Mid-Season Maintenance Checklist
posted in Tractor Tips
Taking care of preventive maintenance now will save you time (and money) later. In addition to Yanmar’s recommended maintenance schedules, it’s important to do a health check in between milestones. After about 50 hours of use, you’re out of the “breaking in” stage and into more routine maintenance.
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Before each use, take a walk around the machine. Look out for any leaks, built-up debris, low tire pressure or other tire issues, or loose hoses, belts, or bolts. Often, a quick tightening, targeted cleaning, and minor repair can remedy these issues.
Both fuel filters and air filters stop contaminants from getting into the tractor engine. When these stop letting fuel or air through, it’s because they’re doing their job of trapping those particles before they wreak havoc.
If your tractor starts hard or you notice some hesitation, it could be time to check your fuel and air filters to see if they need to be cleaned or replaced. Other signs may include:
- The filter appears to be dirty
- Decrease in fuel economy
- Strange engine noises
- Check engine light comes on
- Reduction in horsepower
- Black smoke coming from exhaust
- Strong fuel smell
Pop out the air filter and hold it up to the light. Can you see through it? If not, it’s time to blow it out with compressed air or opt for a replacement.
Some models have inner and outer air filters, and others have single filters. It’s recommended to blow them out with compressed air from the inside out to remove dirt and debris after heavy usage. Also, after heavy usage, dirt and debris can build-up on the front grill screen, radiator screen, and radiator fins. Check these items daily after usage and blow out with compressed air if needed.
To check or replace your fuel filter, reference your tractor’s operator’s manual for specific instructions.
Faulty battery connections are usually the culprit when it comes to reduced voltage. Make sure the connection points are secure, clean, and the battery hasn’t been bumped around through use. A voltage meter comes in handy, too.
- First, charge the battery fully and let it rest for four hours before testing.
- Put on safety gear and turn on your digital voltmeter.
- The digital voltmeter has two probes, one red and one black. Touch the voltmeter’s positive (red) probe to the battery’s positive terminal. Touch the voltmeter’s negative (black) probe to the battery’s negative terminal.
- Check the display reading on the digital voltmeter. Under normal circumstances, a 12-volt lead-acid battery should give a reading between 12.4 and 12.7v.
If you’re getting a reading below this range, it’s time for a new battery.
Fluids & Fuels
Whether you’ve noticed a leak or not, your tractor gradually loses fluids. Check and top off the following to ensure you don’t run out in the middle of a job:
- Engine oil
- Hydraulic fluid
- Front axle gear oil
And don’t skimp on the grease. Our experts recommend regularly greasing every joint and pivot point where two moving parts connect. These should have grease zerks installed to add grease directly.
Belts, Hoses & More
Unfortunately, these parts don’t last forever. And, they are integral to a smoothly operating tractor. Look over your belts for any glazing or cracking. For hoses, look at flex points for cracking and at connection points for splitting. Pay particular attention to the following:
- Fan and alternator belt
- Air intake hoses and clamps
- Radiator hoses
- Fuel lines
- Power steering lines
- Hydraulic hoses
Want more info about tractor parts or repairs?
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