Snow pushers mounted to skid steers often push the limits of the skid steers’ traction when trying to push wet, heavy snow. Many contractors have asked “do you prefer tracks or tires”. Well, to answer that question there are several more that should be answered first. Finally, you can feel confident that you are doing the right thing, and not “spinning your wheels”!
- Do you already own / maintain tracked machines?
- What type of skid steer tracks?
- What is your summer use for your skidsteers?
- Do you need to push snow well beyond the curb to make more room?
- Have you considered using our Kage Klawz (skid steer snow tires) before?
Snow Plowing With Tracks Vs. Tires (wheels) On Skidsteers
Often times you can decide what is the best solution for your business by asking yourself the previous list of questions. Ask yourself the list of questions in that order, and you should feel confident about your direction as a result.
Do You Already Own / Maintain Tracked Skid Steers?
As most people know, tracked machines are more costly to operate. Replacement of tracks, bogey wheels, sprockets and idler wheels is a cost of operation that wheeled machines just don’t have. However, there is a reason why more and more people are utilizing tracked machines in their day to day operation. Less damage to the worksite, more traction, less likely to become buried, more control, less bouncy, and greater weight capacity are just a few of the reasons that summer work is more profitable using a tracked skidsteer. If you are used to this additional cost, and are not afraid of it because you know what you are getting, tracked machines for snow removal is probably second nature to you. NOTE: read on, because there are differences in track types, some are good in the snow, while others are NOT.
Snow Pushing With The Right Type Of Tracks:
If you answered yes to the first question, then you are already familiar with the fact that tracks can be more efficient than tires at many tasks in the summertime work. Before you decide to bid your first snow contract using all of your summer tracked machines, please note that there are many different versions of tracks out there. Dirt tracks are often very stiff and have large flat surfaces that increase their wear life in the dirt and over asphault. This type of track does not lend itself well to snow removal since it tends to slip and slide. I recommend the sort of track that is specifically designed for snow. Some of the track systems on certain brands even equip the machine with a suspension so that you can drive right up and over curbs; pushing snow back as far as you want without getting stuck or having to jump hard over curbs to get there. If all you have are dirt tracks on your machines, you may want to consider switching to snow tracks during the winter months, or re-evaluate what you need your skid steers for in the summertime. Read on to the next question.
Snow Plowing During The Winter, But What About Summer Work?
Many contractors have to purchase their equipment for dual purpose. Winter work is fairly straight forward – you want as much speed and traction in the snow as possible. Summer work, however has many different facets, and changes all the time. Consider these facts:
- Tracks do less damage to turf
- Tracks have a lighter footprint – causing fewer ruts to fix or grade out
- Tracks will not become stuck as easily in mucky conditions – rain is not as much of a factor
- Tires are much less expensive to replace
- Tires are much easier to maintain
Pushing Snow Back Beyond The Curb?
Do your snow contracts require you to haul piles of snow from the parking lot? Is there space to store the snow in the turf adjacent to the parking lot? Many times there is room to push snow right off the lot and into the adjacent grass. If you had a machine that could do this at the same time that it is pushing the snow off the lot, why wouldn’t you? Of course you need to have a machine that will not cause damage to the landscape, and will not get stuck in the process. Skid steers with a suspension snow track are a perfect fit for this type of operation. Not only can you take the snow right off the lot and shove it back, you can jump the curb with a snow-ramp you create, and even ramp up massive piles over many different snow events. This approach might save your customer money by not having to haul snow, and will create good repertoire between you and your customer.
Have You Considered Snow Tires For Your Wheeled Skid Steer?
Tracked machines are good for most jobs. Like tracked machines, some tires are good in snow and others not. Just like your favorite muscle car is equipped with the right tires for the right application, you must consider what you are trying to accomplish and use the right equipment for the job. In this case you are trying to get as much speed and traction from your wheel skid loader as possible. Typically contractors get by with the R4 type dirt tires that come standard on many machines. They use them “ ‘cause they work”. Now that can be a problem. They work well enough to trick you into thinking that there is not much to be gained by using real snow tires. Consider these possible advantages comparing dirt tires to snow tires.
- Snow Tires For Skid Steers Offer More Traction While Pushing
- Snow Tires Offer More Traction While Turning
- Snow Tires Are Often Taller – Increasing Speed
- Snow Tires Stop The Machine Faster – Decreases Accidents
If you have any specific questions, please let us know. We are always happy to discuss your application!