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Quick Tip Video – Extending Your Cat® Machine’s Undercarriage Life

Category: Quick Tip Videos

On average, the undercarriage makes up 50% of a machine’s owning and operating (O&O) costs. At Caterpillar®, we make undercarriage systems that will minimize your O&O expenses. Their model-specific designs allow our engineers to create solutions that work in harmony with the matching machine. You can maximize these benefits by taking good care of your undercarriage.

Regular undercarriage inspections contribute to a comprehensive preventive maintenance strategy. In today’s quick tip video, Dave from Caterpillar explains the process:

What Factors Affect Undercarriage Wear?

Your approach to machine operation and upkeep impacts your undercarriage condition. Undercarriage wear often happens in specific spots related to the equipment’s past use. Three main factors contribute: application, packing and terrain.


The purpose and materials involved with a job will affect your undercarriage wear rate. Consider how the following applications wear down different parts of your undercarriage:

  • Dozing and push loading: Front rollers and idlers
  • Ripping and drawbar: Rear rollers, sprockets and idlers
  • Loading: Front and rear rollers
  • Excavating: Side where you perform digging


As you operate your equipment, debris and materials can pack into the machine’s undercarriage components. With these obstructions, it becomes more difficult for your machine to run at normal performance. Many types of debris require you to manually remove them to completely clean the undercarriage.


Different slopes and contours affect the areas where you undercarriage goes through wear. Discover which parts of your undercarriage receive wear from various types of terrain:

  • Uphill: Rear rollers
  • Downhill: Front track rollers and idlers
  • Sidehill: Components of the uphill side of the hill
  • Depression: Outboard components like the outer roller, grouser ends and idler treads
  • Crown: Inboard components such as the inner links and roller

How to Take Care of Your Undercarriage

Today’s quick tip video offers a brief overview of the points to consider when you’re maintaining your undercarriage. Learn more about Dave’s three main tips for undercarriage upkeep:

  • Keep it clean: Check your undercarriage every day for dirt and debris. If you see anything you can remove by hand, get rid of it while you inspect your machine. Power washing will also help you keep the undercarriage free of damaging materials.
  • Keep it greased: Modern Cat excavator carriages feature grease-lubricated tracks that need to remain lubricated for proper function. Check your O&M manual for your machine’s specific grease points, and grease your equipment every day. This daily step will also help you keep dirt and debris away.
  • Keep it tensioned: Remember to always adjust track tension to fit the job at hand. When you use too high a tension level, it will increase the load and wear on all of your undercarriage mating components. Consult your O&M manual to learn the right settings for your application.

Comprehensive Undercarriage Services From NMC CAT

Get the undercarriage maintenance and repairs your fleet needs from NMC CAT. Our shop technicians serve businesses in Nebraska and Pottawattamie County, Iowa, with comprehensive undercarriage support. We also provide sales, rentals and service for Cat and non-Cat equipment.

To request undercarriage service for your equipment, contact an NMC CAT near you.