How to Get a Track Loader Unstuck

One of the benefits of using a compact track loader (CTL) in your earthmoving operations is its ability to gain traction in wet or muddy conditions. However, even these machines can get stuck occasionally. When this happens, you’ll need to know how to rescue it without damaging the machine or risking serious injury. 

The Role of Weather Conditions in Track Loader Operation

Using a CTL in or immediately after a rainstorm can cause mud to cake in and around the sprockets, which can negatively impact the machine’s performance. Snow and ice can also reduce traction. Installing removable cleats onto the tracks can improve results in these challenging conditions.

Conducting a thorough site inspection before operating a track loader is crucial. By locating softer ground areas, operators can avoid them or take precautions before moving the machine over them. OSHA 1926.1402(a)(2) recommends using supporting materials and techniques like cribbing, blocking and mats to ensure the ground can hold the equipment safely.

How to Prevent a Track Loader From Getting Stuck

If you’re like most equipment operators, you’d prefer to avoid getting your track loader stuck in mud than having to pull it out. Taking a proactive approach can help you achieve this objective.

The way you operate your CTL can affect its traction in muddy conditions. Executing three-point turns can reduce the likelihood of cuts in the tracks resulting from frequent counter-rotations. Avoiding excess spinning can also improve traction and limit tread wear and damage. Additionally, keep the machine on flat surfaces as much as possible to prevent leaning.

Regular track loader maintenance will ensure optimal performance and help keep it from getting stuck.

Regular maintenance will ensure optimal performance and help keep it from getting stuck. Appropriate track tensioning protects the wheels and sprockets.

What to Do When Your Track Loader Gets Stuck

Even if you operate and maintain your equipment correctly, you can still get a compact track loader stuck. Fortunately, you don’t need a winch to pull your CTL out of the mud. Several other methods will work when you need to get out of the mud:

  • Towing: If you have a pickup truck or tractor, you might be able to free your track loader. Attach a cable with the appropriate weight rating to your vehicle and have someone slowly accelerate the vehicle as you guide the CTL.
  • Tow strap: If there’s no vehicle to pull you out, you can attach one end of a tow strap to a sturdy tree and the other to the loader’s towing eye. Pass the strap over the bucket for additional lifting power.
  • Pulley: This method involves implementing a tow strap and snatch block to use the machine’s boom to raise and lower the bucket and act as a lifting mechanism.
  • Bucket deployment: If the CTL is stuck in shallow mud or snow, you can use the bucket to push it out by curling it upwards while operating the machine in reverse.

Safety Precautions When Pulling a Compact Machine Out of the Mud

Safety is paramount when attempting to pull a CTL or skid steer out of the mud. Adhere to all applicable OSHA regulations to keep yourself and others safe on the job site. If you’re ever unsure about how to attempt the process, call for professional help to avoid putting yourself at risk.

Some general safety guidelines include ensuring the vehicle you’re using is powerful enough to handle the task and that the cables, tow straps, and other equipment are in good repair. You should also recognize the degree to which the machine is stuck. For example, if the mud completely covers the tracks, you’ll need to implement more rigorous methods than if it is only partially submerged.

Get help if you’re not sure you can handle the job yourself with the equipment you have on hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Towing is a viable option for getting your machine out of mud or other challenging ground conditions

Towing is a viable option for getting your machine out of mud or other challenging ground conditions. A skid steer operates on wheels, enabling it to roll out when properly towed. Because of this component, pulling out a stuck skid steer can be easier than a CTL.

How Do You Get a Tracked Skid Steer Unstuck?

“Tracked skid steer” is another name for a CTL. Therefore, you can attempt to free it from the mud by using the methods listed above, including pulleys, towing, tow straps, and bucket deployment.

How Do You Get Heavy Equipment Unstuck From Mud?

What if you have to get a machine larger than a skid steer or compact track loader out of the mud? You can still use many of the same solutions to complete the job. Attach a strong hook, cable, rope, or strap to the equipment’s tow hook or frame at two points. Tow the unit slowly until you can free it without causing damage.

Herc Rentals Can Help

Freeing a skid steer or track loader stuck in mud requires the right combination of power and finesse. At Herc Rentals, we have the experience and expertise to guide you through the process. Our knowledgeable team can deliver helpful advice to make the job easier and ensure the best results. Whenever you have equipment questions, feel free to contact our team for guidance, so you can make the right call the first time and help keep your team safe.

Discover premium equipment rentals from Herc Rentals

Discover Premium Equipment Rentals From Herc Rentals

As a premier full-service equipment rental company, Herc Rentals offers a wide assortment of machines, tools, and attachments from leading manufacturers, ensuring maximum quality and performance. We support every rental with a broad range of services to provide the best value to every customer. As an industry pioneer, we continue to evolve and grow by implementing the latest technological innovations. 

Our consultative approach sets us apart from our competitors. Whether we need to ship an item that isn’t in our inventory or you need suggestions for an alternative “outside the box” solution, count on us to do whatever it takes to meet your needs. Contact us for more information, or view our inventory of track loader rentals to get the equipment you need. 

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