Preventive maintenance makes good business sense. Most farmers are at least one part mechanic; between trucks, tractors, and mowers, the day-to-day operation of their farms depends on healthy engines. Replacing broken equipment at the height of the growing season can compromise a season’s yield and for many farmers, it can be prohibitively expensive. Establishing a regular service schedule keeps farmers safe, extends the life of farm equipment, reduces operating expenses, and ensures that farm equipment is ready to use when it’s most needed.
John DiMarco, Stone Barns Center’s Facilities Manager, oversees the maintenance and servicing of all farm equipment at Stone Barns Center. He offers these tips for beginning farmers:
- Be sure to shut the fuel off when your engine is not in use
- Check the tightness of all bolts
- Change the engine oil at regular intervals, as recommended by manufacturers
- Use the recommended oil type and proper weight for different temperatures
- Before changing the oil, be sure that the engine is properly warmed up or at operating temperature
- Check to ensure that the oil seal on the oil drain plug is in place and that the plug is tightened
- Discard old oil in an appropriate manner (your local repair shop is required to take up to five gallons of used oil for free)
- Change or clean the gas filter regularly
- Change the spark plug yearly with the proper heat range
- Change the air filter at regularly scheduled intervals
- Properly maintain and store equipment if it is not going to be used for an extended amount of time (three months or more).
Get to know your engine! Watch a video of John as he identifies the basic parts of a Honda 5.5 Horse Power Engine, and explains their main functions.
Originally published on August 13, 2013