5 Farm Tractor Maintenance Tips for Summer
For most farmers, summer is an ideal time to prepare equipment for another eventful season. This includes tractor maintenance, from the routine inspections to the major repairs or replacements. No matter how dependable the tractor is, you still need to make sure all the parts are in working order for both safe and efficient operation.
Over time, batteries might corrode, fluids can seep into the engine, and regular wear-and-tear will happen. So when performing maintenance on your tractor this summer, don’t overlook these important areas if you want to plan ahead for a successful harvest season.
Here are 5 basic tractor maintenance tips to consider.
1. Fill the Tank With New Fuel
If the tank has leftover fuel inside it from the winter months, drain that excess and refill the tank with a fresh supply. This minimizes the risk of condensation buildup in the engine, which leads to smoother running. And while you’re checking the fuel quality, it’s also a smart idea to gauge the other fluid levels, too. If needed, make sure to add more coolant and engine or hydraulic oil, which are essential for keeping the transmission lubricated, reducing the amount of moisture and protecting the engine from the risk of overheating.
2. Inspect and Clean the Battery
When the tractor has been idle for an extended period of time, the battery will often discharge, which can overtax the alternator and, in some cases, lead to engine failure. If the battery juices are low, revive them with a high-powered charger. In addition, examine the electrical connections for fractures, grease residue or corrosion, and give them a thorough cleaning if needed. If the battery is functioning at optimum level, this will take stress off the alternator, so it can maintain a full charge while the tractor is operational.
3. Assess Tire Condition
Inspect for cracks in the rubber and ensure the air pressure is at a consistent level. If the pressure gauge is low, then inflate the tire with a compression machine. If there is significant wear, you should consider replacing one or more of the tires. The investment will be worth avoiding the safety hazard of a flat tire—or even worse, a complete blowout.
4. Sharpen Blade Attachments
Tractor maintenance doesn’t just apply to the vehicle itself, but also to the attachment pieces — especially if the tractor doubles as a lawn mower. Blades can become dull or rusty over time, so it’s important to clean and sharpen it on a regular basis. This upkeep is simple and just requires detaching the blade, then using a grinder to polish the blunt edge. If you don’t own a grinding wheel, you can have it sharpened at an automotive repair or hardware store. But if the blade is no longer functional, swap it for a new attachment.
5. Check Belts for Cracking
To ensure maximum longevity of the tractor, it’s crucial for the drive belts to be in working order, as the machine relies on its belts to power all internal functions. When the belts are compromised, the alternator, hydraulic pumps, battery charge, cutting blades, and other features are affected, too. So examine the belts for weather abrasion, rotting, slippage, and malfunctioning, then replace them if necessary. In most cases, this can be done manually. However, if they’re in extremely rough shape, you might need professional assistance.
Just because you might not be using the tractor as much during the summer doesn’t mean it requires less attention and care. Investing in the health of machinery right now can save you time, money, and frustration in the long-term.