/ The Secret to Extending Rubber Track Life Will Also Increase Your Machine’s Performance.

The Secret to Extending Rubber Track Life Will Also Increase Your Machine’s Performance.

Matching rubber tracks to best-fit machine application will increase longevity and productivity

The rubber-tracked skid steer’s ease of transportation and versatility make them indispensable on most jobsites. Another reason for the skid steer’s popularity is its lower cost compared to larger equipment. However, using the wrong tread patterns for projects can increase wear and tear on the tracks, lower productivity, and cause unanticipated surface repair expenses – reducing those cost savings. The best way to ensure the best return on investment of your rubber tracks is to match them to your application. This will allow your tracks to work on the jobs they were designed for, and in turn, increase the performance of your machine.


Standard surfaces – Staggered block tread

The staggered block tread is one of the most versatile treads available performing well in dirt, asphalt, and gravel. For this reason, it is typically the standard tread most manufacturers outfit their new rubber-tracked machines with. Staggered block provides a comfortable ride but may not provide maximum traction in all settings or be durable enough for some applications.


Abrasive surfaces – Zig zag tread

The truth is rubber tracks are a bad match for hard and abrasive surfaces like roads and aggregate pits. And wear and tear increase with high temperatures and frequent turns. Made with harder rubber and thicker treads, zig zag is designed to take on gravel and hot asphalt. Its tread is designed to for duration and traction, not ride. While this will last the longest, it does not perform well on delicate surfaces or provide a smooth ride.


Loose surfaces – C-lug tread

While the longevity of the staggered block is great, it’s not quite as versatile on all surfaces. What users gain from durability, they sacrifice in traction. Especially when working in loose gravel, clay, and sand. C-lug tread gets its name from a design element caused by a notch in the tread block, creating what looks like a sideways “C” shape. The notch is more than aesthetic as it provides increased traction and improves handling when working on looser surfaces.


Varying surfaces – Multi-bar tread

Every project has its challenges. If one of those challenges is a mix of hard and loose surfaces, the aptly named multi-bar tread is a great option. The design to provides maximum traction on paved surfaces while also providing stability on loose ground and even snow.


Turf – Straight bar tread

Working on wet or grassy areas poses a significant challenge to skid steer operators. Due to the delicate nature of the turf, property damage is always a possibility. Using a straight bar tread can mitigate the chance of damage occuring. With surface contact increased, the tread not only limits damage to grass, but also increases traction on wet surfaces, preventing the machine from getting stuck in the mud. These features do come with one trade-off as the straight bar tread produces an uncomfortable ride on hard surfaces.


What can you gain from using the right tread?

For most general construction users, picking the most versatile tread will produce a relatively productive life cycle. However, if your skid steer routinely works on a few specific surfaces, choosing the right tread can be a significant decision. In addition to getting more tread life, proper traction allows the machine to work efficiently, reducing the amount of stress applied to a machine and operator. It can also cut down project length and eliminate the chances of causing major cost overruns from fixing ruined surfaces.


For more information on how to pick the proper tread for your applications, contact Road Machinery & Supplies Co. at 952-521-3135 to talk with a PSSR.