When excavating and building, it’s vital to ask the right questions about replacement equipment. To help save time with your purchasing research, here are answers to some key questions.
How are rubber excavator tracks measured?
If you have the old tracks on hand, see if the size is stamped on the inside of the tracks. If you can't find the number, you can measure three key characteristics of the tracks to determine the size you need.
First, measure the track width in millimeters. Next, measure the pitch of the track in millimeters. This is the distance from one link's center to the next. Links are also referred to as teeth or drive lugs. Finally, count the total number of links in the track. The size of the track is these three measurements multiplied together.
When should you use tracks instead of tires?
Tracked excavators have the upper hand on wheeled excavators when it comes to stability. The two long tracks provide a larger contact patch with the ground than the wheeled alternative. This means the tracks can generate greater frictional force. When operating on uneven surfaces or soft land and hills, the tracked excavator is your best choice.
Are rubber or steel tracks better?
The answer will largely depend on the type of job site where your excavator will be working. Steel tracks will be more durable, while rubber tracks can be damaged easier from chemicals or abrasive surfaces at the worksite. Rubber tracks also require more maintenance to ensure correct tensioning and the removal of debris, which steel tracks don’t require.
Rubber tracks provide better traction than steel when moving over concrete or asphalt, so often these tracks are best in the latter stages of a project. But in the early stages or when the excavator needs to operate on muddy or uneven surfaces, steel tracks have the advantage.
What type of excavator tread pattern should I use?
Once you have the size of your track, you'll need to check what tread patterns are available. There are many options for mini excavators, including turf (to minimize tread impact on grass surfaces), TDF Super (for snowy or rainy surfaces), zig-zag (for mud), and terrapin (an all-purpose option for different terrains).
OEM tracks will most likely have a C-pattern or block pattern, as another all-terrain option. Steel tracks do not have a specific tread pattern, so to speak, but there are some models of steel track that have removable rubber inserts to tackle difficult surfaces.
How long do rubber tracks last?
Under normal conditions, rubber tracks can last one to two years. If your excavator is operating in harsh conditions or on particularly rough or rocky terrain, you can expect the lifespan to be shorter.
The operator’s driving style can contribute to wear and tear on rubber tracks. Improper or infrequent maintenance could also reduce their lifespan. Each manufacturer and rubber compound on the market will have a different expected lifetime, so it’s important to double-check the manufacturer’s suggestions and how long any used tracks have been in operation with the seller.
How long do steel tracks last?
Steel excavator tracks last, on average, two and a half times longer than rubber. Based on a lifespan of one to two years for rubber tracks, you can expect your steel tracks to last two to five years. But always be sure to double-check with the manufacturer’s suggestions for how long the tracks should be in service safely.