Heavy machinery, especially farm equipment, requires constant maintenance to be in good working order. If you don’t practice adequate preventive farm equipment maintenance, you could cause damage that puts not only a driver at risk but also the lives of those near the equipment. Additionally, breakdowns are more costly than you might think. When your equipment does not work, it affects your crops – and bottom line.
5 Tips for Farm Equipment Maintenance
- Make training a priority for everyone. If it’s likely that more than one person will be operating your farm equipment, everyone must be on the same page. Keep your drivers and farm hands trained with the best driving and control practices, along with the preventive maintenance measures. Likewise, the creation of a checklist for verification of the correct functioning of the equipment is essential.
Remember that large machinery such as a tractor or combine should be inspected after use. The regular review of your farm equipment should be based on user manuals.
- Add and check lubricant levels frequently. Lubrication is one of the most important farm equipment maintenance controls. Lubricants reduce friction around moving parts. Proper maintenance related to these types of fluids will extend the life of your agricultural machinery.
To check to see if you have enough lubricant, first look for signs of excess oil or accumulation of grease in the pistons. Check for leaks around the oil seals if the level is correct. Keep in mind that the lubricant levels should be appropriate according to your owner’s manuals.
- Look for signs of wear. Vibration, shock, high temperatures, friction, and time all contribute to the breakdown of parts in heavy machinery. The vibration can come from gears and belts that are out of alignment. The shock can come from accidents or a poor operator management technique. High temperatures come from prolonged use, friction, inadequate lubrication, and worn parts, among other reasons.
The passing of years affects many vital components of your machinery. Over time, belts will be reformed, seals will dry and crack, bolts will loosen, etc. If you discover signs of wear on any moving part, be sure to replace the necessary parts right away.
- Clean your farm equipment. There are lots of seals and filters inside your farm machinery that keep parts clean and free of contamination, allowing the vehicle to run smoothly. Inspect seals regularly to ensure they are in good condition. Don’t forget to change the filter regularly as well.
As for vents, these should be kept clean to avoid creating a vacuum in the cabin. This could attract contaminants to it. In addition, the electronic components of the cabin are susceptible to failure if they become contaminated.
Finally, farm equipment maintenance relies on you keeping your machinery in a warehouse, shed, or barn. Exposure to wind and weather can lead to oxidation. If your farm equipment will be sitting and not getting any use for a while, make sure it’s properly covered to prevent rust.
- Develop a preventive and corrective maintenance program. Fluids, tires, and electrical systems are among the components that should be checked regularly for preventive maintenance.
Power transmissions have lots of moving parts and must be kept in tip-top shape. Gearboxes should be checked for lubrication, vibration, and damage to parts. Look for signs of wear and excessive friction on seals, gaskets, and bearings. Replace them if necessary. Check filters frequently. Lubricate gears often. Always monitor transmission components.
Equipment isn’t the only thing that affects your farm operation. Weather can be your friend or your foe. That’s why crop insurance is so very important.
If you’re interested in any of our insurance programs, or want to learn more, give Wathen Insurance a call at 765-676-9666. We are more than happy to help.