Tips To Extend the Life of Your Rubber Tracks
Rubber tracks are some of the most costly parts on your mini excavator or compact track loader. Without them, it would be impossible to maneuver the machinery and accomplish any tasks. As such, it’s essential to practice regular track maintenance and take measures to extend the life of your rubber tracks in any way that you can. Doing so will also help prevent unexpected downtime and improve the life of your tracks. In turn, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of less downtime and receive the greatest return on investment possible for your rubber tracks. Continue reading this helpful guide for some of the most effective tips on how to extend the life of your rubber tracks.
Keep Proper Tension
Consequences of Under-Tensioned Rubber Tracks
The reason why keeping proper tension on your rubber track is so important is that if a rubber track is loose or under-tensioned, there is a chance that the bottom part of the track or the guide may end up getting caught on the track frame or the undercarriage. As a result, a link or metal insert in the rubber track can get torn off or pulled out.
Another consequence of a track that is too loose is that it is very easy to derail. When a rubber track derails, the machinery runs off of the track and the undercarriage may rub against the track’s rubber surface and twist the guides. As a result, there is an increased chance that the track can become damaged.
Consequences of Over-Tensioned Rubber Tracks
If a track is too tight, there are also many damaging impacts that can occur. When the tension on a rubber track is too tight, added stress is placed on the undercarriage of your mini excavator or skid steer as well as the track. Such stress can greatly shorten the lifespan of the rubber track by causing cables internally to break prematurely, which is why maintaining the proper tension on rubber tracks is so crucial.
Clean Your Rubber Tracks Regularly
Regular track cleaning is one of the most impactful ways to extend the life of your rubber tracks and should be regarded as an essential maintenance task. Whenever any debris or other foreign substance gets on the track, make sure to clean it off as quickly as possible. For example, a lot of clay may get stuck inside the guides and on the undercarriage of the tracks when running your machine in clay. If the machine is parked without being cleaned, the clay will dry and harden as it is left on the track and machinery undercarriage. Then, the next time that the machine is run, the hardened clay will put unnecessary pressure on the rubber tracks, thus over-tensioning them, twisting guides and putting stress on the drive motors.
As such, it is important to wash and clean your rubber tracks after every use to make sure that any debris, rocks, mud, or clay that may have gotten stuck in the rubber track and undercarriage is removed before it hardens or causes additional damage.
Another reason why it is vital to keep foreign substances off the rubber tracks is that the rubber compound can start to break down and deteriorate when in contact with hydraulic oil or diesel fuel. It is common to experience some type of leak such as a hydraulic leak when operating machinery or to accidentally spill diesel when fueling up the machine. If not cleaned immediately, such spills and leaks can lead to premature flex cracks and fatigue on the rubber track and shorten the lifespan of the track.
Avoid Keeping Rubber Tracks in Direct Sunlight for Long Periods of Time
Another important tip for extending the life of your rubber tracks is to avoid keeping them in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. When placed in direct sunlight, the sun may cause the rubber tracks to experience what is known as ozone cracking. As such, it is always better to park your machine in an indoor location where it is out of the sun’s rays. If you can’t store your machinery inside, try to at least park it in a shaded outdoor location rather than keeping it in an area where it is exposed to direct sunlight.
To help prevent ozone cracking from occurring, McLarens’ rubber tracks are equipped with exceptionally high-quality anti-ozinant chemicals. While the antiozonants make our tracks far less susceptible to ozone damage, continuously storing your rubber tracks out in direct sunlight may lead to ozone damage after several years.
Coordinate Your Operations with Your Environment
Knowing your working environment and operating your rubber track skid steer or mini excavator accordingly can also help extend the life of your rubber tracks. For example, if you are driving your machinery in soft dirt, you will have some leeway regarding the way in which you turn the machinery and how fast you drive because the terrain won’t put extra wear and tear on the tracks.
However, if you know that you are operating your machinery in a very rough area and are driving on surfaces with a lot of rock and gravel, try to make sure that the operator turns more slowly and less aggressively. By operating your machine in a way that is appropriate for its environment, you can ultimately increase your track life by up to 50 percent.
McLaren Industries is a leading provider of premium quality rubber tracks. With multiple decades of experience designing and engineering rubber tracks for OEM’s, we have brought the durability and life expectancy of rubber tracks to unparalleled levels. To suit any application and expand the potential of your machinery, our extensive line of rubber tracks boasts the most tread pattern options available for compact track loaders. Further, we guarantee impeccable customer service to ensure that is unmatched in the industry. Contact us today to learn more about our exceptional rubber tracks at 1-800-836-0040 or request a quote by clicking here.