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When you use a loader or other major equipment on a construction site, getting the device to the site is the first challenge of the day. Some companies bring heavy equipment to the site on a flatbed because it is faster and causes less damage to asphalt along the way, but even on the site, steel track equipment can be noisy, vibrate so powerfully it makes for a tough ride for the driver, and even damage the paving at the site. To eliminate some of these concerns, many companies outfit their equipment with rubber tracks.

Rubber tracks are popular alternative to steel tracks in many situations because of their noncorrosive properties, which lowers operating costs for the company. Drivers prefer them because they can move the equipment over the worksite at a greater speed, navigate any smooth terrain with ease, and enjoy a more comfortable working environment. To obtain the maximum benefits of rubber tracking, both management and the drivers must be committed to proper maintenance and proper driving habits.

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Why the need for maintenance? Rubber is a noncorrosive product that is durable and long-lasting. However, while it doesn’t corrode, it is subject to breakdown in the presence of intense sunlight and chemical contaminants. If you leave a machine unused for long periods of time, the tracking can become distorted. To keep the tracking operating properly, cleaning and inspection must be part of the daily or weekly regimens.

Experts suggest taking the following steps to make sure that the rubber tracks fulfill their potential:

  • Frequent washing. Material buildup within the tracks stresses both the track and the undercarriage. For a machine in constant use, daily washing with the pressure washer removes the dirt from the tire trends, the undercarriage, and drive hub holes. This is important even in the winter when the machine passes through snow, which can freeze the undercarriage. Throughout the day, the driver should check to make sure that asphalt or other materials have not accumulated around lugs on the tracks, which can result in the track slipping out of place.
  • Inspecting the equipment. Before the driver starts the machine for the day, the maintenance crew should examine the vehicle to check the condition of the track and verify that there are no cables sticking out or evidence of worn-out bogies. These visual inspections should be supplemented by a more thorough examination every few months, where the machine is put on lift for a closer inspection.
  • Maintaining proper tension. In fitting equipment with rubber tracks, the size should correspond to the horsepower of the machine and should be adjusted to have a slack of about an inch on smaller machines and about two inches on larger equipment. Adjusting the tension when needed can keep the track fitting properly.


As for operating the machine in a way that will preserve the tracks, it is important to drive it slowly at a speed of five miles an hour, preferably on a flat surface to prevent uneven wear on the tracks and undercarriage. When making turns, gradual three-point turns to preserve the tracks, equalize wear, and throw minimal debris into the undercarriage.

When stopping the machine, the drivers should coast to a stop rather than using the brakes or steering components. Once the machine has come to a stop, he should then stop the engine after putting the vehicle in park and securing it in place with blocks on the front and rear tracks to prevent slippage. Before walking away from the machine, the driver should take note of any performance issues and report them to maintenance who can check the machine before further usage.

Using a machine with rubber tracks is convenient on the job site and cost-effective for companies with heavy equipment. For long life, outfit your construction equipment with rubber tracks from All-Star Tire. For information, call today at 713-396-5103.