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How To Get the Most Life Out of Your Rubber Tracks

Oct 23rd 2023

How To Get the Most Life Out of Your Rubber Tracks

Heavy equipment, such as excavators and compact track loaders, are used in various industries for their efficiency and power. These machines would not be able to function without their undercarriage, including the vital rubber track component.

Rubber tracks provide traction and stability for heavy equipment, making them crucial for completing various construction, mining, and agriculture tasks. However, they're prone to wear and tear due to the weight of the equipment and constant use. Replacing them can be costly, so knowing how to maintain and prolong their life is essential. By learning how to get the most life out of your rubber tracks, you'll be able to save money and complete tasks in less time.

Understanding Rubber Tracks

Rubber tracks are typically made from a combination of natural and synthetic rubber, along with other materials such as steel cords and metal plies. These materials make the tracks durable, flexible, and able to withstand heavy loads. However, like any other material, rubber tracks can deteriorate over time if not properly maintained. To get the most life out of your rubber tracks, you'll need to take the time to understand proper maintenance and care.

The Importance of Proper Installation

The first step is ensuring the tracks are correctly installed on your heavy equipment. Proper installation of rubber tracks is fundamental to their performance and longevity. Poorly installed tracks can cause uneven wear and reduce the life span of your tracks. Correctly installed tracks, on the other hand, improve the operational efficiency and durability of the entire undercarriage.

The process should be carried out with utmost precision, following the manufacturer's instructions to the letter. An accurately installed rubber track ensures optimal weight distribution of the heavy equipment, thereby minimizing exerted pressure and extending the life of the track. Furthermore, it guarantees smooth and efficient operation, reducing potential downtime. If parts are excessively worn, finding quality replacement undercarriage parts for sale should be a priority.

The Significance of Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning of your rubber tracks cannot be overstated. Dirt and debris can cause damage to the track's surface, leading to cracks and tears. Keeping your rubber tracks clean by removing contaminants is crucial for their longevity. If not promptly removed, such accumulations can harden and cause damage to the tracks, compromising the overall performance of your heavy equipment and leading to inefficiencies in operation.

It's imperative to clean your rubber tracks routinely, especially after use in challenging terrains. This maintenance practice goes a long way in enhancing the durability of your tracks, leading to operational cost savings. Invest time in thoroughly washing the tracks using a high-pressure water source to dislodge the stuck dirt and debris. However, avoid using chemicals or solvents as they can deteriorate the rubber tracks.

The Detriments of Sharp Turns

Navigating your heavy equipment through sharp turns frequently can substantially reduce the lifespan of your rubber tracks. Abrupt maneuvers exert intense pressure on the track's components, causing them to wear out prematurely. This is because sharp turns increase the friction between the tracks and the terrain, leading to excessive heat generation and damage to the rubber tracks.

Rather than making a sharp 90-degree turn, it's advisable to opt for a gradual, wide turn. If sharp turns are unavoidable due to the confined nature of the worksite or the task at hand, ensure to execute them at low speed. This action minimizes the stress induced on the rubber tracks and, consequently, reduces wear and tear.

Minimizing Travel Over Hard Surfaces

Rubber tracks are designed for softer surfaces such as dirt and gravel. When heavy equipment travels over harder surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, or rocky ground, the tracks endure increased stress and friction. This accelerates the wear process and enhances the chances of track damage from sharp or hard objects.

Plan your routes strategically to avoid unnecessary travel over harsh terrains, and opt for softer, more rubber-friendly paths. However, if operating on hard surfaces is inevitable due to the nature of your projects, ensure you do so at reduced speeds to minimize the impact. Also, make a habit of inspecting your rubber tracks more frequently when working on these grounds to detect potential issues early. Remember, optimal track maintenance is a balance between usage and care.

Maintaining Proper Tension

Maintaining the correct tension on rubber tracks is essential for optimal performance and longevity. The tensioning of rubber tracks should not be overlooked or underestimated, as both loose and overly tightened tracks can lead to increased wear and tear and, consequently, a shortened lifespan. When rubber tracks are too loose, they risk de-tracking, which can cause significant damage to both the rubber track and the undercarriage components of your heavy equipment. On the other hand, overly tightened tracks can cause unnecessary strain on the undercarriage and the tracks themselves, leading to premature wear and failure.

To manage this, ensure that you follow the manufacturer's guidelines for tensioning. These guidelines are developed based on intensive research and practical testing, designed to provide the ideal tension for different types of heavy equipment and working conditions. It's also important to regularly check the tension, especially after installing new tracks or when working in harsh terrains.

Developing Safe Storage Practices

Good storage practices play a crucial role in extending the life of your rubber tracks. Rubber tracks should be stored in a dry, covered area, shielded from exposure to harmful elements when not in use. Exposure to direct sunlight can lead to the rubber degrading and losing its elasticity. Moreover, harsh weather conditions, such as extreme cold, can make the rubber brittle and more susceptible to cracks and tears.

As part of your storage protocol, it's advisable to regularly check your equipment for signs of wear or damage so that you can address any potential issues promptly. This will ensure your equipment is ready to perform when needed without any unexpected delays or costs.

Maximize the Life of Your Heavy Equipment

Rubber tracks are an essential investment for heavy equipment owners, and caring for them is crucial for their longevity. With so many things to remember during the maintenance process, it's easy to be perturbed.

Remember to always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for maintenance and seek professional help if needed. With proper care and attention, your heavy equipment can continue to have traction and stability for years to come. With these tips, you should be able to get the most life out of your rubber tracks.

How To Get the Most Life Out of Your Rubber Tracks