Steel Deals - Tracked Skid Steer Loaders

The uptick in the economy is spurring construction firms, contractors, and landscapers to replace their tracked skid-steer loaders. This has put a large number of loaders on the used market, which means it’s a perfect opportunity for farmers to upgrade their skid steers at a cheaper price.

Dave Mowitz is the machinery and technology editor for Successful Farming magazine. He says if you’re looking for a used tracked skid steer loader, it’s crucial that you spend some time inspecting the condition of the tracks.

"The reason why is, the cost of replacing tracks versus tires on a skid steer loader is 30% higher for track machines than it is for wheeled machines," says Mowitz. "Typically, new tires on a loader depending on its size, will cost about $1,000 to maybe $1,200. New tracks will set you back $3,000 to $4,000."

Mowitz says be sure you also inspect the undercarriage.

"For example, when you change out the tracks, it’s strongly advised to replace the sprockets. As the old sprockets have worn to match the wear on the old tracks, a worn sprocket can cause premature wear and damage to new tracks," he says. "You can move the sprockets to the opposite side of the undercarriage, but the hardened surface on the sprocket has likely eroded, shortening its life."

As a general rule, figure the total life cycle costs for a wheeled loader at one-to-two-dollars-per-hour of use. On tracked machines, it’s around four-dollars-per-hour.

Read Mowitz's report on used skid steer loaders