How to Extend the Life of Your Rubber Tracks

An essential part of running a successful business is keeping the ongoing costs down as much as possible. One simple way to do this is to take care of the equipment you’ve already invested in, ensuring that you get as much use out of it as possible before it has to be eventually replaced.

The rubber tracks that are used on mini excavators and other similar small machines can have their lifetime significantly extended with just a few simple steps. Proper maintenance to make sure you’re treating them correctly will result in improved performance and longevity. Here are Tradefaire International’s top tips for extending the life of rubber tracks on your work site.

Check the size of the rubber tracks is right

The simplest way to ensure that your rubber tracks will work for as long as possible is to make sure that they’re the correct size before they’re installed on your machine. An incorrectly-sized track will wear out faster due to the stresses it wasn’t designed for. It could also very easily compromise the safety of the machinery and your workers.

Don’t trust your eye that a track looks like it fits onto the machine correctly – always check with the manufacturer of the tracks and the equipment itself to see that you’re installing the right excavator rubber tracks.

Check the tension is right

Once you have the correctly-sized rubber tracks installed onto your machinery, the tension that you tighten them to can greatly affect their performance and longevity.

While it may be tempting to simply increase the tension on the tracks until they’re as tight as possible, this may actually be counterproductive and can lead to them wearing out quicker. In some cases, it could even actively harm your equipment and damage the rubber track. Excavator and skid-steer models are all slightly different, so make sure that you’re following the correct procedure for your machine.

Different manufacturers’ products – such as Kubota, Komatsu, JCB, Takeuchi, Kobelco, Yanmar and Bobcat rubber tracks– will have different specifications for how tightly they should be installed. It’s also important to regularly re-check and re-tighten the tension in your tracks over time, as they will eventually begin to slip and loosen with use.

Your tracks will also experience a couple of weeks of “settling in” where they will properly break in and become more robust. Watch them carefully during this time and make any adjustments necessary as the rubber shifts.

General tips for your rubber tracks

Once your tracks are in daily use, they need to be looked after in order for them to last as long as possible. Many of these tips for extending the life of rubber tracks are simply common sense, but the careful operation can make a big difference over their lifetime. You should:

  • Keep your undercarriage clean to prevent a damaging buildup of stones, debris and packed dirt from affecting the tracks
  • Limit unnecessary driving (especially in reverse), to prevent wearing the tracks down prematurely
  • Frequently change the direction you are working on a slope, to balance out the wear your tracks are receiving
  • Avoid obviously damaging surfaces, such as large stones, broken concrete, sharp objects, hard walls and even curbs
  • Avoid any hazardous chemicals, including oils and salts
  • Clean any machine oil or grease that drips onto the tracks immediately
  • Avoid any sharp or quick turns that may stress the tracks and generally drive as conservatively as is possible

The main thing to keep front of mind when operating a machine with new or older rubber tracks is to treat them as gently as possible if you want them to last. While the machine itself may be capable of a lot, it will subject the rubber tracks to a lot of abuse that may require them to be replaced prematurely.

The rubber track replacement experts

If you have any questions about replacement rubber tracks for skid steers, mini excavators or anything else to do with tyres and tracks, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our knowledgeable team at Tradefaire International today. Our team are the leading expert in Australia and can help you and your company get back on track as soon as possible.'
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