Farming and related activities require expensive and heavy-duty vehicles and agricultural machinery such as Tractors, Field Cultivators, Seeders and Planters etc. These complex pieces of equipment have to perform intense activities under extreme conditions. As a result, they go through enormous wear and tear. In the absence of proper care and regular maintenance, the vehicle may break down. It results in expensive repairs and delays in the schedule, not to mention the safety hazards. Therefore, keeping the equipment in peak condition by regularly maintaining it is essential to ensure the smooth day-to-day operation of your farm.
Lubricants such as engine oil, gear oil, hydraulic oils etc., play a vital role in the maintenance and sustenance of agricultural machinery. Farm machinery uses high-performance engines and transmissions that require high-quality lubricants. These lubricants keep the engine lubricated, ensuring its smooth running, longevity and protection. Therefore, one must choose the lubricants to keep his farm vehicles in good condition. Let us have an in-depth understanding of the oil, its types and its properties.
Types and Properties of oil of agricultural vehicles
Every mechanical part of the vehicle performs different functions. Therefore, their lubrication needs vary. Several types of agricultural oils are used for farming machinery.
- Engine oil – The engine is the heart of any vehicle. Protecting it with the best engine oil ensures the farm vehicle performs well and has a prolonged life. Quality heavy-duty engine oil makes a huge difference in your farming practices as it prevents dirt accumulation, premature wear and tear and corrosion.
- Transmission, brake and hydraulic oils – There is a need for constant stop/ start, lift-drop, pull-push and changing of gears for a vehicle while farming. This constant lifting, braking, gear shifting puts a lot of stress on the parts such hydraulics, transmission box and brakes etc. These activities create friction between the moving parts and generate a lot of heat in the process. High-quality fluids ensure that the friction stays minimum and heat is evenly distributed.
Type and performance grade
There are majorly three types of engine oil: Mineral, Semi-Synthetic and Synthetic. Synthetic oils are the ones that provide maximum efficiency and are suitable for farm vehicles.
Engine oils are graded on their viscosity levels and their performance in different temperature conditions.
While thick oils (higher viscosity) help maintain film strength and oil pressure at high temperatures, thin oils (lower viscosity) flow easily at low temperatures, thereby reducing friction and helping the engine start quickly during cold weather. The alphanumeric code of the oil grade tells how the oil will perform in different temperatures.
When choosing an engine oil, one has to consider:
- The season,
- The use patterns,
- Change intervals and
- Type of engine.
Tractors lubricants, for example, have a unique combination of base oil and adhesives that handle the rigorous activities of the tractor better. These lubricants are classified into two standards: UTTO (Universal Tractor Transmission Oil) and STOU (Super Tractor Oil Universal).
- UTTO is a multifunctional oil that lubricates hydraulic systems, brakes, transmissions and wet clutch. But it cannot be used as engine oil.
- STOU, on the other hand, lubricates the engine as well as gearbox, wet brakes and hydraulics.
The best way to find the correct engine oil is by referring to the owner’s manual. Grades like 15W-40 or 20W-40 are recommended for tractors.
Factors that affect the oil
Be it engine oil, gear oil, hydraulic oil or even brake oil, they all face contaminants like air, water, fuel, soot deposits, metal debris etc., that wreak havoc on them. When it comes to agricultural lubricants, soot and dust accumulation are the main culprits that degrade their quality.
How to know when oil is due for a change?
The frequency of oil change in agriculture vehicles depends on factors like,
Hours of use: Manufacturers have specified the oil change interval hours in the user manual. Refer to the owner manual for the number, record the usage hours and change accordingly. One must also consider the engine’s age, climatic conditions, and handling efficiency. Get your vehicle examined and engine oil analysed by an expert to get the accurate oil change interval.
Choosing a high-quality lubricant and its timely change ensures that your farming operation runs smoothly without any hiccups. Regular maintenance and oil change will lead to better productivity, increased profits and a low cost of operation.