Unfortunately, the first time most people consider replacing their rubber tracks is when they break and are no longer usable. It’s quite obvious that the rubber tracks need replacing well before this happens and 4 main signs you need to look out for are:
1. Sprockets are skipping over the lugs
The sprocket engaging the rubber track is the same as two gears engaging. If the track is loose or the sprocket is worn, they will mesh sloppily and skip easily. They can also derail from either of these for the same reason.
2. Cracks are appearing on your tracks
As with most things, the exterior of your rubber track will begin to crack over time. Cracks can occur quickly when working on tough terrain, you scrape against walls and curbs or your machine is being operated in a certain way. It is also important to park your machine away from direct sunlight whenever possible to prevent further wear from the heat.
3. Your tracks keep losing tension
Like any steel and rubber products –a track stretches a little over time. Much the same way as a shoe breaks in. You should be checking the tension of your rubber tracks daily, or at least every few days.
You will notice the lack of tension on your tracks by lifting the track frame off the ground and checking the sag between the bottom track roller and the top of the track lug.
If the tension keeps slacking, allowing the track to jump off the under carriage, then do not over compensate by tightening it past the manufacturers recommendations. This just creates a whole different problem.
Loss of tension will occur over time and we can blame that on the sun’s heat, the idler extending too far and the track tensioner (little grease or hydraulic ram that pushes the idler out to create tension) which can have a tiny leak that causes it to lose tension.
4. Lugs are missing
Keep an eye out for these 4 tell-tale signs that your rubber tracks need replacing and you’ll ensure you’re never left stranded with your machine out of action.