The Special Needs of the Tractor Hydraulic Systems

by on August 9, 2016 3 Comments

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A question for our friends in agriculture: is your tractor worth $30?

That’s roughly the price difference between off-the-shelf, discount “hydraulic oil” and a premium hydraulic fluid specially designed for tractors. It’s a rhetorical question, of course. The tractor is the workhorse of any farming operation. Yet you’d be surprised how often people think a standard, low-cost hydraulic oil is sufficient to protect their valuable equipment.

Operating a tractor is obviously very different from driving a pickup truck or a family car. The final drive, transmission and brakes get a real workout in the field oftentimes under heavy loads in difficult terrain. Add to that a – dusty environment, and it becomes clear that ordinary lubricants are not going to deliver the durability the job demands.

Tractor Hydraulic Systems Need Specific Lubrication

Tractor hydraulic systems need a fluid with anti-wear properties to protect metal surfaces and oxidation inhibitors to help keep metal parts clean and free of varnish and sludge deposits that can result in premature breakdown. If your brakes are chattering or your transmission is slipping, it’s probably a sign that the lubricant is breaking down, or not properly additized.

Many vehicles have closed off chambers, so that the transmission fluid doesn’t mix with your gears.  That is not the case on most tractors. The tractor lubrication flows throughout the entire vehicle, so if there is a problem in one area, it will not be contained in one area, so it is important to choose the right fluid that is specifically designed for tractors.

A single, all-purpose tractor hydraulic fluid that works in the gears, transmission, hydraulics and wet brakes is likely to last longer and deliver smoother, more efficient performance. This will help to minimize unplanned downtime and extend the service life of the equipment. It should also protect parts against rust and corrosion, both in and out of season.

It is important to get a lubricant that meets the tractor OEM’s specifications. Chevron 1000 THF is designed to meet or exceed a myriad of the most common tractor OEM specifications. The few extra bucks for a purpose-built product should definitely pay off in the form of long-term investment protection.

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About the Author ()

With over 35 years in the oil and gas industry, Dan Holdmeyer has worked for Chevron the past 14 years, serving in a variety of capacities with the company in addition to his current post as Industrial and Coolants Brand Manager where he works as a lubrication engineer that supports Chevron Delo and other related lubricants brands. He plays an integral role in supporting and managing a variety of programs related to off-highway and on-highway lubrication needs. Dan also works as Chevron’s Training Specialist for their Global Lubricants division since joining the company. Prior to joining Chevron, Dan worked as a Field Engineer at Mobil Oil Corporation for 20 years (1979-99) after graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering.

Comments (3)

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  1. jpof@chevron.com' Jim Ofcacek says:

    Mr. Holdmeyer very good case for using the correct product that not only works well but meets the OEM requirements.

  2. james.morse@ky.gov' Jim Morse says:

    It would be helpful to actually explain what the difference is between Hydraulic oil and Hydraulic fluid.

  3. Dan Holdmeyer says:

    Tractor hydraulic fluid is a generic term used in the industry. Usually the term ‘hydraulic oil’ is used for hydraulic fluid made of mineral or PAO synthetic base stocks, whereas the term ‘hydraulic fluid’ would include hydraulic fluids made with any base stocks, e.g. water glycol, phosphate ester, mineral oil, PAO synthetic.

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