Jim Cummins, National Service Manager, August 2023
“Oil is cheaper than bearings”
Whilst the weather is a little dreary now, Spring is just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to be thinking about getting your tractor and implements in tip-top shape and ready for the upcoming season.
We have had some extremely wet conditions this winter, and whilst the ground is wet and boggy now, once that sun starts to come out, the grass will start to grow like crazy. That is not the time for tractor problems!
Preventative tractor maintenance is an extremely important part of tractor ownership, both for the longevity of your machine and for trouble-free usage. Effective maintenance is more than simply changing the engine oil or topping up the radiator with coolant. A regular, robust maintenance plan is the cornerstone of getting the most out of your equipment and preventing problems before they arise. Protect your investment.
Before operating your tractor and implements after their winter hibernation, you should thoroughly inspect and service them.
Extremely important for the longevity of the machine, Minor Servicing (sometimes referred to as General or Engine Services), is performed every 12 months or every 100 hours, whichever comes first.
A Minor Service includes:
- Changing: engine oil, all filters (oil, fuel, air and hydraulic)
- Cleaning: intake air filter, air filter housings, radiator, radiator screens
- Adjusting: brakes and clutch mechanisms
- Inspecting: pins and tightening bolts on loaders, chassis, implements, etc.
- Greasing: all grease points
- Top-ups: all other lubricated tractor systems
A Major Service is performed every 300 hours or every 3 years – approximately every third service.
A Major Service includes:
- Minor service as above
- Drain and refill: transmission, hydraulics, lift housings, final drives, power-steering systems
- Flush: cooling system as required
Change your oil every 12 months
My dad instilled in me early on that “oil is cheaper than bearings.”
You may wonder why changing your oils and filters is important, especially if your tractor has done relatively few hours in 12 months. There are several reasons:
- Over time, oil breaks down, even with little to no use. It loses viscosity, reducing its effectiveness in lubricating the engine’s components.
- Short periods of use, such as moving a solitary bucket of soil or a log, generate little engine heat and promotes condensation, which causes thinning of the oil.
- An engine that sits idle for long periods of time can also suffer from water condensation, leading to water contamination of the oil.
Servicing your implements is essential to keep them performing well. Lubricants such as oil and grease are just as important for backhoes and rotary hoes – oil levels and blades on slashers & flail mowers, greasing of PTO shafts & bearings and torquing of bolts on all fixtures and fittings. Please don’t neglect these “tools.” Refer to your implements’ manuals for detailed servicing instructions.
Daily Tractor Checks
Several important checks should be performed daily before starting your tractor. These important checks, including daily cleaning of your air filter, checking oil and fluid levels, checking for leaks and more, are itemised in SOTA’s Essential Information Guide provided with your tractor on Page 42.
Tractor Service – your place or ours?
SOTA carries all servicing consumables for your tractor and implements in stock. If you wish to buy a set of filters to service your tractor yourself, or if you wish to book a tractor service or repair, please contact your SOTA Tractors branch here.
We have highly experienced and friendly onsite service & repair technicians and fully equipped workshops at our three branches, in VIC, NSW and QLD. Please ring us to discuss the most cost-effective option.