Compact track loaders (CTLs) are rugged, relatively small machines, with a great weight-to-horsepower ratio. Because this versatile heavy equipment and its numerous potential attachments handle many of the same applications as both dozers and skid steer loaders, CTLs get serious workouts in all sorts of environments, from construction to agricultural to utility sites and more. And that’s why preventive maintenance for compact track loaders is so important.
Preventive maintenance helps keep the CTLs in your fleet running at peak power, efficiency, and safety. But not only is it important to productivity, crew safety, and risk management—it’s also an effective cost-saving measure. Keeping your heavy equipment well cared for and catching developing problems early helps you avoid machine downtime, more expensive repairs, component replacements, and premature machine replacements.
The most significant factors in how CTLs hold up are operator use and the ground conditions they work on. These basics of preventive maintenance for compact track loaders will help maximize their life and minimize their lifetime costs.
Tackling Preventive Maintenance for Compact Track Loaders
- To prevent unnecessary wear, make sure all operators are trained on best practices, including proper turning, avoiding counter-rotating, controlling slippage, moving up and down slopes rather than across them, the differences between CTLs and skid steers (lot of operators treat these two similar machines the same, but there are important differences—like the CTL’s tracks don’t need to spin to fill the bucket like a skid steer’s tires), and so on
- Review the manufacturer’s manual for detailed instructions about proper operation, care, cleaning, and the recommended maintenance schedule
- Crew members should always perform thorough pre- and post-operation inspections of CTLs and be sure to remove machines with damage or other concerns from use
- Pay close attention to attachments and their components, including things like bucket teeth, hydraulic hoses, shanks, etc., during inspections
- Don’t neglect undercarriage maintenance on your compact track loaders; it’s the most expensive component of any tracked heavy equipment
- Maintain proper track tension, inspect the tracks regularly, and keep up with general rubber track maintenance; if track tension is too tight, you lose power and may have bearing failures, and if track tension is too loose, it can cause lug damage and derailment
- Regularly grease compact track loaders at appropriate points; check the OEM manual for these points and the recommended greasing intervals
- Clear debris from around the radiator and other engine components frequently
- Always adhere to fluid management best practices