5 tips for tractor maintenance in fall

Maintaining your tractor can add years to its life, increase its value, and keep you safer. As the fall work season winds down, take some time to care for your machinery.
  1. Do an inspection 
    Check the tire inflation and inspect all belts and hoses. Replace any belts or hoses that appear damaged or cracked, and replace the seals if any fittings are leaking.
  2. Change the fluids
    Tractor usage is measured in hours, not miles, and most newer tractors are designed to run up to 500 hours before the oil needs changing. That said, plan to change your fluids and filters at least once yearly, even if your tractor doesn’t get that much use. If the tractor is expected to sit all winter, fresh oil prevents corrosion or damage that can otherwise be caused by contaminated fluids.
  3. Get an oil scan
    An oil analysis can pinpoint wear and contamination issues, so you can head off problems before they turn into major repairs. It’s a good idea to get a baseline scan and then have your equipment tested periodically after that. You can get a send-away kit online for about $10-15 per sample.
  4. Clean it, then grease it
    Clean and lubricate your equipment. Make sure everything is thoroughly dry before you put it away, and treat any bare metal with grease or a rust preventative. Look for grease fittings on steering components, brake linkages, and hitch pivot points.
  5. Move it indoors
    Where possible, move equipment indoors. Tractors deteriorate quickly when left outside in the elements. Indoor storage saves money by reducing downtime and repairs. Plus, equipment stored indoors typically has a higher trade-in value. If you can’t put a roof over it, at least cover the seat and instruments, and keep rain and snow out of the exhaust system.
Regular maintenance helps ensure your equipment will be running and reliable when it’s time to get moving again next spring. A good routine maintenance program also can help you avoid safety issues like brake or steering failures or other malfunctions.