Machine malfunctions can be costly, so having a process in place to avoid extraneous expenses as much as possible is imperative. Farming, like many other industries, relies on various types of machinery and equipment to keep production moving. Keeping those assets in working condition takes proper maintenance. Taking the time to make sure you have a well-organized, practical and handy maintenance checklist not only keeps equipment running smoothly, but also makes your farm more efficient. Here is a quick farming equipment maintenance checklist to follow and refer to often.
Inspect Equipment for Potential Damage
It’s a smart idea to inspect your equipment for any potential damage before using it. This includes inspecting tires to make sure they’re not deflated, checking wheel bearings for rust or looseness and monitoring wear and tear on belts, chains and other moving parts. These tasks should be performed regularly to ensure the well-being of all equipment assets. The last thing you want to happen when planting or harvesting is to get set back by a defective piece of equipment – costing you time, money and valuable resources. If there is a machine that’s been damaged, either replace it or bring it in for a tune up. Some other items to inspect on your equipment regularly include:
- Leakage from the valve stem
- Oil or hydraulic leaks on the ground beneath the tractor
- Corroded battery terminals
- Dirty cab windows that obstruct your vision
- Headlights and warning lights
Change Fluids Frequently
Just like you need to change fluids in your personal vehicle periodically, farm equipment fluids need to be checked on a regular basis in order to ensure user safety along with the well-being of the equipment. Main fluids to check include engine oil, transmission fluid, coolants and hydraulic fluid. Additionally, all moving parts need to be well-oiled and lubricated to ensure they don’t break down due to friction.
Survey All Equipment, Regardless of Size
While in the process of completing your maintenance checklist, it’s important to make sure you’re checking all equipment, including small machines. Of course, it’s easy to remember to check a tractor or plow, but ensuring you have a comprehensive list to review all small equipment is just as important to prevent costly hazards and extend the life of your lighter machinery. For example, a skid steer is very prone to catching on fire if not maintained properly.
Safely Store Equipment and Machinery
Before stowing away any equipment or machinery for the winter months, make sure it’s properly and thoroughly cleaned. Debris and dirt should be wiped off completely and a rust inhibitor should be applied. Post-harvest season is a great time to get a check-up on equipment. While upfront costs of having equipment inspected by a professional can be expensive, it will save on maintenance and replacement costs in the long run.
Maintenance checklists help prevent disaster from striking, but as we all know, it’s not a catch-all. Sometimes machines and equipment break down unexpectedly, and with how important those machines and equipment are to a farmer’s livelihood, peace of mind plays a big role. Rural Mutual offers insurance designed to have Wisconsin farmers’ backs in these times of need. Learn more about the importance of equipment breakdown coverage or get a quote from one of our experts.