Is your UTV struggling in demanding terrain and weather conditions? If so, then you should consider a track kit. Track kits can turn the wheels and tires of your UTV into sturdy, reliable tracks that allow you the grip and purchase you desire.
Buying a track kit is not as easy as it sounds. For some, it may be more reasonable to purchase a snowmobile or simply upgrade the UTV altogether. Below, we help you decide with our must-read guide on buying and using a UTV track kit.
Table of Contents
What Is a Track Kit?
A track kit is a system that replaces the wheels and tires on your UTV with a track. The track has an increased surface area, meaning less pressure on the ground and more grip from the surface. It allows you to drive in softer ground, such as snow, and increase the hold between the UTV and the ground.
Track kits come in various prices and types, with some great manufacturers like Canos and Kimpex. While older kits tended to be heavy on your UTV, modern kits are made from lightweight, durable materials.
Generally, the more expensive the kit, the more speed, power, and traction you add and retain from the UTV.
Cons of a Track Kit
While a track system may be excellent for some, it is not for everyone. There are actually several negatives to adding a track system that you should know before diving in.
The first of these is the price tag. Track systems are not cheap, and if they are, you should start to worry. You are looking at roughly anything between $3000 and $10,000 for a kit.
If you buy this, then decide that tracks are not for you, it is a hefty outlay. That is why it is imperative you definitely want them before buying.
The next con is that you lose a lot of the speed and dexterity associated with an ATV. Speed will drop by at least half. Anyone wanting speed and the ability to travel in snow should buy a specialist snowmobile.
Your turning circle will definitely not be as sharp. Turning at lower speeds also requires a lot more effort. If you are in an area filled with obstacles, it will be harder to maneuver, and power steering is a must, or you may not be able to turn at all.
All of this power loss is down to the fact that tracks are extremely heavy. On average, they add another 100 pounds onto your vehicle. While most vehicles will be able to cope, you will also have to adjust your balance when moving and leaning into corners.
This extra weight means that more strain is placed on your vehicle. The transmission, engine, hub, and suspension will all need to work much harder. This will mean more maintenance and possibly a shorter lifespan on your vehicle.
All this extra maintenance will mean you need to increase the frequency of your service intervals. Not only do you have to fit and remove them, but you also need to keep the parts going. If you use them frequently, the bearings will probably need to be replaced at some point.
Pros of a Track Kit
The benefit of a track kit is that it offers you so much more traction and grip than tires. This lets you go anywhere you wish, including places normal tires would not allow. This can let you ride off on general, recreational expeditions, use it for work-related purposes, or take off in any inclement weather.
The tracks work by expanding the surface area that is touching the ground. This surface area means less pressure is being applied to the earth. Because of this, your UTV will be able to drive over the soft ground without sinking as tires would.
Tires or Tracks?
Tires themselves do not have as much surface area, and they sink, dig in, and create trenches that are hard to get out of. This is not ideal, particularly if you are regularly faced with boggy ground or snowy conditions. Once combined with the increase in grip afforded by tracks, you have a vehicle that can literally go anywhere.
Tracks will also give you higher ground clearance. Being further from the ground will allow you to climb over rocks and uneven ground that your UTV may not normally tackle. With a wide track area, you should also find it harder to tip the vehicle, increasing your safety.
If you are regularly working in snowy conditions, but need to change to normal tires in summer, then tracks may be a great idea. At low speeds, you should be able to tow heavy loads on almost any terrain.
Maintaining a Track System
If you have purchased a track system, then there are several ways you can increase the life span of the tracks. Luckily, many of them are simple tasks that take very little time.
The first of these is to always store the tracks horizontally. They should be stored in a dry area, free from sunlight. Storing them in this way allows any fluids to drip through, letting lubricant spread throughout and water to drip off.
When you start to maintain your tracks, make sure you label every item and keep them together, just as they are on the track. Take a photograph, so you know how they go back together. Start by removing plates, followed by the wheel nuts, then the rest of the system.
Cleaning a Track System
Start by cleaning the part with a degreaser, making sure it is biodegradable. After this, use a jet of water to wash off any other dirt and detritus. Ensure the jet is not too strong, as this can damage the delicate components in the mechanism.
Once the parts are clean, inspect them for wear and tear. Look for any damage or cracks in components. If something looks like it is wearing down, make a note of it and order the part at the end of the snow season.
Finally, lubricate any moving parts. This should only be done after you have fully removed the old lubricant. You should make sure you have applied oil to any bearings or wheel caps fully.
Choosing a Track Kit Type
When considering buying tracks, you should begin by looking at any tracks produced by the manufacturers of your UTV. Manufacturers tracks often comply with any vehicle warranties, covering you in the event of a serious problem.
Finance is often easier with these, as opposed to the aftermarket models.
Mattracks are one of the leading suppliers of aftermarket UTV tracks. They also have a huge range available, with over 100 different types of tracks on offer. In fact, they make tracks for all type of vehicles, including tractors and service vehicles, so have a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Mattracks are also a little on the pricey side but well worth the money. Their M3 series retails around the $8000 mark, with some models going up to $10,000. Each make and model offers a wide range of different surfaces and makes, so the choice all comes down to what you want the UTV to do.
For example, their EZ series is designed to extend the contact with the ground. They can add up to 30% more surface area. This is great for anyone doing steep climbs in deep, soft snow.
In contrast, the XT series uses a deep lug tread for high load capacity UTVs. With a rubber anti-torque system, they are ideal for anyone who uses a UTV for work-related purposes, shifting loads of goods from place to place.
Camso is a merged company, combining two highly respected experts in the field. These are Camoplast and Solideal technologies. Their combined knowledge, experience, and patents have allowed them to design and manufacture some serious track kits, all of which are excellent.
A lot of their models are great all-around tracks. The T4S is excellent for high powered machines, with wider and elongated tracks that account for the weight of the UTV. It has puncture-proof inner tires behind the tracks, giving a more cushioned ride than many other tracks on the market.
Camso tracks are generally not as pricey as Mattracks. However, they do not sacrifice any quality or craftsmanship in doing so.
Now you know the pros and cons of adding a track kit. You just need to make a purchase. Contact a local retailer or dealer, let them know your UTV make and model and ask their advice. Alternatively, ask on local forums to see what others in your area are using.
Your first stop for help and advice should be UTV Ride. We have all the guidance and information you need for your UTV, from maintenance to reviews on aftermarket products.
If your UTV is still struggling this winter, click here for our handy guide on snowplowing with a UTV, and let us get you out and about this season!