Tracks vs. Tires When Working with Mud Pits

September 16, 2020 8:18 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When renting or purchasing construction machinery, one of the choices you’ll need to make is whether you will use equipment with tracks or wheels. While a lot of this decision can come down to your own personal preference, there are also some differences between the two to consider which may have an impact on your choice, particularly when you’ll be working in muddy or otherwise challenging conditions.

Here’s an overview of what you should know about choosing the right setup for muddy projects in Texas.

The differences between tracks and tires

The track-versus-tire conundrum occurs in construction equipment of all sizes. For example, skid steers and compact track loaders feature tires and tracks, respectively, and in larger machines, there are different types of loaders and excavators that will feature tires or tracks.

The main differences are the amount of traction each provides to the machinery, and the protection they offer for the particular type of ground they’re working on. Tracks tend to be most advantageous on uneven ground or muddy surfaces.

With regard to traction, the reason tracks have the edge over tires is because they provide a more even weight distribution. Tires have smaller areas that make contact with the ground, resulting in most of the weight being distributed over those spots. However, the longer, larger nature of tracks and the fact that they stretch out over most of the length of the machinery means they provide a much more even weight distribution, due to their greater contact area.

This isn’t necessarily an issue for ground conditions that are flat or hard—weight distribution isn’t a major concern in these cases. However, ground that is unstable, muddy or slippery requires more traction, which is when tracks are a good feature to have on your equipment.

With regard to surface protection, tracks are generally better than tires for protecting the ground surface you’re working on. Some types of ground conditions are more delicate than others, and require more protection. If you’re doing forest clearing or heavy excavating for new construction, you’re more likely to use tracks, as you’ll want to protect the surrounding area as much as possible to minimize the amount of landscaping cleanup you’ll need to do. But if you’re working in an urban area that already has paved or improved surfaces, you’ll be just fine with using equipment with rubber tires.

This protection doesn’t just exist for the surface, though—it also extends to the tires or tracks themselves. Tires might be easily punctured or worn if you operate them on rough, abrasive surfaces such as demolition debris or crushed rock or wood, but tracks will hold up well in those conditions. At the same time, tracks will potentially suffer from premature wear when being operated on solid ground that does not have the level of slippage you’d expect in other sites.

These are just a few of the factors you’ll want to consider when determining whether you’ll purchase construction equipment that uses tires or tracks. For more information about the benefits of tracks versus tires and reasons to use tracks when you’re working on a muddy Texas job site, contact the team at V-Bar Equipment Company today.

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