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Skidsteer TracksWhen it comes to site work, the rental or purchase of a quality skid-steer can be an extremely smart investment. If chosen strategically, a skid-steer loader will become much more than just an auxiliary piece of equipment. If you are committed to complete utilization of your investment, your skid-steer loader can provide a high return. They’re designed to tackle just about anything: loading dirt, lifting pavers, grading site areas, not to mention all possibilities skid-steer attachments provide. 

 

Today’s skid-steer loaders are more powerful and productive than ever before, and a growing number of attachments are making them even more versatile. So, how do you know which type of skid-steer loader is right for your operation? Once you know what type of work you’ll be performing on your job site, there are important considerations that should be factored into deciding whether to use a skid-steer with tires or tracks. Before making a decision, an evaluation of ground conditions, climate elements, and your total cost of ownership should all be taken into account.

 

 

Surface

The first step in assessing skid-steer loaders starts at ground level. If you know that you’re operating on paved surfaces such as streets, sidewalks, parking lots, driveways or a hard surfaced yard, it only makes sense to invest in a rubber tire skid-steer loader. Tires work well on these improved surfaces, and a skid-steer loader offers a lower initial investment.

 

On the other hand, rubber tracks are ideal when working on established lawns where ground surface sensitivity is particularly important, especially because turf replacement is costly and time-consuming. Unlike rubber tire skid-steer loaders, rubber track skid-steers have a tracked undercarriage that provides a lower ground pressure and improved flotation and traction. Tracks distribute the machine’s weight across a larger area, minimizing ground disturbance.

 

More ground-to-surface contact optimizes the machine’s power and performance on rough terrain and soft, sandy surfaces. It also enables operators to push loads in these conditions without getting stuck easily. Rubber track skid-steer loaders are also ideal for fine grading applications due to a more stable footprint for pushing and grading. We highly recommend tracks when performing irrigation installation or hardscaping upgrades due to their low 4 to 5 psi ground pressure. This means less concern about parting with profit to perform repair work after the job’s done.


Climate
In addition to soft, sandy conditions, landscapers often work in climates with wet and muddy conditions. For this reason, rubber track skid-steer loaders in many parts of North America have allowed some customers to extend their working seasons to generate days, and even weeks, of extra income. After it rains, contractors with rubber track skid-steer loaders are some of the first contractors back on a jobsite due to the low ground pressure and traction provided by rubber track skid-steer loaders. By getting back to work sooner you’re able to complete jobs faster, thus maximizing profitability.


Costs
It’s true that rubber tire skid-steer loaders typically have a lower initial purchase price compared to the same size rubber track skid-steer loader; this is mostly due to the fact that the tires and wheels on a skid-steer loader cost less than rubber tracks and their associated undercarriage parts.
For example, a set of skid-steer tires costs between $500 and $800 and their useful life ranges from 600 to 900 hours. Rubber tracks should cost between $2,600 and $3,900 per set and should last approximately 1,200 to 1,700 hours with the proper operation of the loader.

 

Summary
As a contractor, matching the right skid-steer loader to your operation starts from the ground up. Knowing the work you will perform, having a good understanding of the ground and weather conditions, and calculating your overall machine costs will make your decision easier. Armed with the right information, you can determine which technology will meet all your site needs. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up needing both. Hey, that’s the benefit of renting!


Stop by, see our selection, and ask us how our tire or track skid-steers can best meet your needs.

 

AJ Shaver
Dominic’s Equipment
Director of Operations & Development