Tractor Maintenance Checklist: 9 Steps for Spring

How to Get Your Tractor Ready for a Busy Spring Season

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

A tractor maintenance checklist for spring is crucial to be sure your tractor is ready when you need it. To prepare your tractor for spring, we’ve compiled a handy list of nine maintenance steps to follow.

1. Remove winter-specific attachments and accessories

Has your tractor been working hard all winter plowing or blowing snow? Assuming winter is past and you don’t expect any more snowstorms, remove any winter-specific attachments (like a snow blower or snow plow), as well as tire chains and ballast weights.

2. Thoroughly clean your tractor

You know how people talk about “spring cleaning?” Well, spring is a perfect time to clean your tractor. Wipe off dust, dirt, and grime. Consider using degreasers and cleaning solvents to remove buildup around the engine. You can even apply a coat of wax to the exterior if you want to get fancy and make your tractor shine.

3. Install nonwinter attachments and accessories

If you removed the mowing deck from your garden tractor to attach a snow blower or improve winter maneuverability, now is the time to reinstall the mower deck and any other nonwinter attachments or accessories you’ll be using in spring. The specifics will obviously vary depending on the type of tractor you have and the projects you tackle.

4. Change the oil, if needed

Perhaps your tractor is due for an oil change after a busy winter. Or maybe you need to drain winter-grade oil and replace it with oil suitable for summer heat. In any case, if an oil change is necessary, make it one of your top priorities.

5. Check and replenish other fluids

Does your tractor have other fluids that require attention? Hydraulic fluid? Transmission fluid? Coolant? Check all the fluid levels and top them off as needed.

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6. Clean and/or replace air and fuel filters

Air filters and fuel filters shouldn’t be overlooked during spring tractor maintenance. The air filter should be cleaned and even replaced if it’s due; consult your tractor’s manual for guidance. Replace the fuel filter as well if it’s time.

7. Check tire air pressure

If you’ve been using your tractor throughout winter, you’ve ideally been keeping an eye on the tire air pressure, which can shift with changes in temperatures. Regardless, as part of your tractor maintenance, check the pressure again as part of spring maintenance and inflate the tires to the suitable PSI range if they’re low. From greater performance to decreased tire wear, keeping tires properly inflated comes with a lot of benefits.

8. Charge or replace the battery, if needed

It’s possible your tractor’s battery will need to be charged after winter. If it’s weak and struggles to start your tractor, give it a charge and see if that restores normal performance. However, if your battery is several years old and seems to be struggling even after a charge, it may be time to move beyond your tractor maintenance checklist and replace the battery.

9. Replace the spark plugs, if needed

If the battery is strong, but your tractor still won’t start, the spark plugs (if your tractor has a gasoline engine) could be at fault. You won’t have to replace spark plugs every year (or even every few years; they can last a long time), but if your tractor engine runs rough or has difficulty starting, it may be time for new spark plugs.

Congratulations! Your tractor maintenance has made you ready for a productive spring of farm work.

This article about a tractor maintenance checklist was written for Hobby Farms online. To subscribe to Hobby Farms magazine, click here.

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