Use The Right Tracks
Jesse points out, "New tracks can retail anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 so it is important to keep your project in mind when choosing excavator tracks."
Always consider the environment you will be working in. Firmer ground like hard packed soil or rocky terrain calls for a narrower track width or “shoe width”. However, muddy or soft ground will require a wider shoe width for even weight distribution and to keep your machine from sinking.
Drive smarter and extend the life of your tracks.
- Do not drive over sharp / damaging materials
- Do not drive over curbs
- Avoid steep inclines / declines when possible
- Always look forward (face your drive motor towards the back of your machine)
- Avoid driving over chemicals, salt, oil, etc.
- Avoid overly sharp turns
- Minimize time on abrasive materials like concrete or asphalt
Keeping these best-practices in mind will help prevent undue stress on your machine while extending the life of your tracks.
Keep Your Tracks Clean and Maintain Your Equipment
“Tracks should be cleaned of dirt and debris with a track spade or power washer after each use. If you skip this quick step, debris sitting on your tracks can eventually cause premature wear. After enough dirt accumulates, the added weight can also negatively effect your gas mileage. In the winter, frozen dirt can rub on the bolts, loosen the guiding and seize the rollers. When our rental machines come back, the first thing we do is make sure they are thoroughly cleaned,” says Jesse.
Regularly check the undercarriage of your machine for wear and tear. Worn sprockets, oil leaks, projecting bolts, or worn out rollers can seriously damage your tracks. Small cuts in a track will have little effect, but serious cuts/cracks can reflect damage to the cords. A deep cut will allow moisture into your cords, seriously shortening the life of your tracks.
Make sure to check track tension regularly. Loose tracks can damage your undercarriage and cause your tracks to slip off your machine while overly tight tracks can lead to serious performance issues.
Try not to store your tracks in direct sunlight over long periods of time. Ideally, tracks should be stored in a dry, cool environment. If you know you your machine will be sitting for a while, make sure you take it for a spin every two weeks or so to prevent the tracks from warping.
Take Care While Installing New Tracks
"Be careful if installing new tracks yourself. Better yet, have a professional do it for you," says Jesse. Improper installation can damage your rollers or crack the track. If you still think you'd rather do it yourself, make sure you wear the correct safety gear, including boots, gloves, and safety glasses. As always, it’s best practice to take a few moments and familiarize yourself with both the operators and service manuals.
TECH TIP: Always replace both tracks simultaneously. Matching worn components with new components can considerably shorten their lifespan.
For questions, or to learn about what kind of excavator is right for you, call 1-800-DURANTE or check our mini excavator page here.