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Although many factors affect bulldozer performance, the most dramatic differences are based on the bulldozer's age, quality, maintenance record, past use and manufacturer. Many of these factors can contribute to weak, ineffective bulldozers if they are not addressed. The make and model of a bulldozer can make a difference in performance, because certain bulldozers might be more prone to failure than others.
Age might be the most general characteristic that can affect bulldozer performance. Many machines are made to run for a long time, but particular parts often wear out or break. Issues such as this can get worse when parts are installed improperly or routine maintenance is ignored. A used bulldozer will often lag in performance compared with a new bulldozer because of overall wear and tear, especially if the bulldozer must operate in rugged conditions.
One key part of a bulldozer that affects performance is the blade. As the primary tool used by a bulldozer, the blade often dulls and distorts over time. Heavier materials such as asphalt and rocks tend to wear out blades faster than loose earth. Blades can be sharpened and maintained but can eventually wear out beyond repair. Like blades, bulldozers usually require routine maintenance for maximum performance.
Simple tasks such as changing oil and other fluids can affect bulldozer performance, especially in rugged conditions or over a long period of time. Many vehicle manufacturers recommend certain types of maintenance throughout the life of a bulldozer. Bulldozers in icy climates or extremely wet climates, for instance, might wear out faster because of being exposed to harsh elements. Such a situation can affect performance by encouraging rust and general wear and tear.
The manner in which a bulldozer was used can also affect its performance, because harsher conditions often mean a shorter life. If a small bulldozer is used for heavy materials, for instance, the extra strain can affect its performance later. Staying within the recommended operating limits can help maintain maximum performance over time. Especially with high-quality bulldozers, many are made to last for a long time as long as they are used carefully.
Initial quality can affect bulldozer performance in a subtle way. High-quality machines from reputable manufacturers might have a longer life span than low-quality machines. Performance usually decreases over time, so the goal usually is to maintain the highest level of performance possible for the longest period of time. Expensive used bulldozers might pay for themselves in the long run because they are able to maintain their performance for a longer time.
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