Rubber tracks are an excellent investment for compact equipment. They offer improved grip, responsive handling, and good returns. However, frequently replacing them is not a viable option, which is why it helps to keep the current pair as long as possible. Learn how to get the most value from your rubber tracks to achieve the expected level of productivity.
10 Tips to Increase Your Rubber Tracks’ Life & Performance
Keep Them Clean
Regularly cleaning the tracks is critical in enhancing their longevity. In addition, wipe the undercarriage daily after each use to remove dirt and debris buildup. Doing so can help prevent clay and sand from hardening in the guides and excessive wear on the sprockets and rollers.
Check for Proper Tension
It is wise to check and adjust the track tension according to the environmental conditions of the job site. A general rule is to have tighter tension on hard ground and less on soft surfaces. Check the operator’s manual for the correct settings.
Reduce High-Speed Operation
Driving compact equipment at a higher speed causes more vibration and track friction. This increases the wear on your rubber tracks and damage to your undercarriage parts due to stress.
Learn Proper Turning Techniques
Knowing how to operate the machine correctly is essential to increase the life of the rubber tracks. Here are some tips to help you:
- Do not over-apply the brakes to prevent overheating and premature wear.
- Avoid making turns and quick stops at high speed.
- Increasing throttle to boost productivity is an incorrect practice.
- Ensure proper inflation pressure to reduce wear on the tracks.
Avoid Abusive Environments
Understand that the tracks are made of rubber-based compounds and vulnerable to specific chemicals and substances such as oil, salt, and fuel, which can diminish their expected useful life. In addition, sharp objects and abrasive surfaces can physically slice off the material, causing it to wear rapidly. It helps to clean the rubber tracks and undercarriage thoroughly after exposure to such working conditions or use a steel-tracked machine for these jobs.
Maneuver Around Curbs
Driving over curbs to fasten your task on some job sites may be tempting. However, doing so will increase stress on rubber tracks, causing them to de-track, often leading to dangerous mishaps. In addition, operating on curbs can result in cracking and falling off of rubber in chunks, exposing the steel cords to moisture.
Here are some driving techniques that can help get your work done efficiently without damaging the tracks:
- Avoid zero-radius turns.
- Counter-rotate them to maneuver safely, especially on abrasive surfaces.
- Make three-point turns.
- Travel directly up and down steep slopes instead of driving quickly horizontally or making sharp turns.
- Use proper ramps to load and unload your tracked machines from or on a trailer.
- Ensure the path is clear of sharp debris like projecting rebar and concrete fragments.
Rotate the Tracks Regularly
Turn your machine’s tracks according to the maintenance schedule to prevent uneven wear. In addition, remember to equip the vehicle with both replacement rubber tracks simultaneously to ensure the treads are even. Replacing only one may cause alignment problems, leading to undercarriage damage over time.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Your rubber tracks need protection from the sun to avoid cracks due to constant operation. Cover your machine with a tarp or park it under a tree if you do not plan to use it for a few hours. Access to a garage or warehouse will also help reduce the tracks’ exposure to sunlight.
Store Them Properly
MTL and skid steer rubber tracks that are not on the machine should be stored in a protected, cool, and dry environment. If you want to keep the compact equipment in storage, move the tracks every one or two weeks. You may also drive it for 5-10 minutes twice a month to maintain the tracks’ flexibility.
3 Commonly Asked Questions about Skid Steer Rubber Tracks
How Long Do Rubber Tracks Last on Skid Steers?
Although there is no guarantee of the tracks’ lifespan, you can optimize their life by considering the following aspects:
- Application: Understand which projects require tracked machines and the type suitable for different terrains to achieve the desired performance.
- Rubber Type: The track’s rubber quality may also affect its life. Purchase high-quality ones from reliable suppliers to ensure durability.
- Job site Environment: Working on abrasive surfaces such as asphalt and rocky terrain will degrade rubber tracks rapidly. Moreover, different ground conditions cause various stresses on the rubber. It is wise to understand the impact and drive accordingly.
- Operator’s Ability: How you operate a skid steer, MTL, or mini excavator affects the lifespan of the tracks. Avoid aggressive operations, be cautious, and follow a proper maintenance schedule to avoid long-term damage.
- Maintenance Schedule: The life expectancy of a rubber track depends on regular upkeep. Do not skimp on it to boost productivity or reduce operating costs.
Which Surfaces Are Harmful to Rubber Tracks?
Although tracked equipment can withstand different terrains and environments, it is beneficial to take precautions when operating in worksites with the following elements:
- Concrete and asphalt, especially when making turns
- Iron rods, sharp rocks, jagged stones, and other corrosive materials
- Roots and rebar
- Scrap iron
- Soil with large amounts of rocks
- Recycling, demolition, and quarry applications
Is It Correct to Replace Only One Track?
Using one replacement rubber track may not lead to immediate damage to your machine. However, it will cause imbalance over time, often causing excessive wear and damage to the compact equipment in the long run.
Get Premium Quality Rubber Tracks at the Best Price
Tag Equipment features a vast inventory of rubber tracks for various machines and applications. We offer reasonably priced, quality products backed by the best warranties to ensure maximum satisfaction.
Our lineup includes MTL rubber tracks, bobcat rubber tracks, skid steer tracks, and high-grade replacement rubber tracks for compact track loaders by the following brands:
- ITR rubber tracks