Is the Factory Service Schedule Right for You?
24 May 2018
With a typical price tag in the tens of thousands of dollars, farm tractors aren’t an investment to be taken lightly. Though recent technologies have bolstered tractor longevity, today’s machines still require attentive care in order to help your farm function at peak productivity. Delaying the required service routine could end up resulting in costly emergency repairs and extended machine downtime. Fortunately, recommended maintenance practices are usually outlined in detail within every tractor’s owner’s manual, and many manufacturers’ list service guidelines right on their website for easy access.
But, the general factory service schedule may not always be the best service schedule for your farming needs. Though these recommendations are a reliable rule of thumb, the frequency of the service you perform may vary based on two key factors – your usage habits and your farm’s geographic location. And it’s crucial to adjust your service schedule based on these factors if you’d like to make the most of your farm equipment.
Reasons You Might Need to Follow Your Own Maintenance Schedule
Tractor usage is nearly always the primary factor in outlining an appropriate tractor service schedule. Tractors used for 2 hours each morning require substantially less service than a tractor that’s on the field for eight hours or more each day. This is reflected in manufacturer-provided service schedules, which indicate that certain maintenance procedures should be performed after the machine has seen a certain number of work hours, which can easily be measured by the hour meter on your tractor.
But adhering strictly to these guidelines may not always be necessary. During slower seasons, many farmers check oil and other fluid levels less frequently – though still regularly – than they would when productivity is high. On the other hand, tractors on the field from dawn to dusk may require daily fluid checks and more in-depth inspections to make sure structural issues, worn parts and loose connections are identified quickly.
In the United States, which is made up of many distinct geographic regions, it’s important to consider the impact of climate when identifying your tractor’s maintenance needs.
Coastal regions, such as Florida, are known for their warmth, humidity and salt air. Climates like this necessitate more frequent oil and air filter changes, along with additional procedures that combat the climate’s unique challenges, such as using additives to kill algae that can grow inside tractor hydraulic systems or pressure-washing the radiator to eliminate electrolysis created by salt in the air.
Cold climates require similar maintenance schedule adjustments. Farmers facing extremely low temperatures must often use alternative or additional equipment, from heavy-duty batteries to precisely optimized, cold-weather fuel blends, to help their equipment weather the harsh winter.
Regardless of your location, don’t hesitate to consult your local dealer to determine if there are any climate-specific adjustments you should make to your tractor service schedule.
Determining Your Tractor’s Service Needs
In the end, the tractors that help drive the success of your farm share many of the same needs as tractors used around the country, but adapting your tractor service schedule based on the finer points of your current situation is essential. Your owner’s manual will prove indispensable in this process, but never hesitate to implement the changes required to provide your tractor with the care it needs.
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