Track Tension Tips

Track tension is a key part of ensuring top performance from your excavators, dozers, compact track loaders, and other tracked equipment. Loose tracks can detrack, while overtightening can cause power loss, excessive roller and idler wear, and could tear the tracks. You should always check your owner's manual for proper track inspection and tensioning procedures.

How to adjust track tension

Although it could vary from machine to machine, track tension is typically controlled by a track adjuster located behind the front idler. Tension adjustments are made by pumping or draining grease through the track adjuster valve. Refer to your operator's manual for specific information on how to adjust the track tension of your machine.

Inspect adjuster valve periodically

Visually inspect your adjuster valve before beginning work each shift to ensure it is working correctly. If the valve shows signs of leakage, bring your machine in for repair as soon as possible. Leakage can lead to a loss of track tension and increased wear.

Adjust track tension on-site

Always adjust track tension on the jobsite rather than in the shop. Tension may increase if the sprocket and chain are packed with mud or other materials. A track that is properly tensioned in the shop may become too tight when packed with mud on the worksite. To match track tension with the specific packing conditions of the jobsite, run your machine for a short while on the jobsite, then make the necessary changes.

Make frequent changes

Variations in weather can alter the packing conditions of the jobsite throughout the day. Making track tension adjustments to match these changes can help reduce track wear and costs. If your tracks are frozen, wait for the weather to improve before attempting to adjust them. If you try to use power to force the tracks to move you might damage or destroy them.

Avoid wear with proper operation

It's best to avoid abrupt turns because they place unnecessary stress on the track and undercarriage. Continuous turning to the same side can cause asymmetrical wear. Higher speeds cause more wear on the undercarriage, so use the slowest possible operating speed for the job. Also, do not operate in reverse unless necessary. Reverse operation wears tracks up to three times as quickly as forward operation.

Inspect your undercarriage

Your undercarriage should be inspected annually by a trained technician to catch problems early before they lead to unnecessary and costly damage.

Contact ESSCO for more information on maintaining track tension

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