How to extend undercarriage lifespan and reduce maintenance costs

6/25/2015 8:45:46 AM by

There are several oversights in construction equipment maintenance and operation that will almost always result in excessive wear and tear on undercarriage parts. Because this segment of the machine can be responsible for about 50 percent of maintenance costs, proper upkeep of crawler vehicles will lead to longer utility and a significant price cut.

Track tension

Allow the track to warm up by operating the machine for at least 30 minutes before you check/set the track tension. Anytime that conditions change (i.e. rain) you should readjust the tension — always do this within the work area. If it's too loose, it could cause excessive wear to sprockets. If it's too tight, it will stress the undercarriage and train parts while wasting horsepower.

Shoe size

Make sure the machine is equipped to handle the site-specific environmental conditions. Use the narrowest shoe whenever possible as long as it provides sufficient function. Too narrow will cause the machine to sink, too wide will bend and crack easier.


If the balance is offset, it could mislead an operator to think that wider shoes are needed. This will end in faster wear, shorter life and an inability to fine doze – not to mention an uncomfortable ride. Always balance the machine on a level surface and set the balance after the attachment is on.


If you aren't working on level surfaces, you should try to work downhill to allow the tracks to last longer. Alternate sides or rotate the tracks from side to side when working on a hill.

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Keeping the undercarriage free of debris will improve lifespan.