Daily Maintenance Checklist: How to Keep Your Compact Tractor Running

posted on Friday, August 23, 2019 in How To

Tractor Maintenance

Compact tractors are workhorses. You may not realize how valuable your tractor is to each and every task on your farm until it breaks down and you have to make do without it while it’s in for repairs. 

Every John Deere tractor comes with a maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. That’s critical information to ensure your machine gets the service it needs at the right times. But in between those hour intervals, there’s a lot more you can do to keep your tractor up and running.

5 Daily Tractor Maintenance Tasks

Because of the workload they carry, compact utility tractors rack up a lot of wear and tear. And that makes routine maintenance all the more important. Checking the health of your tractor every day helps to catch and fix small problems before they become big repairs. 

Add these five maintenance checks to your chore list every morning.

1. Give your tractor a once-over.

You’ll be surprised by how much you can catch with an up-close visual inspection of your compact utility tractor and its components. Walk around your machine and look for: 

  • Leaks
  • Signs of wear or damage
  • Cuts, breaks, or tears in the tread or sidewalls of the tires
  • Build-up of dirt and debris
  • Loose or damaged hoses, belts, cables, clamps, and drain plugs

Most of these issues have a simple solution. You might just need to tighten something up, replace a small part, or do a better job of cleaning.

2. Check all fluids and fuels.

Leaks are warning signs that you’re running low on oil, diesel, lubricants, or other fluids. After you correct the cause of the leak, top off your levels so your tractor’s full and fueled up.

Even if your compact utility tractor hasn’t sprung a leak, it gradually loses fluids over time. A daily check keeps you on top of your fluids so you don’t run dry in the middle of an important project. Check your engine oil, fuel, coolant, hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid, and any other fluid your compact tractor carries and fill up any tank or reservoir that needs it. Don’t forget the grease. Lubricate every joint and fitting on your machine to ensure smooth operation.

If you find yourself adding engine oil often but haven’t spotted a leak, you may have an internal leak. Pay close attention to how your tractor feels when you run it. If it doesn’t have its normal power or sends out some bluish exhaust, the oil may be leaking onto other parts of the engine.

3. Test the battery.

A bad battery or connection is another common cause of reduced power. Inspect your battery to see if it’s securely held down and hasn’t jostled loose riding over rough terrain. Secure any loose connections and clean them, if necessary.

You can also check the fluid level of each battery cell. Use a voltage meter to get the charge. If after securing all the connections, you get a reading below nine volts, it’s time to replace the battery.

4. Check the tire pressure.

Optimal tire pressure depends on the task. Having tires that are over- or underinflated for chore can greatly reduce your power through slippage or increased resistance.

Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended levels for the type of work on the day’s to-do list. Follow any manufacturer recommendations you have at your disposal. Unfortunately, if you ask 100 farmers, you’ll likely get 100 different answers. So keep your own daily log, making note of the pressure of each tire, the conditions, what you did, and what you felt. Accurate records can help influence future inflation questions.

5. Test the safety systems.

It’s easy to overlook your tractor’s safety features. Unlike other tractor parts, safety features aren’t essential in keeping your machine running. But agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries around and the features in place are designed for your protection as well as the safety of those around you. 

Before you jump on the tractor and get on with your day, preserve everyone’s safety by making sure:

  • The seatbelt is functioning properly.
  • Lights, turn signals, and flashers are visible and working.
  • You have clear visibility on all sides from the operator’s seat.
  • All safety shields are in place and in good condition.
  • Steps and hand-holds are clear of debris or obstructions.

On the farm, the chores are always calling. You may already have a long list of things you have to do each day, but daily tractor maintenance should be at the top. Set aside some time every morning to check the health of your compact utility tractor so that it’s ready to help you tackle everything else on your task list.

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