Whether you have workers who are rough or careful with equipment, there’s always something on your job that needs fixing or replacing. Even though that’s part of the job to an extent, it’s helpful to find ways to avoid wear-and-tear when possible in order to save the company money and drive project expenses down. One way to do this is by learning how to maintain rubber tracks.
There’s plenty of equipment on your job that use rubber tracks. Those tracks take a lot of abuse and dealing with worn or broken-down tracks can mean downtime on the job, putting you behind schedule. But, by learning how to extend the life of rubber tracks, you can keep your equipment running and avoid that costly downtime.
This seems obvious, but it’s critical that you order and use the correct tracks for each piece of equipment on your job. Even if tracks seem to fit for different types of equipment, you’re risking increased wear on the tracks, damage to your equipment, and even risk of injury to your workers. Ensuring that the rubber tracks are correct for each piece of equipment will go a long way in extending the life of your rubber tracks and you’ll find that the savings of not having to replace or repair them over time will outweigh the upfront costs to purchase the appropriate tracks.
If you’ve installed rubber tracks before, it’s easy to just throw the tracks on, tighten them up, and lower the equipment in order to get things moving again. In most cases, you or your mechanic probably do have a good feel for the correct tension or you know the recommended tension for most equipment. But, different pieces of equipment–especially across different manufacturers– call for different levels of tension for their rubber tracks. It’s very important to reference each manufacturer’s specifications when installing the tracks to ensure that they’re put on properly.
This is a simple and easy measure to take in order to ensure you get the most life from your rubber tracks but it’s also one of the most commonly skipped steps.
NOTE: Many people believe that getting rubber tracks as tight as possible is the right way to install them and will help extend track life by preventing them from loosening up. This is INCORRECT and it will lead to quicker wear and even damage of your tracks and equipment. Conversely, your rubber tracks should not be installed too loosely, either. Again, it’s very important to follow the manufacturer’s specifications for installing your rubber tracks with the appropriate amount of tension.
NOTE #2: You should be constantly checking and rechecking the tension of your rubber tracks on all equipment. It’s normal for the tension of the tracks to decrease gradually with usage. Taking time to check track tension and tighten them up when needed will do wonders for maintaining your rubber tracks.
Once you know you’re getting tracks that are sized correctly and they’re being installed the right way, it’s time to hit the dirt with them!
The right tracks, installed correctly, will lead to longer track life and will decrease the need for repair and replacement, as well as equipment damage and worker injury. But, there are also certain ways to operate your equipment that will lead to longer track life, too. Here’s how to extend the life of rubber tracks through careful and strategic equipment operation:
The point is to avoid being reckless when using equipment with rubber tracks. Because these machines are so tough, it’s easy to operate them as if they’re indestructible; and for the most part, the equipment stands up to the demands. But, it’s the accessory parts, like rubber tracks, that take a beating and eventually fall apart as a result. When using equipment, just consider what type of impact your actions will have on parts like the rubber tracks. That simple thoughtfulness will help prevent damage and extend the life of your rubber tracks as well as other parts of your equipment.
In addition to operating your equipment carefully, it’s important to take care of the equipment before and after it’s used. Taking the time to clean the body, undercarriage, crevices, and other parts of your equipment and rubber tracks will help avoid damage to the tracks from debris, broken parts, and damaging materials like oil and grease.
It’s oftentimes not enough just to scan for debris, since it’s easy to miss things and because debris that may not be harmful at first can build up over time to become more problematic. Equipment should be powerwashed regularly, including the undercarriage (which some people neglect). Doing so will prevent debris from accumulating over time and it will ensure you don’t miss objects during routine inspection.
You can easily increase the longevity of your rubber tracks by following these recommendations. Above all else, make sure you’re using the correct tracks for each piece of equipment on your job and be sure to install them correctly, rechecking the fitting regularly.
Additionally, you should operate and care for your equipment and tracks in a way that helps to decrease the wear-and-tear they must face over time.
For additional questions about how to maintain rubber tracks or how to purchase the correct rubber tracks, contact Dominion Equipment Parts today.
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Dominion Rubber Tracks are available for all mini excavators, compact track loaders and tracked Carriers. Our replacement undercarriage parts include a fully stocked line of sprockets, rollers and idlers, manufactured to the highest quality control standards. Dominion Equipment Parts is also the exclusive OEM parts distributor for Morooka Rubber Track Carriers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America.