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Tractors - Maintenance

What are some safety tips to know when working on a tractor?

  • Read, understand, and follow the instructions in the manufacturer's maintenance manual.
  • Disengage power, lower hydraulics and stop engine before doing any maintenance.
  • Remove ignition key.
  • Disconnect batteries before doing any electrical work.
  • Support equipment on blocks or stands. Do not rely on hydraulic hoists or cylinders. They are designed for lifting only and can fail without warning.
Support equipment on blocks or stands
  • Provide ventilation when running engine indoors. Engine exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide--a colourless, odourless and deadly gas.
  • Protect yourself from sharp edges and protruding parts. Wear gloves and cover sharp edges with tape or guards.
  • Replace damaged or missing guards or shields.
  • Keep hands, feet and clothing away from moving parts.
  • Adjust right and left brakes so they are equal on rear wheels.
  • Check steering and control mechanisms, warning devices, lights and governors.
  • Keep work area clean and well lit.
  • Clean up spilled oil, grease or hydraulic fluid immediately.
  • Remove all tools and parts before starting engine.
  • Do not start engine, engage power or raise or lower an implement without warning other people in the area.
  • Follow manufacturers guidelines for maintenance and repair. Keep a log of all service and maintenance.

What are some safety tips for working with hydraulics?

Improperly maintained or adjusted parts can cause serious injury.

Always use caution when working on a hydraulic system. Even when the system is shut down, hydraulic oil can still be under very high pressure.

Before Servicing:

  • Lower hydraulic-powered equipment to the ground or block mechanically.
  • Shut off the engine which powers the hydraulic pump.
  • Move the hydraulic lever back and forth a few times to release pressure.
  • Let hydraulic system cool down.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions. Servicing procedures vary from one hydraulic system to another.

Hydraulic fluid escaping through pinhole leaks is difficult to see but its high pressure can puncture skin. Have a physician treat any hydraulic fluid skin punctures immediately.

Hydraulic fluid can puncture skin
Hydraulic fluid escaping through pinhole leaks is difficult to see
  • Check for leaks by passing a piece of cardboard or wood over the suspected area.
  • Relieve the pressure and replace the defective part.

Document last updated on August 2, 2012


Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.