Homesteaders often struggle with the issue of rebuilding vs. repairing old or damaged equipment. On one hand, repairing or replacing common parts can serve as a quick-fix that keeps your property up and running. But rebuilding outdated equipment can absolutely give your equipment a second chance at life.
As you can probably tell, there are pros and cons associated with each approach. While there are the typical benefits and drawbacks — such as costs and downtime — to consider, the world of farming is seldom that simple.
Estimating your total costs regarding ownership and regular maintenance against your profits to gauge your farm's overall sustainability and profitability requires in-depth mathematics. However complex or archaic the subject might be, it's essential when making the decision whether to repair components, rebuild machinery, or buy brand-new equipment. These figures are important when determining whether farming is right for you.
Depending on the current condition of your equipment, you might be able to rebuild or replace individual components and parts. This is especially useful with newer equipment, as it allows you to boost your hardware's lifespan and preserve its showroom condition for as long as possible.
Component-specific rebuilds and repairs can be implemented on older machines to draw as much usage as possible before they bite the dust for good. Some systems are more frequently rebuilt or repaired than others. Vehicle engines, transmissions, and powertrains are among the most common.
Although your farm implements are useless without this infrastructure in place, the cost for an outright replacement isn't viable in many cases. Dealers and mechanics use different strategies when rebuilding or repairing components. Most start with a thorough cleaning and in-depth inspection, which is necessary to determine any specific problems. Components suspected of being faulty will then be tested, removed, and rebuilt or repaired as applicable. Certain components, like the alternator, are far more complex than others. While a mechanic might be able to repair failing parts of the alternator with relative ease and affordability, the process of completely rebuilding this essential part requires incredible skill.
You can repair or rebuild multiple parts, too, which ultimately improves the condition of older or outdated equipment even further. This is an excellent option for novice farmers and those who lack the funds for a brand new purchase or a complete machine rebuild.
Some farmers decide to completely rebuild their old equipment. This is especially helpful with reliable machinery, hardware that has been passed down through generations, and in situations when the difference in an outright purchase simply isn't worth it.Both a complete rebuild and a complete repair can be costly endeavors, but they're typically far more affordable than replacing the machine outright. If it’s more expensive to replace than repair, it might be time to invest in brand new equipment.
During a complete rebuild, the equipment in question is often stripped down to its fundamental core or framework. All components will be replaced before finalizing the project, ultimately leaving the owner with a machine that functions as if it's brand new.
A complete repair would follow a similar process. Instead of stripping your equipment down to its frame, only the damaged or worn pieces are removed and repaired. The remainder of the parts and components are usually untouched.
Both processes involve a lot of time, but a complete repair job is typically much faster than the alternative. Plus a complete repair is often cheaper than a complete rebuild, but this is dependent on the scope and scale of the project as well as the initial condition of the machinery.
To maximize your productivity and minimize downtime, determine your best option and follow through as soon as possible. Rebuilding or repairing individual components might keep your tractor afloat during the current season, but machines that frequently break down or malfunction will need to be replaced eventually anyway. In this case, investing the time and money into a complete rebuild of your critical machinery might keep you up and running for years to come.