Much agricultural machinery is built for rugged use and is normally regarded as being pretty robust.
This leads some people in the farming industry to be a little cavalier about maintenance and particularly the oil in their vehicles and equipment. True, oil is not cheap and the obvious temptation is to ignore it if the piece of machinery concerned appears to be working fine.
That would be a big mistake though and here are just a few reasons why.
The whole purpose of using oil in a machine is to reduce friction.
That isn’t just to keep the physicists happy – it has a real practical purpose because friction reduces the efficiency of operation in a machine and creates wear. In most cases, the more you reduce friction, the more efficiently your machinery will operate and the less susceptible parts of it will be to wear and tear.
Of course, some machines actually need friction in order to function but we’ll park that one for another time!
If you use the correct oil and appropriate amounts of it in your agricultural machinery, including sit-on lawnmowers, its lifespan should be extended considerably.
Oil Deteriorates In Use
It still surprises some people to realise that oil acting as a lubricant in a moving machine will have a tendency to deteriorate over time.
The science behind that is too detailed to go into here but take it on trust that when the manufacturers recommend an oil change after a certain amount of use or a certain amount of elapsed time, they aren’t doing so just to sell more of their product.
If you want your oil to continue to give the maximum possible protection to your machinery, you should make sure you change it regularly, as advised by the appropriate manual.
Oil Degrades Over Time
Another point to remember is that this wonderful substance deteriorates over time, even when it is not in use.
So, you may not have used that piece of agricultural machinery for a year or so but before trying to do so, it might be a smart idea to drain down and replace any old oil.
It’s also equally advisable to be sceptical about any oil that’s been kicking around for years in a tin at the back of a shed.
Oil Grades Matter
It’s not unusual to come across people who operate on the basis of “Any old oil will do”.
In fact, that approach is one that is going to potentially prove to be very expensive for you!
Most oils are usually graded based upon their viscosity at specified upper and lower temperature levels. Broadly speaking, when you start up a piece of machinery, the oil in it needs to be fluid enough at colder temperatures for it to flow and cover the components. As the machinery heats up, the oil has to be capable of staying thick enough to continue to cover the moving parts.
That’s why you will often see two grades quoted on oil – based upon upper and lower temperature viscosity levels.
Take these viscosity grades seriously and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, even if it means spending a few dollars more to get the right oil.