Top tips for safely maintaining your tractor

When it comes to safely maintaining your tractor, the owner’s manual is the best place to start.

The manufacturer has specific instructions for the basic care of your tractor and it has the expertise to give you the best advice on how to do it. Correctly maintaining a tractor will add years to its life. Be proactive, not reactive.

Some items you should find in the owner’s manual:
  • A maintenance schedule will tell you the intervals for routine maintenance, including: chassis lubrication; engine, transmission and hydraulic oil changes; filter changes; and other maintenance items;
  • Correct specifications should be in the manual also. There will be a table telling you the type of fluid for the transmission, hydraulic system, brakes and engine coolant – as well as their capacities;
  • Location of lubricant points (grease fittings), fluid-check dipsticks and instructions on cleaning air and fuel filters;
  • Basic operating instructions and other information specific to your tractor will also be available in the manual.

4 things to watch out for

1. Keep an eye on belts and hoses

If your tractor is equipped with a hydraulic system, it has high-pressure hoses and/or tubing. Failure of this fluid conduit can cause component failure, loss of steering or other problems.

If a hose (or belt) appears damaged, worn or cracked, you should replace it straight away. If fittings or connections are leaking, tighten them or replace the seals.

2. Keep brake linkages lubricated and make sure the brakes are adjusted equally

Some tractors have mechanical brakes, operated by a linkage and cam system instead of a master/slave fluid system.

These brakes are located on the rear axles and work independently, so that they may be used to steer the tractor in tight corners or to reverse.

The brake pedals will interlock for road travel; so that one pedal is not accidentally engaged by itself, causing the tractor to spin while traveling at high speed.

3. Watch the gauges

Keep an eye on the temperature, oil pressure and tachometer. The temperature gauge should be marked with a normal operating range; but any time the indicator says the temperature is over 220°F (104°C), the engine is running hot.

If equipped with a diesel engine, the oil pressure should be between 40 PSI and 60 PSI. The tachometer tells how many revolutions per minute (rpm) the crankshaft is turning.

4. Check the filters regularly

Most systems on tractors are equipped with filters to protect against dirt, water or other contaminants that could cause failure of the components.

Check the fuel filter for accumulated water. Most diesel engines have a water separating filter, as diesel fuel attracts moisture.

It’s important to check the air filter often. Tractors are often operated in very dusty conditions and, in some cases, the filters must be cleaned daily or weekly.

You can clean the air filter with a vacuum or with compressed air, but never by washing it. Replace the air filter when it cannot be cleaned satisfactorily or if the filter is damaged.

Lubricate your tractor

Tractors have many more moving parts that require greasing than cars or 4X4s. If you see a part that moves, look for a grease fitting and grease it.

Use a grease cartridge gun, clean the fitting, attach the hose and pump the grease until sufficient grease is applied. Look for grease fittings on steering components; brake and clutch linkages; and three-point hitch pivot points.

Maxol supplies both a 400g grease cartridge and a 500g screw-in grease cartridge.

Older tractors require specific lubricants in the gearboxes. Often, the hydraulic system and the transaxle share fluid; using the wrong fluid can cause serious damage. Make sure to check the owner’s manual – especially for these older tractors.

Check fluids regularly

Tractor usage is measured in hours, not miles, so the amount of use may be deceptive and leaking components may cause failure of expensive parts.

Refer to the owner’s manual to determine how each fluid is checked. The main items you should check include:

  • Check the engine oil;
  • Check the transmission fluid;
  • Check the coolant in the radiator;
  • Check the hydraulic oil;
  • Check the battery electrolyte.

What lubricant should I use?

Maxol can help point you in the right direction with distributors located across the country. Many of the large agri co-ops stores stock its full range of agri products.

Go onto the Maxol Lube Advisor today and find out the correct lubricant to use for your tractor. Just click here and enter the make and model of your tractor.

For example, if you drive a New Holland T6070 enter those details into Maxol’s Lube Advisor; the recommended oil for that tractor will be shown.

Recommended oil for the hydraulic system will be selected for you too.

So too will the recommended grease for the tractor.

Click here to launch the Maxol Lube Advisor