How to Replace Rubber Track on a Mini Excavator in 5 Steps

Changing the rubber tracks on a mini excavator is an essential maintenance task that needs to be done periodically to […]


Changing the rubber tracks on a mini excavator is an essential maintenance task that needs to be done periodically to keep your machine running efficiently. With proper care and timely replacement of worn parts, mini excavators can last for many working hours.

This blog post will guide you through the step-by-step process of how to replace the rubber tracks on a mini excavator safely and efficiently in around 30 minutes.

Task Preparation

Before starting the replacement process:

Take all necessary safety precautions.

Wear protective gear like gloves, safety goggles, and boots.

Lift the safety lever on the machine to avoid accidental operation during the repair work.

Choose a flat, hard surface to work on and block the machine securely to prevent any rolling.

Have the necessary tools like a socket wrench set, pry bars, and a grease gun ready.

Having an assistant to help lift and adjust heavy tracks is best.

Step 1: Lift the Mini Excavator

The first step is to lift the machine to give access to the underside tracks. For example, in a Chinese mini excavator equipped with a blade, you should push the blade down at the rear and the arm and bucket down at the front. This will cause the machine to tip upwards and lift the tracks off the ground.

For a blade-less excavator, use the same technique of pushing down the arm and bucket but only on one side at a time to work on one track. Ensure safety support like jack stands are in place before going under the raised machine.

Step 2: Locate and Remove the grease valve

Locate the grease access hole usually found at the center of the track. The grease valve inside will keep the necessary tension on the tracks. Using an open-ended wrench, loosen and remove the grease valve. This allows grease to flow out and reduces stress on the tracks for removal. Clean the access area before reinstallation.

Step 3: Remove the Old Track

As grease escapes, the track tension will reduce slowly. The idler may automatically retract into the undercarriage for newer machines, helping detach the track. The operator can help older machines by slowly moving the track forward to create tension that pulls the idler in.

Once the idler is visible, working the track of the front idler wheel is more accessible. Then, use a pry bar to lift one end off the rear sprocket. Move the track away from the machine – two persons may need to handle the weight. Inspect all undercarriage parts and replace any excessively worn ones.

Step 4: Orient and Install the New Track

Mini excavator tracks are directional for optimal performance. The new track must be installed correctly, with its V-shape pattern pointing towards the front. This orients the track so that the V-shape is directed towards the rear sprocket, pushing mud outwards for better traction.

Lift the new track over the rear sprocket first. Then, position it over the front idler wheel. With an assistant’s help, lift the track ends and work them into place.

Step 5: Adjust Track Tension

Refill the grease valve and pump fresh grease using the grease gun. This pushes the idler back out to apply tension to the tracks. Check track tension by measuring the clearance between inner and outer rails – about 1-2 inches is ideal.

Run the track back and forth to seat it properly and recheck tension after a short run-in period. Replace the access cover securely when finished.

Post-Operation Checks and Maintenance

Once the track replacement is complete, it’s essential to conduct some checks to ensure everything is installed correctly.

Start by running the track back and forth manually while observing the alignment. The track should run centered and straight along the roller guides.

Next, inspect the track tension. You can measure the clearance between the inner and outer rails – the space should be between 1-2 inches for optimal tension. Roll the track slowly and examine the condition of the idlers and rollers. Make sure none of these components are damaged or showing abnormal wear.

Take a close look at the sprocket teeth as well. All the teeth should be intact without missing, bent, or loose parts. Check that all the fasteners mounting the various undercarriage components are securely tightened. Pay special attention to bolts and nuts in high-vibration areas.

Some maintenance best practices include greasing the undercarriage fittings weekly to keep components lubricated. Inspect the tracks regularly for cracks, cuts, or excess wear: clean debris, mud, and dirt from the underside monthly to prevent corrosion and damage over time. Also, check track tension again after the initial operation, as tracks may stretch slightly with use.


Following the step-by-step guide ensures the safe and quick replacement of rubber tracks on mini excavators. Regular undercarriage maintenance helps optimize machine performance. Reach out for assistance if any part of the process needs clarification. By learning these techniques, operators can handle basic track repairs independently to minimize downtime.


Q1: How long do rubber tracks last on a mini excavator?

Rubber track life varies depending on operating conditions, but on average, rubber tracks last 1200-1600 hours. Proper maintenance and avoiding rough terrain can help extend this.

Q2: How long does it take to install a rubber track?

An experienced operator can replace excavator tracks in 30 minutes following the outlined process. The key is proper preparation, track orientation, tension adjustment, and post-checks.

Q3: Can rubber tracks be repaired?

Minor cuts and punctures in rubber tracks can be repaired, but extensive damage requires replacement. It’s best to replace tracks well before deterioration to prevent collateral undercarriage damage.

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