Tractors are an important part of a farmer’s livelihood. Learning the proper maintenance routine can avoid unnecessary headaches. The last thing you want is for your machine to break down the moment you need it most. No matter how dependable you think it is, following through with a preventative maintenance plan will increase its lifespan.
These machines carry a heavy load and as a result, they experience a lot of wear and tear. Don’t overlook the value in setting aside the time to properly care for your valuable machine. Here are the top tractor maintenance tips.
Tractor Maintenance Tip #1: Keep the Battery Clean
Battery problems are one of the most common issues with tractors, especially after it’s been sitting in the shed for an extended period of time. A battery will discharge over time and then fail right when you need to use the tractor. Take some time to regularly check the battery. Clean the connections and grease spots where erosion might be occurring. If you plan to have the tractor idle for an extended period of time, consider removing the battery leads so that it doesn’t discharge. Or, you can use a trickle charger to keep the battery charged when not in use.
Tractor Maintenance Tip #2: Replace Old Fuel with New Fuel
This is another maintenance tip that’s only applicable to tractors that are going to sit idle for an extended period of time. Condensation builds up in fuel so it causes the tractor to run poorly. In fact, running old fuel through the engine can lead to other issues. So if you have let the tractor sit for an extended period of time, you should drain the fuel and replace it. This extends the life of the engine and ensures that your machine is running at its optimal level. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check the coolant and oil too!
Tractor Maintenance Tip #3: Inspect Belts
Engine belts should be inspected regularly for wear and tear. Be on the lookout for cracking, abrasion, slippage, or other signs of damage. Inspections can be done by the owner but some belts might require the services of a professional if you need to replace them. A tractor relies on belts to perform its internal functions. Compromised belts will lead to alternator problems, hydraulic failure, and can even affect the power to cutting blades and other features.
Tractor Maintenance Tip #4: Inspect Tires Regularly
Damaged tires can cause significant problems, including safety hazards! Tire inspections must be a part of your preventative maintenance routine. Do a walk around before using the tractor. Check for cracks in the rubber and any other signs of damage. Use a gauge to check the air pressure and inflate tires that are low. If you spot significant wear and tear, then replace the tire. Do not operate the machine.
Tractor Maintenance Tip #5: Inspect Attachments and Accessories
Your preventative maintenance shouldn’t be limited to the tractor itself. Also inspect the attachments to make sure they are all in optimal condition. If the tractor is being used as a mower, then sharpen the blades using a grinder. Pay close attention to the areas that attach to the tractor too and make sure there is no risk of it breaking. This includes hydraulic cylinders. Most tractor attachments use hydraulic cylinders and they require routine inspection. If you find a cylinder that is worn or leaking oil, replace it. There are plenty of aftermarket hydraulic cylinders available on the market, and it’s usually a pretty easy fix.
Tractor Maintenance Tip #6: Read the Owner’s Manual
Now that you know what to check, it’s a matter of timing. There are certain checkpoints you can create based on your tractor and its use. The first step is to read the owner’s manual. I know, it makes dreadfully boring reading material but this manual will tell you how and when to perform maintenance. No one can remember everything and no online article can point you to every small detail. So reading the owner’s manual is the only way to guarantee that you’re remembering every small detail.
Tractor Maintenance Tip #7: Check Engine Compartments
If your tractor has been idle for an extended period of time, then be sure to check all of the engine compartments for rodents. They love to build nests and set up shop in these small, secluded places. A harmless nest can do some serious damage to the tractor.
Tractor Maintenance Tip #8: Clean the Radiator
Use compressed air to clean the radiator screens to make sure air is able to pass through unimpeded. Clogged screens will lead to overheating since the radiator is not able to properly regulate air flow. This leads to a range of other issues that are detrimental to the tractor. Furthermore, don’t ever operate a tractor without the radiator screen in place because it will suck in debris and the radiator will be damaged, leading to expensive repairs.
These tips will make sure that your tractor keeps doing its job for many years to come and drastically improve its lifespan. Skipping preventative maintenance will lead to other major problems that could get expensive. Most notable though, your tractor may give out at the worst time!