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The skid steer vs the mini excavator

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From small jobs like land clearing, pool digging, and essential excavation work to more substantial tasks, skid steers and mini excavators are crucial pieces of heavy equipment. But which one is better for your needs?

The growth of smaller construction sites

A significant reason why compact machinery is rising in popularity is that construction sites are getting smaller.

Skid steering loaders and lightweight excavators have superior maneuverability and a reduced footprint than a backhoe loader when operating in restricted job sites. Such smaller machines have, in turn, replaced a lot of larger equipment once used for the same job.

Skid steer loaders can be fitted with hundreds of accessories, and compact excavators can work in places that are more difficult to reach with a backhoe. And while it will take two machines for the contractor to do the job of one, many of those added costs are made up by fuel savings, as these systems are more fuel-efficient than larger backhoe loaders.

Let’s look at each machine in more detail.

The skid steer

A skid steer, which is also known as a skid loader, is a lightweight tool used to dig. It’s also able to push, pull, and lift materials.

There are a few features that distinguish the skid steer from similar machines. One of its key benefits is its ability to turn zero-radius. The wheels on the right and left sides will work independently of each other, allowing it to turn 360 degrees without having to travel in the process either forward or backward. This makes the machine especially well-suited for service in close quarters with relatively little room.

The skid steering loader is sometimes referred to as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of the construction equipment world. As far as flexibility is concerned, the skid steer can be relied upon simply because of the number of attachments available for it to do a greater variety of jobs.

There are well over 1000 different styles of skid steering attachments, each suited to working on a different kind of job. There’s not much that a skid steer can’t do, rock picking to moving pallets, loading trucks to blowing snow. Simply switch off the attachment, and you could have a small backhoe, a snowplow, or a pallet mover.

Great for landscaping and tighter earthmoving space activities, and as well as close-to-ground operations such as stump mulching and auger drilling, skid steers provide lower ground pressure and less noise than most other construction machines, and faster travel speeds to optimize performance.

However, they may not work well on rocky or dusty, sandy or snowy terrain, because a skid steer uses wheels rather than tracks.

Mini-excavator

A mini-excavator is a tracked or wheeled vehicle with a slew of applications. It can weigh up to 20,000 pounds, which is the cut-off point for a mini-excavator. However, some definitions do have a cut-off point at 10,000 lbs for mini excavators.

An excavator’s main feature is its boom, or which works at the end using a bucket or attachment. The boom leads to the cab, which swivels itself on its parallel tracks to provide 360-degree operation without maneuvering the entire machine.

This swivel action combined with extended reach makes it extremely useful for applications such as digging, trenching, dumping, and mulching (such as tree branches).

Excavators exchange maneuverability for far greater on-the-job capacity. You wouldn’t need such a tool to move a pallet, but it is invaluable for big jobs in construction, demolition, and landscaping.

Here are a few of the tasks that we think are best done by mini excavators:

  • Trenching
  • Large-scale backfilling
  • Drilling auger holes
  • Rock-breaking
  • Installing concrete soaks
  • Installing concrete grease arrestors
  • Demolition
  • Digging pools
  • Rock-breaking
  • Ripping
  • Tree removal

Which one is better?

Some of the customers who contact us aren’t sure whether a skid steer or a full-on excavator would suit them better. The response is undoubtedly based on what job you have in front of you.

The most significant difference between a skid steer and a regular excavator is that faces away from the driver with a skid steer, the boom, and bucket.

Generally speaking, skid steers are mostly used for residential and small-scale projects. The maneuverability of the skid steer makes it particularly ideal for jobs where the material is to be stacked up or spread out, or requiring tricky turns.

But the mini excavator would be more useful on a worksite where excavation is a bigger priority. Although maintenance costs are usually slightly higher than those of a skid steer, if you need to dig down into the ground or move loads with extended reach, a mini excavator is the best option.

Once you have decided on one or the other, keep us in mind. We carry a wide range of repair parts for both skid steers and mini excavators. All repair parts sold on our platform are provided with a minimum warranty of 6 months or 1200 hours.Check out our online marketplace today

Steel tracks vs rubber tracks: which is better?

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It is possible to equip machinery such as mini excavators with either rubber tracks or steel tracks, or even a hybrid of the two.

Many people are asking if their heavy machine should be using steel tracks or rubber tracks. The truth is, there are pros and cons of both types of tracks. Your construction site, the type of job, and your machine type will determine what kind of track you need. The following factors will help if you have difficulty determining which tracks to use.

The advantages of steel tracks

It’s easy to see why steel is used for tracks. The material is very strong, able to withstand disintegrating and can endure high heat and pressure levels.   Recycling is also easier, resulting in the conversion of millions of tons of iron ore from waste into recycling.

Here are the reasons why steel tracks might be for you:

  • Sharp concrete or asphalt is more suitable for steel tracks. Steel is also ideal for use in jagged rock conditions.
  • Steel tracks are also known for having a longer life. Most experts believe that they don’t wear as easily as rubber and therefore enjoy nearly double the life.

Types of Rubber Tracks

There are several options for rubber tracks based on your equipment, working conditions, and budget. Here are four of the most common.

A Staggered Block Tread: This is a multipurpose tread that performs well on gravel, paved road and other surfaces. This style of treading is robust while spending long hours on a hard surface in situations where the operator will be regularly turning in different directions.

A C-Lug Thread: Due to the notches etched out of each block, this type is characterized by its sideways “C” shape. This tread provides versatility across multiple types of surfaces, is highly resilient and offers superlative handling, increased traction, and improved performance over earlier designs.

Straight Bar Tread: These tracks are regarded for their traction in mud, rain, gravel or snow. If these kinds of tracks are on your heavy machine, you are far less likely to get trapped in mud or other wet environments.

A Multi-Bar Tread. They provide the user with the ability to travel back and forth between various surfaces. The tread offers a smooth ride and increased traction.

The advantages of rubber tracks

There are many advantages to using rubber tracks.

  • As they move around freely on concrete finishes, they are a good solution for pavements.
  • Rubber tracks even if repaired annually, are much more economical than steel.
  • Furthermore, rubber tracks offer a much smoother and quieter ride than steel tracks. Since they provide more noise absorption than steel, rubber tracks are a better choice if your job site is in a busy neighborhood or other place where noise pollution is a concern.
  • Rubber tracks can reduce vibration, meaning they can e driven faster than machines on steel tracks.
  • They are more adaptable on terrain than steel, which increases driver comfort levels.
  • Steel tracks on the other hand, damage hard terrain like asphalt.

To sum up

Rubber tracks are more economical and can be used in more versatile environments. They are perfect for dirt or grass surfaces or in many situations they should provide a high degree of traction. For irregular surfaces or waterlogged worksites, you will need rubber tracks with a deeper tread. You also need to remember that rubber tracks will display more wear and will need to be replaced more often than steel tracks.

Think about installing steel tracks if you work regularly in irregular terrain. The steel tracks ‘ additional weight will improve grip and stability in these conditions.

If you have decided that rubber tracks may be right for your job, why not browse our online marketplace? From standard patterns in C-Lug and Block to the newly developed Zig-Zag style tracks, we have a wide range of rubber tracks options to suit your needs.

All our rubber tracks have a market-leading 2-year guarantee that we stand behind. You can be confident that you are getting the best rubber tracks for the money you’re paying.

OEM and Aftermarket Parts: What’s the difference?

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If your heavy machine has been significantly damaged during a work accident or you have been operating it for a while and it’s experiencing wear and tear, chances are you will need to buy some replacement parts. You might think that doing so is simple, but the type of parts that your machine will be repaired with can vary.

There are two general ways you can replace the part: through OEM parts or through aftermarket parts. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts are made by the machine’s manufacturer, whereas aftermarket parts are often produced by a different company than the machine manufacturer. Which parts are right for your fleet of heavy equipment? Read on to find out more.

The pros of OEM parts

OEM parts have some definite advantages:

Smaller Selection: The right auto component can be easily located. the only information needed is the year, make and model.

More consistent quality: The part of the OEM should work exactly like the one you replace. It is what the machine was made with, and because it is the exact same part, it provides a peace of mind.

Guaranteed warranty: OEM components always carry the warranty of the manufacturer. This makes it easy for you to claim on it in the same way you would claim on the entire heavy machine. 

The cons of OEM parts

However, there are some things to look out for when considering OEM parts:

More expensive: OEM parts typically cost more than a part of the aftermarket. OEM parts generally cost about 60 percent more, according to the American Association of Property Casualty Insurers (PCI).

Harder to find: Typically, OEM parts are either purchased from the dealer or purchased online. You can ask an independent heavy repair shop to use OEM parts, but they usually have to order them, which can increase the repair time significantly.

Why we prefer aftermarket parts

We sell aftermarket parts here at Tracks N’ Teeth, and naturally we much prefer them to OEM parts. Here’s why:

Aftermarket parts can be better quality. Aftermarket can sometimes mean parts better than what you get on the original machine. From sprockets to track chains, there are “problem solver” pieces that actually address problems that were only identified after the heavy machine went on the market. Such problem-solver components are often better designed than the OEM components, and are easier to install and more robust.

It may seem difficult to believe that anyone else could create a better component than the original manufacturer which constructed the whole machine originally. Nonetheless, engineering advances and heavy equipment part suppliers on the aftermarket keep pace with improvements and always want to improve their product. 

On the other hand, since the machine is already on the market out of production, the original manufacturer doesn’t want to improve the product. It’s not worth the R&D budget to improve the old part, but it makes financial sense for the aftermarket to continually surpass the OEM market in terms of quality. You do not have to continue buying the same old OEM product with parts that will break again.

Aftermarket parts are less expensive. Aftermarket parts are usually cheaper than OEM parts; how much you save differs from brand to brand. Do your research to get an idea of the usual cost of that part.

Aftermarket parts have more variety. Hundreds of companies produce aftermarket parts. The increased range means more choice and a wider price range. Here at Tracks n Teeth, we have partnerships for all sorts of aftermarket building parts with a large base of producers and distributors. This ensures we only have the best choice of parts out there.

Aftermarket parts are easier to find. OEM parts will take a lot longer to arrive if you order a part from a dealer. Very often, the manufacturer would have to order the part from a central warehouse. On the flipside, aftermarket companies like ours have millions of parts in one place.

What to watch out for when buying aftermarket parts

If you’re not familiar with aftermarket products, you might be overwhelmed with the range of parts on offer. Even an item as basic as a roller bolt can be manufactured by dozens of different companies and comes in many variations. That’s where a reliable parts dealer is important. We can narrow down the options and help you find the right high-quality aftermarket part at the right price.

Not all places that sell aftermarket parts offer a warranty, but at Tracks N’ Teeth, we do. All the parts that we sell are supported by industry-standard warranties. Warranties vary from 6 to 48 months and from 500 to 4000 hours of use depending on the type of component, the requirement and the supplier.

We are the leading source of aftermarket construction equipment parts online and our advisors are on hand to help you find the ideal replacement part for your heavy machine. Visit our online showroom today!

A Guide for Buying Used Heavy Equipment

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There is a common but false belief that the latest equipment is always better because it requires less upkeep than used equipment. In fact, this perception has often resulted to building firms paying far more than they required for machinery that could have been purchased in great condition for far less. With increasing operating costs and the cost of equipment continuing to rise, the purchase of used construction equipment might be a smart decision.

Some company owners fear that the danger of used equipment may outweigh the benefits. But with some effort on the part of the buyer, the most common buying dangers can be prevented. Here are some tips for buying heavy equipment.

Inspect the equipment

Most used equipment is sold as-is. If possible, test and inspect used equipment before you buy. If you don’t have considerable heavy equipment knowledge, have a qualified mechanic or experienced operator carry out both a physical and functional inspection on your behalf.

If you’re buying online, look for websites that provide detailed equipment information and photos. Scrutinize pictures carefully and don’t be afraid to email any questions you have to the seller or to ask for photos of the equipment from different viewpoints; for example, a photo of the undercarriage, engine compartments or hours meter.

It is always best to inspect in person. This way, you can ensure that it’s thoroughly intact and operable both inside and out. When you do a physical inspection, here’s what to look out for

Cab— If all the controls, pedals, sticks, dashboard elements, seat adjustments and steering functions are functioning properly, it’s a sign you have found a good deal. A clean interior with an intact seating upholstery is also important. as this shows the cab has been well-maintained. Take note of any small things that might make the machine uncomfortable during eight hours of work when testing the car, like seat vibrations or reflections.

Chassis— Test the metal frame for traces of welding around the arms, locks, sprocket and tracks; look for any motor, sleeve, pump, ram or hydraulic part leakage. Although it is natural for a used vehicle to demonstrate modest signs of wear, untreated damage that could affect your safety or comfort could signal that the machine hasn’t been maintained very well.

Engine and transmission— The engine and transmission should be checked closely, preferably by a skilled operator with solid knowledge of in engine components. Pay attention to strange sounds, check for emissions, and ensure that there are no warning signals when revving the engine. Test the equipment and reverse to see how well the machine runs; any roller noise might indicate worn-out parts. Check the engine to see if the hot, moving parts are correctly protected and working well. Check for wear and leaks in the pump and swing bearing.

Tires and tracks— Check for cracks or bubbles which both indicate that the vehicle has been stored outdoors. Check the tires for uneven irregular wear with a tread gauge. This is one of the main signs of drivetrain problems. Make sure that every track and bolt is in position when inspecting a tracked machine. Tire and track replacements are often expensive, so check the overall cost for replacements for the model you are inspecting.

The U.S. government’s GSA department has a comprehensive checklist that different government organizations use to purchase heavy equipment. Print their checklist and follow the above advice and you’ll be fully ready for when the inspection time comes.

Check the paperwork

Operating Logs – The most comprehensive listings will have either the amount of miles or the amount of hours worked by the operator. While this is not compulsory, be cautious of professional businesses that do not maintain precise operating logs. If feasible, check the interior situation and compare it to the amount of miles or hours logged in. Look at the pedals, the levers, and the seats for indications of wear that matches the logged operational models.

Maintenance Logs – The most reliable vendors will be able to provide time-stamped documents showing consistent changes in fluids, small repairs and any significant issues.

You can use these details to confirm that heavy machinery has been used as stated. Any sudden gaps could show negligence and you should ask questions about why the gap exists.

Check the Reputation of the Seller

  1. Make sure they are reputable

Take some time to read internet reviews, accounts and reports to get an idea of the seller. You can check the following sources:

  • Public company records – Choose established businesses with an extensive client base and a good reputation. Publicly traded businesses must publish their financial statements, so it’s easy to see if the business is stable and likely to be in business for the long term
  • Online reviews – Google and Facebook are good places to find unbiased customer reviews. Once published, Google and Facebook reviews can’t be removed or edited by the page owner.
  • Customer testimonials – Testimonials show that other equipment buyers are more than willing to endorse the seller.
  1. Check their background

Make sure the vendor is the legal owner or has the legal power to sell on behalf of the proprietor before buying used machinery or trucks.

If you purchase from a business, ask if the equipment is entirely owned by the seller. If you buy from a private seller, ask them to provide their initial sales invoice and make sure that the sales invoice name matches the name of the seller.

The equipment’s serial number or the truck’s VIN can also be used to track ownership. Ask your local police or private department to run the serial number or VIN to see whether it has been reported stolen. For a fee, you can also request the services of an agency that monitors stolen machinery.

  1. Make sure the equipment has a clear title

You might be forced to forfeit possession to a lending institution if you mistakenly buy devices with a non-clear title or a lien (i.e. that the seller has not yet paid the entire borrowed funds from a financial institution or bank to acquire the item).

Research is key

Unlike purchasing from manufacturers, extra research on individual retailers or distributors is crucial. Explore a range of retailers and request quotations to determine the fair value for a specific piece of machinery. Go directly to distributors and do not depend solely on images online. When you have narrowed down the options, inspect the equipment closely.

These guidelines will not only help you balance the books, but will also help you acquire quality construction equipment that lasts for many years to come.

Once you have found a good deal, it’s always good to have a good parts distributor on call in case you need anything extra. That’s why we’re here. If you’re looking for anything in particular, browse our online marketplace for aftermarket parts!

Buying heavy equipment parts with us

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Replacing heavy equipment parts should be a standard part of your repair schedule, not just when things break down. Doing this before they malfunction will keep your heavy machine in good condition and improve its reliability.

Poorly maintained construction equipment can lose value in the long run. You should aim to replace parts and conduct regular maintenance to keep the value of your heavy machine up, should you need to sell it in the future.

The replacement of worn-out pieces will:

  • Make sure you machine is always running.
  • Lower long-term operating costs
  • Lead to improved performance.

If one element of your heavy equipment machine fails, other components have the possibility to be affected as well. Lowering the likelihood of part failure will reduce the safety risks to operators, goods and the machine itself.

We sell a wide range of replacement heavy equipment parts on our online store.

OEM vs Aftermarket parts


We only sell aftermarket parts. Some people might be confused about the differences between OEM and Aftermarket parts. Here’s a quick explanation:

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) components are directly made by the manufacturers themselves. They are identical to the parts built with your heavy machine. Any component made by someone other than the manufacturer is an aftermarket product. 

What is the better for your heavy machine, OEM parts or aftermarket parts? Here are what we think are the benefits and drawbacks of each option.

Let’s look at OEM heavy equipment parts first:

Benefits

Simple choice – In comparison to aftermarket parts, there is usually only one type of OEM part. You don’t have to compare multiple versions of the same part, which makes it easier to make a decision. 

Consistent quality – Such parts are designed to operate precisely like the original part. You can be 100% sure that the OEM part works the same as the one it replaces. You will also get a comprehensive warranty. 

Drawbacks

Significantly more expensive – Some parts can cost significantly more compared to aftermarket parts, sixty per cent more in some cases.

Not as easily found – OEM parts are less widely available than aftermarket parts.

Now let’s consider Aftermarket heavy equipment parts:

Benefits

Less expensive – Aftermarket products are generally lower in price than OEM components, so cost savings can be substantial.

More readily available – Aftermarket parts are easily available at many independent stores and online retailers. This means you will get the part you need more quickly.

Potentially better quality – As these parts were made after the originals, many sidestep the problems found in the OEM versions and improve upon their performance.

A better range of options – You will decide what is important for your machine. For example, you could get an aftermarket brake disc from us which slows your heavy machine down better than the OEM part, at the expense of a little extra noise. You can decide whether it’s worth the extra noise. 

Drawbacks

A vast choice – The choice of replacement parts on offer can be overwhelming, so make sure you know what you are looking for.

No warranty for some – Some retailers don’t offer a warranty with their aftermarket parts, but we do!

We include a warranty with our all aftermarket parts

Unlike aftermarket parts bought normally, industry-standard guarantees protect the parts we sell. Guarantees vary between 6 and 48 months and between 500 and 4000 hours of use, depending on the type, usage and manufacturer of the part.

We work with only the best suppliers who back up their parts with a warranty. If something goes wrong, you can be sure that we will support you, and that service is as standard.

We get your part to where it needs to be. Fast.


With over 180,000 parts in 80 warehouses nationwide, you’re never far away from getting that one part that you need to get back to work. Our delivery time might only be 1-2 days from your place of business, home or work. We provide ground, expedited or overnight shipping options that will get your parts to where you need them. 

The part you need is only a few clicks away

We’ve made shopping for aftermarket parts quick and easy. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Go to our website.

Step 2: Browse the ‘Parts categories’ dropdown on the top left of the page, and look for your part category. If you know exactly what you are looking for, find it instantly using the search bar.

Step 3: Find what you are looking for, and add it to your cart by clicking on the cart logo next to the product.

Step 4: Go to the checkout by clicking on the shopping cart logo on the top right corner, and input your payment and address details.

Step 5: Receive your part in as little as 1-2 days!

Broken parts lead to downtime, which will likely cost you money. If you have parts that are readily available to replace your most commonly damaged ones, you can get back to work immediately. Even though our shipping times are short, being ready ahead of time will allow you to continue working without disruptions.

If you’re ready to find the part you need, why not browse our online store? If you have any further questions, don’t be afraid to send us a message.

 

Top safety tips for operating heavy equipment

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Carelessness when operating heavy equipment can be hazardous, not just for you but for people around you. Safety is paramount when handling any form of heavy equipment. Here are some tips to keep you safe whenever you’re in the cab.

Make sure you are properly trained

The first step is education. Everybody who operates heavy equipment should be licensed and trained to use it. This also includes merely driving a piece of equipment to a new area–even if nothing more complicated is needed, you should never allow an unqualified operator to get into the cab of a heavy machine.

Make sure that all of your staff who operate heavy equipment have a thorough knowledge of how the machine operates, what to do in emergency situations, and the correct safety measures they need to take while running the machinery.

It’s also worth reviewing safety procedures. Consider biweekly or monthly safety training for operators to help them top up their knowledge and safety skills.

Conduct a visual inspection

A comprehensive visual inspection before it is used is one of the best ways to avoid accidents on site when working with heavy machinery. Walk around the machine a lap before entering the cab and check for any damage.

Other significant factors such as tire pressure, if appropriate, can also be checked. Once all is in order outside, you should also check inside the cab itself. Performing checks on a daily basis while running heavy equipment will help you prevent disasters caused by defective machinery.

Watch out for overhead or ground hazards

In addition to checking the heavy equipment that you operate on a specified day, it is also essential to observe the conditions of the work site itself. Note any barriers or dangers in the area that may have an effect your work. These may include overhead power lines or underground structures.

Preparations before firing up heavy equipment can also be greatly affected by the weather. Snow and ice, for instance, can render the operation of heavy equipment nigh-on impossible. In such instances, additional measures will probably be required.

In some circumstances, work might need to be delayed until conditions improve. Even the most skilled operators postpone job sometimes, because nothing is more crucial than the safety of your workplace and others.

Be extra careful when mounting the vehicle

Falling is the most prevalent cause of death at work in America. In 2018, most of the OSHA violations on constructions sites were from not following OSHA’s fall protection standards. In this respect, it is important to be careful when getting in and out of heavy equipment.

You should always maintain three contact points with the machine. Regularly check the condition of the steps and handholds. If needed, repair or replace them. These measures could be the difference in preventing potentially fatal falls and accidents.

Protect yourself

Correctly wearing the right protective gear when operating heavy equipment helps protect your body when you are on the job. These devices include hard hats, eyewear, gloves and steel toed job shoes. Some kind of ear coverage is also necessary to safeguard against hearing loss induced by extended exposure to loud machine noise.

Wearing a seat belt could save the life of the operator. In the case of a rollover (in which the building machine falls onto its side because of uneven ground), wearing a seat belt could be the difference between life and death.

Clear the area

Workers in areas where heavy equipment is operating should be clear of the area wherever possible. In order to prevent hitting other workers, bystanders or other vehicles or machinery in the area, operators should also be conscious of their swing radius, particularly when they are operating in tight spaces.

Observe the load limits of your machine

Be conscious of the load limits of each machine when operating different heavy equipment throughout the day. Depending on the machinery set-up and size, load boundaries may differ dramatically. When lifting objects with a machine, guarantee that loads are secured with appropriate rigging attachments, and always check to guarantee that they are in excellent working condition.

Watch out when backing up

Moving heavy equipment forward may present some hazards, but going in reverse only raises the risk. The operator must make sure that there are no obstructions or people behind them. To do this, they might need to leave the car and physically check that the perimeter is secure. In addition, monitoring the mirrors while moving backwards is also crucial.

The most important thing is to communicate

Probably the best safety for construction-related accidents is a well designed communication system. Whether it is through two-way radios, walkie-talkies or some other system, efficient communication is essential to preventing accidents at work. Letting others know about the current status of the construction site enables all operators to remain informed and ensure nobody is hurt.

Tracks and Teeth

If you’re a heavy equipment operator, you know that maintenance is key to making sure it’s in safe working condition at all times. This means replacing any parts which are way past their prime. If you’re looking for great aftermarket parts, check out our online marketplace store.

Please Click Here to Visit Our Online Store For All Your Replacement Part Needs

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