It goes without saying that motor graders are highly sophisticated machines which are fully equipped to handle tough to toughest conditions, however, the catch here is that they need to be operated properly and optimally to give maximum results. Be it experienced or non-experienced operators, all are required to note and observe the proper motor grader operating as well as starting and shutting down procedure very well.

So, how do you go about starting and shutting down the machine? Here is a basic guide for the same...

Starting procedure for the motor grader

Before starting the motor grader, it is extremely essential to ensure that all the pre-start procedures have been followed. These include visually inspecting controls, engine, compartment, cooling system, gear boxes, hydraulic parts and other parts if they are worn out or broken; walking around the equipment and checking loose bolts, trash build-up, oil or coolant leaks and damaged tires; checking for any defects or potential problems while greasing the machine; checking all the attachments of the motor grader and ensuring that all the safety equipment are working and clean. In addition to it, it is equally important to look at the fuel, coolant and oil levels, the power-steering reservoir and power-shift transmissions. Apart from this, it is extremely essential that you read the operators’ manual and perform all the checks suggested in it. After all these pre-start up checks, you should be ready to start the equipment. So how to go about it?

Well, in neutral position and with the parking brake on, you need to open the throttle to a quarter and turn the starter. Then, the clutch should be depressed to ease the starter load. Here, it should be noted that you should not press the starter for more than 30 seconds and if you do so, allow two minutes for cooling before starting again. This is because an overheated starter could cause a fire. After this, when the motor grader has started, wait for few minutes and check the gauges. If everything is fine, then check the controls and wait for some time till the hydraulic oil is warmed up.

Tips to be kept in mind while starting the motor grader

1. Check all the signals, lights and flags on mouldboard and cab.

2. Take precautions so as to prevent overflowing the tank or spilling fuel.

3. Walk around and ensure that there is no one next to, under, or on the machine.

4. Ensure that the controls are in neutral position.

5. Check the horn sound.

6. Test all controls, brakes, steering and accelerator before starting the equipment.

7. Listen and report unusual noises, if there is any.

8. Recheck lights, back-up alarms and other warning or safety devices.

9. Make sure the machine is equipped with a lighting system that is adequate for the job conditions.

10. Adjust seat for proper height and pedal reach.

11. Inspect and adjust mirrors.

12. Inspect, adjust and fasten seat belt. Adjust the seat so that full pedal travel can be achieved with the operator’s back against the back of the seat.

13. Turn engine start switch to the ON position.

14.Turn the key start switch to START, crank engine and release when engine starts.

Shutting down procedure for the motor grader

When it comes time to shutting down the motor grader, it is extremely essential to give the equipment few minutes to cool down. Typically, two to three minutes are enough for it. While parking the machine, clearly ensure that you park the machine as near to level as possible. Make it a point to lower all hydraulic equipment to the ground and set the parking brake.

Once the machine is completely shut down, make it a practice to walk around the machine looking for any leaks such as leaks in the hydraulic system hose or connections, fuel, coolant, grease or oil leaks or loose and worn parts. In addition, you should perform few tasks as a part of the post-shutdown quality check. These include checking for any blade wear and tear i.e., they should be wearing straight and not cupped in the middle. Further, the oil, coolant and fuel level should also be checked. Last but not the least, checks should also be performed for finding any dirt or mix and they should be cleaned well so as to prevent any hindrances to the sliding surface, lubrication point or pivot setting.

Tips to be kept in mind while shutting down the motor grader

1. Reduce the engine speed.

2. Apply the service brake to slow the machine.

3. Keep the transmission neutral.

4. Allow engine to cool gradually.

5. Lower all equipment to the ground and activate any control locks.

6. For parking, select level ground wherever possible.

7. If the grader is disabled and cannot be moved from the roadway, then put out flags and flares (flares are mandatory at night and during periods of poor visibility).

8. Have the grader removed from the roadway as soon as possible.

9. Remove ignition key when leaving grader.

10. Turn battery disconnect switch to OFF.

11. Secure machine to prevent unauthorised starting and movement.

12. Dismount machine using 3-point contact.

13. Conduct post-operation walk-around inspection.

14. Refill the fuel for make the equipment ready for next operation.

To sum up

By following the above mentioned start-up and shut down procedure, you can operate the motor grader smoothly and swiftly and also avoid dangerous injuries to men and machine. These small but important tips can help to increase productivity as well as efficiency of the machine to a very large extent. Be it any type of motor grader, the above mentioned start-up and shut down procedure remain same and should be followed at any cost. This not only increases the life of the motor grader but also improves jobsite efficiency. Hence, always ensure that the motor grader operator knows about these practices very well and always observe the above mentioned rules at any cost.