Machinery Maintenance Made Easy

Save money and time with routine machinery maintenance and equipment checks.


| July/August 2010



Keep Those Tractors Running

Rather than leaving a tractor to rust, perform regular maintenance so it can help around the farm.

iStockphoto.com/Leif Norman

You’ve been living that life out where the pavement ends now for a couple of years, and your machine shed is no longer empty. Daily life is a joy and, for the most part, pretty smooth, but now your tractor has sufficient hours to require service, the mower’s cut is really ragged, and the tires on the utility vehicle go flat overnight. In some ways, it feels like the party’s over – what can you do?

If you’re used to taking your car to town for service every time it makes a new noise or the “oil change” light comes on, you might be tempted to drag the machines off to the local dealership for service. But when you pull the trailer out of the shed, you notice that two of the four tires are flat. You can’t call AAA to bail you out, and hiring a hauler to come and get the equipment, or a mobile repair service to come and fix things at your place isn’t in the budget.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to take a good look at the service section of the machinery owner’s manuals you have stashed away in your home office, grab some tools and face down those routine maintenance monsters that serve to add anxiety with every tick of the tractor’s hour meter. Engage your machines more intimately, and you’ll save yourself a ton of money, feel proud and enjoy knowing your equipment will go the distance.

Manuals make the magic

The first and arguably most important step to maintaining any piece of machinery is to obtain an owner’s manual and read it cover to cover. If that manual lacks sufficient information for determining service intervals and specifications, spend a little money on a separate service manual. If you find yourself confused when reading the manual, you might also read a book or two covering the fundamentals of mechanics and general repair. Armed with printed materials and a sufficient tool kit, you can easily perform all the routine checks and adjustments required to keep your machines running safely and smoothly. 

Fluid fun

Most machines with internal combustion engines will use fluid fuel – either gasoline or diesel fuel. Since you need to fill your fuel tank sufficient times to get to the point where other fluids might need your attention, we’ll just ignore fuel for now – other than to say: Be careful handling it, and change and/or drain water from the fuel filter(s) as specified in the manual.

Other important fluids are required for keeping machine components cool, especially engines and transmissions. Lubricating oils sometimes serve double duty by carrying heat from moving parts to
radiator-like heat exchangers, while water-based solutions, generally known as coolant or antifreeze, carry engine heat to an air-cooled radiator.

nebraska dave
8/9/2010 8:37:41 PM

@Hank, this is a great article. I used to do more of my own maintence but being in the city the issue becomes where do I get rid of all those fluids. We can't just dump it down the fence line to get rid of the weeds anymore. Gone are the days when we could spray it on the dirt road to keep the dust down. I know we were poisoning the earth with all our dumping techniques and have resolved to just supporting my local service station. It's my way of helping revive the local economy. Then again if I were on the farm that would definitely be a different story. Long live machinery and those brave souls that tread where angels fear to go, under the oil pan.






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