Top Ten Tools You Need to Own
It’s surprising how often viewers want to know what the best tools are for the new tractor owner. And it’s a really good question, too, because proper tractor maintenance requires the right tools.
To get you started, I’ve worked up a list of ten items that you definitely need if you just purchased a tractor. These are tools that are somewhat specific to a tractor and what it does.
I’m assuming here that you already have a selection of standard tools that you’d use on anything mechanical: sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, vice grips, etc. So let’s take a look at tools you need to add to your workspace.
As you’ve probably noticed, there are a bunch of grease zerks all around your tractor that need regular lubrication. I suggest you buy a good grease gun and use the owner’s manual to find ALL of the fittings and lubricate them regularly. This will prevent breakdowns and make your equipment last longer. Especially important are the zerks on the front end loader and any PTO shaft. My favorite grease gun is Lube Shuttle, because it comes with threaded grease tube that make changing grease easy. And there’s no plunger, because the pressure is built into the grease gun. It’s quick and remarkably clean. They come in a number of models: pistol grip, lever and electric, so you can choose the one you’re most comfortable with. They are available here.
Driving over rough ground and machine vibration can cause some of the many bolts on a tractor to work loose. It’s especially important to regularly check the torque that hold the wheels, the drawbar and the front end loader on the tractor. If any of these fall off because they were never torqued, it’s not covered under warranty. I own a Tekton Torque Wrench, and I’ve been so satisfied with the performance that I offer it on my Amazon affiliate page.
It seems that tractor tires lose air more often than car tires. In fact, there’s been a time or two I’ve thought my front end loader was tweaked, but it was only because a tire was low. Low tires can have a big effect on bucket performance and how evenly your brush hog cuts. Invest in a good tire gauge because the cheap ones don’t last long. You’ll find that to be especially true with back tires, where fluid can get into the gauge. And to prolong the life of your tire gauge, use WD-40 to lubricate the insides after using it in fluided tires.
Unless you own an older, air-cooled Deutz tractor or live in south Florida, you need to check your antifreeze before winter each year. The squeeze-top tester is filled with little balls that float in the anti-freeze your suck up from your tank. The balls rise in the tester tube and line up with the temperature to which your tractor engine is protected. Make sure enough balls float so you’re protected from cold temperatures. You don’t want to start Spring with a cracked engine block!
Sooner or later you going to have a flat tire, or you’ll need to jack up a bush hog to do some service work on it. A good jack and jackstand are necessities. You can buy them separately, but I’ve found that a combo package is extremely convenient. Take a look at this one.
Flat tires happen in the field. As a tractor owner, you’ll definitely need a portable air compressor for for that eventuality. And they also work really well to blast debris away from areas you’re getting ready to work on. There are good portable air compressors on the market, and you can find one to fit your needs and budget at both retail stores or online.
You’ll need to own a tool that can remove an oil filter, so find one that also adjusts to the size of a fuel filter bowl as well. These are threaded on certain tractor models, so it’s best to be prepared.
I like to have plenty of light where I’m working, don’t you? Tractors have a lot of nooks and crannies where it can be really tough to see what you’re working on. Get a bunch of inexpensive battery-powered head lamps to wear on your cranium so you can easily see the dark, secluded areas of your tractor.
Goggles are essential when you’re doing something with a grinder that’s shooting off sparks, or anytime you’re under the tractor where chunks of grease can fall down. And when you’re working around a running tractor, ear protection is a great idea as well. I’ve not taken good care of my ears and am losing some of my hearing (also attributed to the music of the Beatles, Stones and The Who), and wish I would have used earplugs a long time ago when using and working on equipment.
It’s not just for leaves: I use mine all the time when blowing debris out of the radiator, cleaning an area I’m getting ready to work on, and before putting the tractor and brush hog away in the barn. Especially if you store your brush hog outside, blow the plant material off the top before you walk away from it. That keeps rust from forming when long-lasting moisture gets in the grass and leaves and then onto your machine.
Once you have these tools at hand, you’ll be ready for the basic repairs and service. Next time, we’ll go one step further with some tools I’d recommend for taking your tractor care to the next level.
Want a quick reference list to keep on hand? Click here for a downloadable pdf. of this list.
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