Making Your Tractor Last For Years
Making Your Tractor Last For Years
Whether you’ve been working the land for years, or are a weekend farmer with a rural lifestyle, you know that buying a tractor is a pretty serious investment. That’s especially true for those enjoying the rural lifestyle, because most often, they are using the tractor to manage a small acreage with little or no financial reward for all that work.
Seems obvious, then, that you will particularly want to protect your investment. You’ll want keep it running just as long as it can. And if you buy a quality tractor and treat it right, it can easily last 20-30 years or longer.
Of course, if you only use the machine a few hours a week and do all the proper maintenance and repairs, it may last longer than 30 years.
What Do I Need to Do?
Maintenance must be a priority. Always use clean diesel fuel to run your tractor, not something that’s been sitting around in a container for a year or more. Diesel fuel additives are a worthwhile investment, too. Add them from time to time can help increase injector performance and fuel economy. These additives are also good for lubricating fuel pumps and injectors. And they even work to help remove any water that might be in the tank. Keep in mind that a fuel pump damaged by bad diesel is not covered under warranties, and can be a big expense.
The Biggest Threat: Water
Water in your fuel pump is a nightmare. Fuel pumps are built with unbelievably small tolerances. Any water that makes its way into the pump is going to score the inside of the pump. And that is going to ruin the fit. Unfortunately, that sort of damage can’t be repaired. Why risk the cost of a new fuel pump when clean, fresh diesel will help reduce the chances of that happening?
It’s best not to leave your tractor outside overnight in rainy weather. Because if it turns off cold after it rains, it may coat the tractor in ice. When the ice that formed melts, the resulting water will be looking for a place to run. Water that drips into the hydraulic system or the transmission means big repair bills.
Schedule Your Oil Changes by the Book
Oil changes are also top of the maintenance list. Your owner’s manual doesn’t make it clear how often you should change the oil? Call your dealer and ask. And while you’re on the phone, you might also double check when filters need to be changed, too. If you are doing it yourself, be sure to never over-tighten filters. Trying to remove a too-tight filter at the next oil change could be a real headache. Keep track of the suggested service schedule for your tractor model, and stick to it.
Your Warranty Tells It All. Do You Understand It?
Once you’ve decided on a tractor, be sure you understand what is covered under warranty and what’s not. If the salesperson doesn’t seem certain on the particulars, don’t be afraid to visit with the service department. Service techs generally know, because they deal with warranty and non-warranty issues every day. Once you know what is covered and what’s going to have you seeing big red dollar signs, you’ll have a better idea of why you need to treat your tractor right. Also, be sure to note somewhere when the warranty will expire. Shortly before it does, bring the tractor in and make sure everything warranteed is repaired and working right before your time is up.
Keep in mind that hauling a tractor into the dealer can make for an expensive venture. Drive your tractor to the dealer for maintenance before something goes wrong. You’re going to save quite a bit on hauling costs.
Don’t Push The Machine Beyond Its Capabilities
It’s tempting, but a very bad idea, to push a tractor to and beyond its limits. Overworking the tractor can crack the hydrostatic bellhousing, or even damage the transmission. These elements are generally not covered by warranty, and will severely dent your wallet. By purchasing the size tractor you really need, you can probably avoid stressing your machine. Treat your new tractor with the care it needs and deserves, and it will serve you for years and years.
Know what size tractor you need for your acreage? Here’s some information on sub-compacts and utility machines.