A Farm Tractor Maintenance Guide

Oscar H. Will III shares a farm tractor maintenance guide, includes schedules to use when checking the tractor engine, oil, filter and fluid changes, and transmission and antifreeze fluids.

Farm tractor maintenance guide

Learn these handy tips from our farm tractor maintenance guide.

PHOTO: FOTOLIA/BEATRICE NEGRE

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Use this farm tractor maintenance guide to schedule maintenance for your tractor. 

Since hundreds of different tractor models from a score of different manufacturers might find their way to any small farm or acreage, it is imperative to obtain an operator's manual for your particular machine. Check your dealer, online resources and even eBay to find them if the machine is long out of production. The operator’s manual will include important information regarding safe tractor operation, hitch and hydraulic capacities, and will provide detailed maintenance information including schedules for performing various tasks.

There is no substitute for the manual, but the following farm tractor maintenance guide will give you a place to start.

  1. Every use, check engine oil level; check hydraulic system(s) oil level(s); inspect tires for damage or wear; check coolant level; check seat belt; walk around tractor looking for damage, oil leaks, worn or damaged belts, worn or damaged hoses. Correct problems as required.
  2. Every 50 hours, clean radiator screen if equipped; check and adjust tire pressure; check all switches; check all lights, especially if the tractor hasn’t been run at night recently; check Roll Over Protection System mount and hinge bolts. Correct problems as required.
  3. Every 100 hours, perform 50-hour checks; check battery fluid level and adjust; grease all zerks (lubrication fittings); check and adjust clutch pedal play; check and adjust brake pedal(s) play; inspect air filter element — replace if disposable type, clean if permanent dry-type, clean and add fresh oil if permanent oil-bath type; check cooling fan (and/or other accessory) drive belt(s) condition and tension — replace if necessary; lubricate seat suspension, hood and access panel hinges and other similar areas with a few drops of oil or graphite.
  4. Every 200 hours, perform 50- and 100-hour checks; change engine oil and replace oil filter; check steering linkage and front wheel alignment (measure toe-in with a tape measure); check transmission oil level (if different from hydraulic system); check front axle oil level (four-wheel-drive only).
  5. Every 300 hours, perform 50- and 100-hour checks; change transmission fluid; clean hydraulic oil filter – replace element if replaceable type; change front axle fluid (four-wheel-drive only); replace fuel filter(s) element(s); replace transmission fluid filter if so equipped.
  6. Every 400 hours, perform 50-, 100- and 200-hour checks; check and adjust steering gear; replace steering gear fluid/lubricant if appropriate.
  7. Every 1,000 hours or annually, replace coolant (check antifreeze performance at least once a year); wash the tractor, touch up any paint dings, and wax the sheet metal.

Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .