Tractors are important vehicles used in small acreages and farms. Their moving parts need continuous attention for keeping them work smoothly. Tractors are of many different types and they all differ from each other in terms of maintenance requirements. The service and maintenance manual that comes with the tractor should be read and followed.
Here are some general steps that can be followed for maintaining a tractor.
- Lug wrench
- Assorted wrenches and screwdrivers
- Air compressor
- Antifreeze tester
- Air pressure gauge
- Cartridge grease
- Grease gun
- Distilled water
- Baking soda and water solution
- Wire brush or terminal cleaner tool
The oil should be checked and kept filled. The engine and hydraulic oil should be checked after every use. When the filter is being cleaned, the oil level in the oil bath air cleaner should be checked.
After every 8 – 10 hours of use, uncap the radiator to make sure that the fluid level is accurate. It should be refilled with one part water to one part anti-freeze mixture. An antifreeze tester should be used in the fall for ensuring that the mixture is correct to protect the tractor’s engine block from freezing.
The shield around the radiator and the radiator cap should be cleaned. Spray compressed air to clean the debris and dust that hampers airflow.
A good quality grease and grease gun should be used in the tractor and little has to be pumped into every grease jerk. The moving parts like the clutch linkages, brake, wheels, steering mechanism, loader mechanism and three-point lift hitch should be looked at.
Use your thumb to depress the radiator fan belt. If more than a half inch is deflected, then the belt needs to be tightened. This procedure has to be repeated for other drive belts like the alternator belt. The belts have to be replaced when they become cracked or frayed.
The radiator hoses have to be squeezed for checking them. If any of them are soft or bulging, then they would need replacement.
Use an air pressure gauge to check the air pressure in all the tires. Ensure that you don’t exceed the rated pressure stamping. It must be noted that the tractor’s rear tires are usually filled with fluid.
Check the condition of the battery. Open the battery compartment and check the terminals for any corrosions and rust. Remove the positive wire carefully from the terminal and use a wire brush and or baking soda and water solution for cleaning. The same procedure has to be repeated for the negative terminal. The electrolyte levels have to be checked and refilled with distilled water if required.
The engine and hydraulic oil should be changed at least once in a season. However it needs to be changed more often if the tractor is heavily used. The engine oil has to be changed after every 120 hours of use. The hydraulic oil filter has to be cleaned or replaced every time the fluid is changed.
The wheel attachments and lug nuts have to be periodically tightened. They get loose without maintenance.
Tips and Caution
- Get maintenance manual for the tractor from the internet. A lot of online sources sell these manuals for specific tractors.
- The battery has to be charged before starting the tractor after it was idle for a little time.
- While cleaning the battery terminals, it must be made sure that any metal object must not touch both terminals at the same time, it can cause sparking.
- Take safety measures and don’t allow any deposit from the battery or cables to come in contact with your clothing or skin. Wear rubber gloves. Battery acid is harmful and it burns skin and eats holes in clothing.
- Before returning tractors to service, always replace covers, shrouds or guards which were removed for maintenance.