Preventive spring machinery maintenance
Maintaining farm machinery isn’t as extensive as it was years ago, but there is a list of things to check before you fire it up for the first time in the spring.
Ray Bohacz is Successful Farming magazine’s engineman. He says to do a thorough visual inspection on everything. Over the winter, there may have been furry, four-legged critters taking up residence.
"All the nooks and crannies under the hood, everyplace because mice and other rodents will choose to make nests. Tractors, combines, and farm equipment are great places for them to winter, and then if you do find a nest, it’s very imperative that you look at all the wires around it and make sure that they did not nibble on the wires," says Bohacz. "As they used it as a bathroom, that becomes very acidic and eats away at wires, and corrodes things and different connections."
If you haven’t kept up with filters, change out those that are dirty. Check the battery, make sure it’s full of water and electrolyte, and put it on a quick-charge. Tires should be in good condition and inflated to the proper pressure. Check all rubber hoses and plastic parts for cracks and be sure belts and pulleys are at the proper tension.
Bohacz says if you put the proper additives in the fuel tank last fall, there should be few problems, if any, with fuel this spring.
"A lot of things with farm equipment as they sit over the winter are accumulative," he says. "If you took care of it through the operating season, my farm tractor, I look it over, I turn the key, and she goes, and I get out into the field and start working. If you do a good job all year round, that’s when you reap the dividend when it comes to starting in the spring."
For your safety, be sure PTO shields and safety guards are in place, and a fire extinguisher is charged and easily accessible.
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