For many farmers, summer is the season to begin preparing equipment for another year. One of the most important maintenance routines on any farm is tractor care. Keeping your tractor in good working order means tending to all of the different parts of a tractor.
Below, we will discuss seven important tractor maintenance tips. We suggest implementing these simple tractor tips and tricks each summer.
7 Basic Tractor Maintenance Tips to Consider
Over the years, all of the different parts of a tractor will sustain wear and tear. For example, batteries corrode, leaks develop, and blade attachments dull over time. Therefore, it is essential to create a tractor preventative maintenance checklist to ensure that your equipment continues to work for years to come.
The following tips will help to keep your tractor working reliably.
1. Clean, Inspect, and Charge the Battery
If your tractor has not been used for an extended period of time, the battery may not be fully charged. This can cause strain on the alternator. In some instances, a discharged battery can lead to engine failure.
One way to revive your battery is through a high-powered charger. Additionally, you should assess the condition of the battery’s electrical connections. Connection points can sustain all types of wear or damage, including:
- Grease residue or build-up
If needed, clean the electrical connection points to ensure that they are working at optimal levels. Battery maintenance is an integral part of tractor engine service.
The typical lifespan of a tractor battery is between three and five years. Sometimes, replacing an old battery is necessary to achieve full power on your equipment. Having a well-functioning battery allows the alternator and the engine to run smoothly.
2. Refill the Tank with Fresh Fuel
This is a simple tip, but many people overlook it. If old fuel is left in the tank from the prior season, consider siphoning it out and replacing it with fresh fuel.
When fuel is left stagnant inside of the tank, condensation build-up can occur. This can result in your tractor not running smoothly or having difficulty starting. Never run a tractor on fuel that is more than three months old.
3. Check All Fluid Levels
This is a crucial part of a tractor pre-operational checklist. Moisture build-up can present problems for many fluid systems.
Before you operate your tractor for the season, check all of the fluid levels. Fill up or replace vital fluids as needed. Check the following fluid levels:
- Radiator fluid/coolant
- Hydraulic oil
- Engine oil
- Windshield wiper fluid
When moisture builds up in fluid tanks or lines, it can result in a range of problems. For instance, moisture can cause:
- Noisy or rough shifting
- Subpar hydraulic response
- Insufficient lubrication
A dealer can run a fluid analysis on your tractor. This will help to diagnose leaks and problems before they get worse.
4. Sharpen Blade Attachments
Your tractor checklist should also include maintenance for any attachment pieces. This is especially true if you use your tractor as a lawnmower.
Tractor blade attachments can become rusted and dull after a few seasons of use. Sharpen and clean your blade attachments regularly. If you do not have access to a grinding wheel, many hardware stores will sharpen your blades for you.
If an attachment is in bad shape, replace it with new blades to ensure that your tractor functions correctly.
5. Check/Replace Filters
Filter replacement is one of the most important tractor maintenance tips. Allowing filters to clog can cause a wide range of problems for your equipment.
Most filters should be replaced when they have started to collect build-up. We do not suggest cleaning and reusing old filters.
6. Assess Tire Condition
Inspecting your tractor tires for cuts, gouges, leaks, and cracks is vital. If there is significant wear on your tractor tires, replace them.
Inflating your tires to the proper air pressure will help you to decrease your fuel costs. Tires lose pressure over time, and low PSI can significantly increase the wear to your tractor tires.
7. Inspect Drive Belts
Belts can crack, rot, and slip over time. Before using your tractor for the season, inspect your drive belts to ensure they are in good shape.
Ill-fitting or worn-out belts make a catastrophic failure much more likely. Check the drive belts in the following locations:
- Radiator fan
- Hydraulic pump
- Water pump
Most belts can be replaced easily with a trip to your local tractor dealer.
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