move each control without consciously thinking about it. When you feel confident enough to maneuver the machine, get into the position and start working.

Click here to watch a video related to maintaining a mini excavator.

5 Steps To Maintain Your Mini Excavator Efficiently

After reading the article now you have all the basic information to operate an excavator. However, operating is not everything you need to maintain the efficiency of your excavator. Here are 5 basic steps to maintain the efficiency of your excavator. 

  1. Draining Out The Water Separator

The first thing that an operator must do every morning before starting an excavator is to drain out the water separator. Condensation often forms in the engine dieting at night due to a drop in temperature. If not then the water may go into the injector where it will turn into steam which will lead to engine corrosion. Not draining out the water separator is the cause of most excavator failures.

  1. Inspection Of Tracks

Make a habit of checking tracks. The track tension should always be a little slack, if this tension will increase the pressure will cause unnecessary wear to chains and sprockets. This can happen if the distance of the bottom chain and undercarriage has been measured incorrectly. This measurement is different for different brands so anyone inspecting tracks should always check the operator’s manual.

replacement of mini excavator parts
  1. Changing The Fuel and Air Filters

The only problem that will arise while operating the excavator outdoors, is debris accumulation. Dirt and Debris are the worst enemies of your excavator’s air filter and hydraulic filters. Regular cleaning and changing out the fuel and air filters can help you to maintain your excavator’s efficiency.

  1. Monitoring The Fluid Levels

Regular checking of all the fluid levels can save you from future hazards. Check out that all the fluid levels are at their recommended levels. Maintain engine oil and hydraulic oil levels before you operate your excavator. This will ensure that your machine is working well throughout the day.

  1. Clean The Undercarriage

Who likes a dirty undercarriage? Working in dirty and muddy terrains can cause undercarriage buildup and top ground damage. Make sure to clean the undercarriage properly to maintain the efficiency of the machine. Remove the dirt and debris and prevent unnecessary wear to your excavator. Look for the damaged and missing pieces while inspecting the undercarriage.

5 Safety Tips To Prevent Accidents Through Mini Excavators 

We have discussed the operation and maintenance of the mini excavator so far. Now it’s time for you to learn some safety tips for your popular model mini excavators.

✔Clear The Area

Mini elevators are ideally sized for maneuvering tighter spaces as well as large spaces. They can hoe the soil, but before using them as a digger make sure to clear the area or work site. Remove unnecessary surface rocks and large debris from the worksite to prevent any kind of accident. 

Without the proper operation of the machine, it can hit a nearby building, any animal, or even a person. However, different size mini excavators can have different performances in this area.

✔Wear The Protective Gears

You must wear protective gear to protect yourself from any accident while operating a mini excavator. Gears include steel-toe shoes or boots, helmets, goggles, and dust masks. It is important whether you are carrying out landscaping work, digging, or loading some materials.

✔Lift The Safe Load Weights

To avoid any ground damage with a mini excavator try to stay within the safe weight limits when you are transporting loads. Know the specific limits of the model you are using. Try to keep up with the limits. If you will burden your excavator with a heavy load it can turn over.

✔Prevent the torque

Mini excavators can carry hundreds of pounds. They can also create thousands of pounds of directional torque which can be fatal. Avoid overloading your excavator. Stay within the limits. Never operate a mini excavator on unstable soil or steep grades. 

Keep in mind that because the machine operates on tracks instead of wheels. It can rock or pivot while crossing obstacles, which can result in dropping suddenly as the balance point is crossed

✔Call Before You Dig

Call the local utility locating company to obtain permits before you dig. To discover whether or not any utilities are in the ground of your worksite call the local utility company. If you fail to do this you can be hit with steep fines. Also, you will have to pay for the repair cost if you damage any utility. 

maintaining excavators


Mini excavators are the perfect devices for tight space jobs. They reduce your workload and provide you with the utmost ease. They do a lot of work swiftly and save you time. After reading the whole article you may have gotten the basic information about the operation and maintenance of your mini excavator.

Some famous companies such as john deere, ritchie bros, bobcat, caterpillar, and Hitachi come with detailed instructions for operating compact excavator models.

However, the most important thing that most people oversee is the right manufacturer. Choosing the best manufacturer which is experienced enough to provide you with exceptional service is very important. The right manufacturer bridges the gap between the buyer and the product and does projects efficiently at job sites.

Are you looking for the best and next-generation manufacturer of excavators in 2022? You don’t need to search for more! We are an experienced and reliable manufacturer of mini excavators. We are providing some outstanding services to our customers.

So, if you need help to purchase your standard excavators with the amazing private buying experience, Contact us now to get your quote!

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