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Skid steer tracks prevent your skid steer from getting stuck in muddy or soft terrain due to their large surface area. The tracks allow the skid steer to easily maneuver around uneven terrain while maintaining stability and a smooth ride.
Premium skid steer tracks are made of 100% rubber as opposed to synthetics and other low cost material that breaks down faster under the harsh conditions that skid steer tracks need to endure. Premium skid steer tracks also come with metal pieces and steel cable embedded in the track to improve their durability.
OEMs such as Bobcat, John Deere, CAT, Komatsu, Case, and New Holland manufacture tracks and are sold at a premium price compared to the aftermarket equivalent. However, you must ensure that the aftermarket track supplier is a well vetted, trusted track supplier so be able to trust that are buying OEM level quality.
Skid steer tracks come with a wide variety of tread patterns to meet the demands of the environment you work in so be sure you choose the right tread for the job.
Wider, deeper treads are better suited for marshy or snowy conditions whereas tracks with little to no tread are best for golf courses and landscaping jobs that require turf protection.
The four most common types of skid steer track tread patterns are staggered block tread, C-Lug tread, Straight bar tread, and multi bar tread.
Staggered block tread is the most commonly found skid steer track tread type coming off of the OEM factory floor. It is a multi purpose tread that generally does well on any surface but does particularly well on hot paved roads and gravel.
The C-Lug tread looks similar to the block tread but the middle of the block is carved out resembling the shape of a C. This kind of tread adds extra versatility since it is great for both on and off road surfaces.
The straight bar tread has the highest amount of traction so is great for wet and muddy conditions. It also does the least amount of damage to the turf since block and c shaped tread can tear up turf on sharp turns. The straight bar tread, however, lacks the cushion and shock absorption of the block style tread so will lead to a bumpier ride.
Lastly, the multi-bar tread is designed specifically for operators that need to move on and off hard surfaces on a single job. You get both the smooth ride on pavement as well as the increased traction in wet and muddy terrain. This is the most popular tread type for work in the snow.
Rubber tracks will typically last between 1,200 and 1,600 hours which is about twice as long as pneumatic tires but they still require replacement several times over during the skid steer's life.
The track loader operator can also have a say in preventing premature wear on the tracks by avoiding sharp changes in direction or counter rotations. Using three point turns and avoiding spinning out will cut down on the wear of your track.
Improper track tension, operation on rough terrain or unleveled surfaces, or riding over curbs, rocks, and debris can all add extra stress to the track causing premature wear. With improper care, a track can wear out in as little as 500 hours. Maintaining proper track tensions and track system cleanliness will extend the useful life of your skid steer tracks.
Lastly, worn sprockets are the largest cause of premature track wear. Replacing worn sprockets is a fraction of the cost of a new track. Keep an eye out for worn or missing sprocket teeth as they will cause improper track fitting. You can also find skid steer tracks that fit over the tire which allows you to turn your wheel loader into a track loader. Any type of track for any kind of job can be found with the 100% vetted skid steer track suppliers on Gearflow.