A few simple steps can prolong the life of your tractor
Tractors are a crucial part to many agricultural operations. Typically, they are also a large investment, and in order to protect that investment, proper servicing and maintenance is required.
While there are many variables when it comes to equipment usage, it is important to keep tractors (and other machinery too) on a regular maintenance schedule.
“Is’s a good idea to perform an oil change and replace fuel filters every 100 to 200 hours,” Steve Kuhs, service manager at S&H Farm Supply in Lockwood, Mo., said.
At that time, other checks and maintenance can also be performed on the tractor.
“A typical service should entail, of course, an oil and filter change, as well as replacement of all fluid filters on the machine, checking coolant, checking engine air filters, (replacing if needed), checking the cab filters (replacing as needed), and greasing all grease points on the machine,” Kuhs explained. “Basically, check the entire operation of the machine from front to rear, including all the lights and all the functions.”
While servicing a tractor is a year-round task, there are a few special procedures that need to take place before cold weather sets in to winterize machinery.
“In the fall of the year, everyone should make sure they don’t forget to get ready for winter,” Kuhs advised. “The most important thing is make sure to check coolant freeze points. This is very crucial if the coolant system has weak coolant, and if it freezes this can be a very costly repair, so make sure your coolant is at least around negative 20 degrees (for our climate here).”
He also advised running a fuel additive in both diesel and gas engines. While this can be done all year, it is especially important to keep fuel from gelling or freezing in the winter.
While routine service on a tractor may seem costly or time consuming, it costs far less in the long run to keep machinery on a schedule for upkeep.
“Routine services are vital to keeping all your equipment up and going,” Kuhs said. “By doing regular maintenance, this keeps you in the field during harvest time and it lets us find and repair issues before they become a major breakdown. The last thing a farmer needs is to have their equipment in the shop when it needs to be in the field.”
5 Essential Tractor Maintenance Tips
1. Give The Tractor A Visual Once-Over
A simple visual inspection can expose problems ranging from minor cracks to major leaks. It’s an important action to get in the habit of – regardless of the season or proposed use.
2. Check & Change Radiator Fluid
Radiator fluid helps to keep the tractor’s engine cool, and if it gets low the tractor could easily overheat. Because of this, it’s important to check the radiator fluid levels before every use. Flush the radiator fluid on a regular basis.
3. Check & Change Motor Oil
Oil is a critical piece of a smooth-running engine. Check the motor oil before every use, and add or change the oil as needed to keep the engine running smoothly.
4. Inspect (& Clean Or Change) The Air Filter
Air filters impact the tractor’s overall performance. To keep your tractor in good running order, check the air filter on a regular basis. Dirty air filters result in exhaust-tinged with black smoke. If your air filter is contaminated, clean it with an over-the-counter solution or simply install a new one.
5. Maintain The Tractor’s Tire Pressure
A tractor’s tire pressure influences the way it rides and handles, so it’s important to keep it within good ranges. Keep a tire pressure gauge on hand and check tires accorded to the PSI rating printed on the tire. Maintaining good tire pressure also extends the life of the tractor’s tires.