Perhaps because of their size, mini-excavators and mini-dumpers don’t get the same recognition when compared to larger earth movers, backhoes, or demolition equipment. However, anyone who makes a living by using mini-excavators daily, or on a regular basis, knows how important this machinery is on small jobs, or in hard to get to places. Subsequently, mini-dumpers and mini-excavators work just as hard as their full-size counterparts and, as such, require the same amount of care and maintenance to ensure superior condition and a long-lasting work history.
One of the most important considerations of mini-excavators is their rubber tracks. Mini-excavator rubber tracks are comparable to the tires on a regular tractor. Rubber tracks are responsible for a mini-excavator’s mobility, and reliable tracks are essential for exceptional performance and durability. While most of them can last an average of 24 months, or approximately 2,000 hours, replacing them with equally reliable aftermarket parts is as important as buying high-quality original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.
Aftermarket tracks can be just as reliable as OEM parts when bought from a reputable dealer, and can be much less expensive than name-brand replacements. As dependable rubber tracks are essential for the hard work that mini-excavators must accomplish, it is important that they fit perfectly, and that the tension is adjusted to an acceptable level. Track tension is the main factor in guaranteeing excavator mobility and maneuverability, and also assures safety and uniform wear and tear. When the tracks are too loose, there is the possibility that they will “de-track,” and not only cause damage to the machine, but also endanger the operator. Likewise, if the tracks are too tight, it could cause unnecessary wear and tear on the machine, and will also waste fuel. In addition, rubber tracks that are too tight can snap and, again, create a hazardous situation for the driver.
To maintain the proper durability of rubber tracks, the tension should be inspected, at least, every 100 hours of use. Then, the tension should be cross-referenced with the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure the equipment is adjusted properly and will maintain maximum efficiency and safety standards. Improperly maintained equipment not only increases safety concerns, but could be responsible for a loss of productivity. As any business owner knows, lost productivity or safety issues can immediately lead to disappearing profits. Finally, aftermarket tracks should come with an extended warranty that guards against manufacturer defects and faulty materials. As the average life of well-maintained mini-excavator rubber tracks is approximately two years, it is essential that the owner keeps them in optimal working order to extend the life of the machine.
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