C7 Industrial Engine Operation and Maintenance Manual – Severe Service Application – Check

Severe service is an application of an engine that exceeds current published standards for that engine. Caterpillar maintains standards for the following engine parameters:


  • Performance (power range, speed range and fuel consumption) 
  • Fuel quality 
  • Altitude range 
  • Maintenance intervals 
  • Oil selection and maintenance 
  • Coolant selection and maintenance 
  • Environmental qualities 
  • Installation 

Refer to the standards for the engine or consult with your Caterpillar dealer in order to determine if the engine is operating within the defined parameters.

Severe service operation can accelerate component wear. Engines that operate under severe conditions may need more frequent maintenance intervals in order to ensure maximum reliability and retention of full service life.

Due to individual applications, it is not possible to identify all of the factors which can contribute to severe service operation. Consult your Caterpillar dealer for the unique maintenance that is necessary for the engine.

The operating environment, improper operating procedures and improper maintenance procedures can be factors which contribute to severe service conditions.

Environmental Factors

Ambient temperatures – The engine may be exposed to extended operation in extremely cold environments or hot environments. Valve components can be damaged by carbon buildup if the engine is frequently started and stopped in very cold temperatures. Extremely hot inlet air reduces engine performance.

Air Quality – The engine may be exposed to extended operation in an environment that is dirty or dusty, unless the equipment is cleaned regularly. Mud, dirt and dust can encase components. Maintenance can be very difficult. The buildup can contain corrosive chemicals.

Buildup – Compounds, elements, corrosive chemicals and salt can damage some components.

Altitude – Problems can arise when the engine is operated at altitudes that are higher than the intended settings for that application. Necessary adjustments should be made.

Improper Operating Procedures


  • Extended operation at low idle 
  • Frequent hot shutdowns 
  • Operating at excessive loads 
  • Operating at excessive speeds 
  • Operating outside the intended application 

Improper Maintenance Procedures


  • Extending the maintenance intervals 
  • Failure to use recommended fuel, lubricants and coolant/antifreeze
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