Now that 2010 is coming to an end and people are starting to reflect on the past year, I think it would also be good to look back at a few of the topics we covered throughout the year. Early this year we talked about hydraulic filters and how, even though they are easily accessible, operators sometimes overlook them. Hydraulics, steering and brakes are essential to the safe operation of equipment. If you remember, I told you about the farmer who had called me and said his hydraulics weren’t working. While checking the system we looked at the hydraulic filter and found a large chunk of ice inside the filter.

During the wintertime, make sure to properly drain the oil or any water that may be present. If you let the equipment sit all winter, once you go back to start it, it could cause some damage. Make it a routine to check all of the equipments’ fluid levels.

Safety is another big issue that should take priority. People should never let their guard down safety-wise. Protect yourself and others by understanding that equipment has to operate properly and safely. If the equipment is not safe to operate, either lock it up or make sure no one else uses it. We cannot become complacent when it comes to safety.

We talked about operator error early in the year as well. Every equipment owner is different and will have different goals regarding the operation of their equipment. If they have hired workers to operate their equipment, it is vital for those operators to be trained. If you are unable to provide training to your operators, find a college, institution or dealership that can train them. Investing in operator training will head off problems or a hefty mechanic’s bill in the future.

I also can’t say enough about keeping records. If you have multiple pieces of equipment and you don’t keep some kind of record or establish some form of checks-and-balances system, it will catch up with you.


Another piece of advice is to always do your homework when you look into purchasing equipment. Have a concrete idea of what you really need or the equipment’s purpose. Always make sure buying equipment is a well-thought-out decision.

We tested your knowledge of a John Deere diesel engine this year. Expect a similar column in 2011.

It is also important to acknowledge the impact of tire traction and how it can be adjusted, including adding or decreasing weight. Calcium chloride levels can play a significant role in tire traction.

If you neglected cleaning your equipment or have not performed a maintenance checkup, now is as good a time as ever to do so.

In the coming year, a few of the topics we will discuss include fixing the cause versus the failure in equipment, transmissions, electrical systems and emissions. PD

Jim Schlund