Your tractor is one of the key players on your farm, and maintaining it correctly can add years to its useful life and make your day to day activities ultimately seamless. There are some really basic differences when it comes to maintaining a tractor as opposed to other vehicles, and since there are so many different types of brands and tractors, it can be hard to find a maintenance guide that will apply to all models. In this article are a couple of simple tips and tricks to help prevent problems with safety and upkeep, and to extend the life of your tractor by a good number of years.

Read The Manual
This one may seem obvious, but it is important to stress it’s a necessity in the upkeep of a high-performing tractor. The manufacturers of your model have written specific instructions and advice for how to take care of your machine best, so if you don’t have a manual yet, get one. You will find in the owner’s manual a maintenance schedule, specifications, and basic operating instructions. The maintenance schedule will tell you the intervals for routine maintenance. The specifications will consist of a table telling you the type of fluid for the hydraulic system, transmission, brakes, and engine coolant, as well as their capabilities. The manual should contain other information about tire inflation and bolt torques elsewhere in the manual.

Check Fluids Regularly
Leaking tractor fluids can cause failure of expensive parts. Since tractor usage is measured in hours rather than miles, the amount of use can be deceptive. A gradual loss of fluids over time can be expected in a small farm tractor. If a significant amount of coolant is required it can indicate more serious problems, like coolant leaking into the engine oil. Therefore, make sure you check your fluids on a consistent basis.

Check Filters Regularly
Most tractors have been equipped with air filters to protect against dirt, water, or other contaminants that might cause failure of the components. Make sure you check the fuel filter for accumulated water. Also, if you find crop or weed residue buildup on your grill screen or on your radiator, or if you have been operating in particularly dirty conditions lately, you should take a look. Black smoke in the exhaust can also be a sign of insufficient air mixing with the fuel.

Check Tire Pressure
Low inflation is not always obvious as a result of the shape of the tractor tire. A tire pressure check can only take a few minutes, but it is important for the tire life. If you tend to run tires with excessively low pressure, both the tractor’s treadwear and fuel use will increase dramatically. Always adjust your air pressure for the type of work you have planned for the day ahead. For road travel, add a few pounds of pressure to each tire. For tillage, you should reduce pressure by a few pounds. You should always check air pressure in the spring, as tires can lose pressure over the winter months.