With spring right around the corner many farmers will be firing up the tractor and other farm machinery and hitting the fields to begin plowing and planting them. These giant machines are important to all of us who eat every day, but these giant machines are a major investment that need to last several years to make them a profitable farm machine. Here are some tips in how to improve the reliability of farm machines.
Just as with a car, routine maintenance is a must. Routine maintenance can cut repair costs in half over a years time by being sure that preventative maintenance is handled in a timely matter. It is best to follow the maintenance schedule that is listed in the owners manual. I would recommend that each recommendation is followed as it will only add to the life of the machine. Routine tune-ups are considered routine maintenance as well.
As an engine works it loses power and fuel efficiency. In order to get the best performance out of the machines, do a regular tune-up at regular time intervals. This tune-up should include air and fuel filter changes, cleaning and adjusting injector nozzles as well as adjusting engine timing as needed. Most equipment dealers can perform a diagnostic test by using a PTO dynamometer which will test engine power. If the test shows the engine power down over 5%, a tune-up is recommended.
The best maintenance schedule is based upon the hours that the machine has worked within a specific time frame. The tractor operator should keep a list of when oil changes and similar routine maintenance items should be done. A chart kept inside the building where the repair work or the tractor is kept could be an asset. I would recommend that you keep a record book of what repairs and maintenance are done and when.
Also, as an aid to maintaining proper working order and possibly avoid much higher repair costs it is important to check all possible problems immediately. It can be helpful to carry a notebook where you can write down anything that you feel needs to be check when you first notice the problem, especially during the busy times of the year as you may not be able to work on it that day and you might forget it the next day.
Another aspect of extending the life of farm machinery is storage. A farmer who keeps his machinery stored inside will have a higher valued machine that someone who has allowed their machine to sit out in the weather for a long period of time. Machines kept inside can increase the trade-in or resale value by $500- $3,000 based on size and type of equipment.
Storage will also aid in repair costs. A tractor stored inside will generally have half of the down time due to repairs that one stored outside does. Outside storage can cause belts, hoses, and even tires to deteriorate much more quickly than that of a machine stored inside. Weather elements can also cause cosmetic issues with paint and seats.
Take protective measures now on all farm machinery and you will gain reliability and less repair cost over a period of time. These protective measures could mean a spring planting season that will be more efficient and less costly than that of a farmer who never considers his machine as an investment.