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Best Practices

Equipment Track Tension Tips

ASC BestPractices Index V1

Equipment Track Tension Tips

Maintaining the proper track tension is a crucial part of daily machine maintenance. Heavy equipment tracks that are loose can detrack, leading to serious damage and a dangerous situation on the jobsite. Tracks that are too tight will lead to excessive roller and idler wear, power loss, and expensive track tears and damage.

To help you maintain the proper track tension, we put together a list of tips and best practices.

How to adjust track tension
Track tension is controlled by a track adjuster located behind the front idler. You can make adjustments by pumping or draining grease through the track adjuster valve. Even small adjustments in track sag have a big impact on tension. A change in sag from 1’’ to 0.5’’ increases tension by about 3,000 pounds. We recommend always checking your operator’s manual for specific information on how to adjust the track tension on your equipment.

Track tension tips

  • Always make adjustments on-site – It’s crucial that you adjust your heavy equipment tracks where you’ll actually be working. If you are operating in muddy conditions, for example, track tension may increase if the sprocket and chain become packed with mud or other debris. The result is that a properly tensioned machine in the shop will no longer be properly tensioned when operating on the jobsite.
  • Test packing conditions – Make track tension changes after running your machine on the jobsite for a little while, in order to match it with the specific packing conditions of the ground you’re working on. You should also adjust the tension if weather alters the packing conditions of your work area. Making changes in real time will help minimize track wear and tear.
  • Don’t work with frozen heavy equipment tracks – If you’re tracks are frozen, wait to operate the machine until the weather improves and they thaw. Using power to force the tracks may lead to serious damage or breakage.

Operation best practices
How you operate machines can have a big impact on heavy equipment tracks and maintaining proper tension. Here are some best practices your operators should follow:

  • Avoid high speeds and quick movements – Abrupt turns and high travel speeds place unnecessary stress on your tracks and undercarriage. Also, always turning to the same side can lead to uneven wear and tear. Use the slowest possible movements and operating speeds required to effectively complete the job.
  • Operate in reverse as little as possible – Only run the machine in reverse if absolutely necessary. Reverse operation can wear tracks up to three times faster than forward operation, especially if you’re traveling quickly.
  • Conduct regular inspections – Have your heavy equipment tracks and undercarriages checked annually by our trained technicians to catch problems early, before serious damage occurs.

If you have any questions about heavy equipment tracks, contact our team today!