It’s important to keep your machine running, whether it be an excavator, skid steer loader, multi terrain loader or a compact track loader. No matter what machine your running, whether it’s CAT, Komatsu, Hyundai or a Bobcat, conserving the life of your tracks is as important as putting oil in your car.
Check the tension of your tracks
This might seem obvious, but you don’t want the tension of your tracks too tight or too lose.
Tracks that are loose on the under carriage will cause the lugs to jump over the sprocket rollers and jump off. This will accelerate the wear of your rubber track and can cause damage to your machine, just like losing a tire would cause damage to your car.
The tension of your tracks should be checked daily as part of the machine start-up checklist. Lift the track frame off the ground and check the sag between the bottom track roller and top of the track lug.
Make sure you pay close attention to the recommended range of tension that is specified by the manufacturer for your machine. Tire Solutions agents can help you find the proper XRTS parts for your machine.
Train your operators to drive correctly
The way the tracks are treated during operation has a major effect on track life. Following a few simple road rules could save you a lot of hassle.
Avoid pivots and spins. Tight turns and pivots create unnecessary skidding of the tracks on the ground. Not only does is it wear out your track, but it puts extra strain on your sprockets, idlers, rollers and drive motors.
Stay away from curbs and walls. Hitting and rubbing against hard surfaces on the side of your track is a quick way to crack and tear away at your tracks over time. Sometimes, we just need a reminder to avoid hitting walls when you’re in a 5 tonne machine.
Keep both tracks on the ground and avoid driving horizontally on slopes.
Keep it out of the sun when possible
By minimizing the exposure that your tracks have in the sun, you also minimize the impact of aging. Although tracks are designed and tested to handle temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius, it’s a good idea to only have the tracks in the sun as long as they have to be.
If you’re working in extreme temperatures then reduce the travel speed of your loader or excavator.
Clean your tracks and under carriage every day
Like your four-wheel drive – keeping the running gear clean and clear of debris is very important.
Mud dries and shrinks, causing a “grinding paste” which rapidly erodes the track gear. Debris speaks for itself – if it is large and gets jammed – something will give.
Like fueling up – make cleaning your gear part of the daily finishing routine. Not only will this save you money, but your machines will always look great on site.
Use the correct ramp
When using a ramp to load your equipment, there are a couple of things to look out for. Firstly,ensure that the ramps cater for the overall track width including and customized grousers or pads. Generally, ramps designed for steel tracks will be sharper, however if you treat approach and departure slowly, the chance of damage and increased wear is eliminated.
The life of a rubber track will always be different depending on the terrain, time in use and quality of the track. Following these 5 basic rules to prolong the life of your rubber tracks will save you money and stress.
Our last piece of advice for the day: don’t wait for your tracks to snap before replacing them.
Check your tracks as part of your prestart for signs of damage or fatigue. Monitor any damage for signs it is increasing with use. You don’t want a failure half way through a day - early warning minimizes downtime. For signs that your tracks need replacing, check this out.