Important Heavy Equipment Undercarriage Maintenance Tips

The condition of a machine’s undercarriage has a big impact on its performance and longevity. A well-maintained undercarriage helps to enhance power, stability, and safety while lowering the heavy equipment’s running costs over its lifetime.

A rigorous, proactive approach to preventative maintenance and implementing operating best practices are two elements to benefiting from healthy undercarriages. Protect your fleet of machines and your bottom line by following the undercarriage maintenance guidelines shown below.

The Fundamentals of Undercarriage Preventative Maintenance

  • Inspect the undercarriage on a daily basis. Every day, operators must inspect the undercarriage of their machines. Damage and uneven or excessive wear (particularly on the drive sprockets and trackpads), dirt or debris buildup, and missing parts or components are all things to look for. Examine the clearance between the track chain and the idler roller as well. Damage and wear can indicate — or quickly lead to — greater, more sophisticated, and costly equipment problems.
  • Check track tension on a daily basis, especially while the machine is in operation. When tracks are tighter than they should be, components wear out faster and power and fuel economy suffer. Too loose tracks cause component wear, contribute to instability, and can even cause track derailing. For each piece of heavy equipment, adjust the sag to the manufacturer’s specified measurement. Remember that sand, mud, and snow can build up on the undercarriage, increasing stress. Check the tension more regularly if you’re working in these conditions, or if your working conditions change throughout the day.
  • At the conclusion of each day, clean the undercarriage. Caked-on dirt, debris, snow, and other materials can increase track strain, alter component operation, and wreak havoc on an undercarriage’s condition in a variety of ways. And if these issues aren’t handled, they can swiftly escalate. Cleaning the track on a daily basis is an important aspect of preventive maintenance, and it’s much more important in below-freezing temperatures when contaminants might freeze inside the track.
  • Ensure that the tracks are properly aligned. Track misalignment is one of the most damaging factors to undercarriage components. Keep a watchful eye on track alignment to avoid undue wear and damage to the equipment’s track links, track and carrier roller flanges, idler flanges, sprockets, and rock guards.
  • Follow all OEM-recommended maintenance and care instructions. This is critical for keeping undercarriages in top condition and recognizing and resolving any issues before they become more serious. Particular care should be taken with large equipment that operates in very difficult conditions or when material frequently accumulates on the undercarriage.
Some Operational Best Practices for Undercarriage Protection
Ascertain that all operators are thoroughly trained on the equipment they use, that they are familiar with and perform routine maintenance on it, and that they have access to manuals.
Always utilize the appropriate track type and size for the ground conditions, as well as shoes with appropriate widths for the required flotation.
Reduce the use of high-speed and reverse machines, as this speed up wears on bushings, sprockets, and pins.
To reduce undercarriage wear, operators should make as many wide, progressive bends as feasible.
Over the course of the day, operators should try to make equal turns in both directions, as more rotations in one direction lead to faster, asymmetrical wear.
Reduce the bucket or blade load as needed to keep the track spinning smoothly, as this causes wear and reduce production.
Reduce the amount of time spent operating on slanted terrain, which increases the wear on rollers, idlers, and guide lugs.
Traveling with tracks on the uneven or obstructed ground is not recommended.
Excavator operators should avoid digging over the machine’s sidewalls or the sprocket by digging over the front idler.
Use equipment with a telematics system that measures machine usage, checks performance, reminds you of planned maintenance and notifies you instantly if there are any issues.
MAITLAND, CANADA – SEPTEMBER 07, 2014: Komatsu is a Japanese multinational corporation manufacturing heavy, industrial, and military equipment. Komatsu is headquartered in Japan.