Knowing the parts that make up a tractor is important for new owners, but it can be just as useful for seasoned tractor owner to know which parts to look for when diagnosing and repairing their machine. Knowing the parts that make up a tractor is important for both new owners and experienced tractor operators to know. While it's relatively simple to figure out which part is going bad during a malfunction, not knowing what each part does can lead to misdiagnosis of the problem. In severe cases, this can waste time or money by replacing or repairing parts.
Make sure you're acquainted with the different types of tractor parts before performing repairs or maintenance on your machine. On this page we will outline the main parts of a tractor, and give a brief explanation of how they work together to make your tractor do what it is supposed to.
What Are The Main Parts of a Tractor?
A tractor consists of many different mechanical parts. The main parts of a tractor include:
Tractor Chassis: Tractor Chassis is the foundation to the tractor. It consists of metal structure that supports all other components and even the driver. The tractor chassis also protects from any damage or accidents if it happens.
Forklift Attachment: Forklift attachment is the part of a tractor where forks are mounted on top of both sides to lift up heavy objects such as pallets or crates. Usually forklifts are used for lifting materials inside warehouses but some people use them for everyday purposes like moving furniture with small items.
Tractor Cab: Cab is also known as cab area typically located at front side above the engine compartment covers over entire engine area, which allows easy access to operate different controls and check the engine status.
Tractor Engine: This is the main working part of any tractor. Tractors normally use 2, 3 and 4-cylinder engines depending on size of the tractor and power capacity required. Engines are designed to withstand tough conditions, hence they can work in hot weather and handle sudden overloads without burning out. Any serious damage in an engine may take it completely out of order or make it unusable. Therefore one must be very careful while operating tractors with different attachments as that could also cause a lot of damage if proper care is not taken during operation.
Engine Compartment: The front portion of the tractor consists all major components related to engine like the radiator and generator, which need adequate air flow for purposes like cooling and lubricating.
Vacuum And PTO Command Controls: There is a lever located at the right side of the driver's seat which allows operation of different attachments while driving, such as vacuum attachment and PTO clutch. All these controls are mounted close to operator's place so that he can switch between attachments in time to avoid damage or accident during sudden load shifts.
Clutch: The tractor's clutch is a mechanism that transfers power from the engine to the transmission for movements. If the clutch slips, it can stop working which may cause more serious issues and even damage of engine.
Clutch Lever: Located on left side of the operator seat this lever is used to engage and disengage gear from transmission. The clutch also provides power to wheels when required assisted by hydraulic system. It helps in smooth engagement and de-clutching of gears without using foot pedals for parking purpose. This control can be operated with either hand.
Turbocharger: Turbo is mainly used for increasing power of an engine by allowing more air into the engine to boost combustion process. It consists of a compressor section, an exhaust turbine section and other components. It helps to improve tractor performance and fuel economy while operating at normal loads. Some turbocharging systems are also designed to slow down engine speed when vehicle weight exceeds a certain limit or during constant high load operation that can make the engine overheat quickly if not controlled adequately. Decompressor valve is also provided in some systems that works like an air pump to remove trapped air from the turbine housing which helps to maintain adequate compression level against any external loads.
Tractor Radiator: This is a device used for cooling the engine. Radiators are filled with water so they can dissipate heat from the engine to cool it down in hot weather and prevent overheating, which may damage the engine irreversibly. The radiator also forms a part of tractor's body structure that helps to protect the engine components from any damage during accidents or sudden load shifts.
Radiator Grill and Guard: Grills are placed at front side of radiators to protect them and other body parts from unnecessary damages if any object accidentally collide with them while driving.
PTO: PTO is an acronym for Power Take-Off. It is the control lever located at the right side of operator's seat, which when activated allows transmission to feed power to various attachment connected to it.
Tractor Seat: The operator's seat usually comes with a back support so that drivers can use tractor comfortably and in safe manner over long periods of time without back pain or fatigue. Seat provides comfort while driving tractor even on rough terrain.
Tachometer/Speedometer: This gauge indicates engine operating speed and RPM (revolutions per minute). Many tractors come equipped with different counters which indicate number of hours driven by tractor or hours used on particular attachment.
Rear View Mirror: Rear view mirror of a tractor is very common component which helps in seeing behind a vehicle and whether there are any vehicles coming from behind, thereby avoiding possible accidents due to sudden overtaking in absence of knowledge about approaching vehicles. Rearview mirrors are designed with convex shape and lower base so that driver's eye line meets the line where two side meet and make view of what is happening behind him in safety.
Xenon Lights: Xenon lights are spotlights with powerful bulbs that can illuminate the area around for a great distance at night or during unfavorable weather conditions such as fog. These xenon lights form a major component of any tractor and must be kept clean as far as possible so that they don't get damaged easily.
Tractor View Mirrors: These mirrors are provided on both sides of tractor and help operator to know the status behind his vehicles without turning back or moving out from driving seat. They also inform about how much material is left in rear trailer after unloading process, which helps driver to drive forward towards next destination instead of waiting until complete discharge is done .
Handbrake: It is a lever placed at the left side of the driver and used to put tractor in stand-still mode. This helps reducing wear and tear of drive train by being stationary when not in use, although it is advisable to park it on even ground or cement surface whenever possible to avoid serious damage to its transmission.
Oil Pressure Gauge: Oil pressure gauge indicates oil supply condition in engine with respect to torque developed during operation. Normal range should be between 70 psi – 120 psi while operating normally in no load condition (engine idling). If this pressure falls below recommended level, then chances are that either there is leakage due to damaged seals or gasket which needs repair immediately or crank shaft bearings are faulty and need replacement.
Oil Level Sight Glass: This sight glass is located on top of the engine and provides direct view of oil body to make sure that it doesn't get over filled or empty which could damage its internal parts like pistons.
Rear Brake Indicator: This light comes on during braking to inform operator about braking process being done by rear brake. Rear brakes are usually operated via PTO system in most tractors so that load can be slowed down gradually when tractor is descending a steep slope for safety purpose.
Turn Signal Switch: It is used to signal other operators who are working nearby about reverse movement of tractor being driven by them through PTO shaft system which directly controls rear wheels via driveshaft . Therefore, if switch is turned right then left wheel gets engaged with engine while traveling forward which is known as right hand turn" or if it is turned left then right wheel gets engaged with engine while traveling backward which is known as "left hand turn".
Steering Wheel: It is placed in front of driver and used to steer the tractor either manually through its wheels or automatically via power steering system. This steering wheel should be strong enough to support weight of entire tractors so that they don't get damaged by excessive load. Normally, this applies only for larger tractors like combine harvester where it weigh more than 20 tons just on its own.
Horn/Buzzer: During emergency situations like approaching vehicles from opposite direction at high speed or overloaded condition, air horn/buzzer sound alerts other drivers about the same so that they don't collide with your tractor at high-speed. This horn is mainly used in large tractors like combine harvester which are generally driven on roads during transportation of produce from rural farms to cities.
Transmission Gears: These gears are provided in transmission system and is mainly used to select appropriate speed for tractor depending upon the work load it has to move either over rough terrains or smooth roads. Different tractors comes with different gear ratios such as 2.2:1, 1.5:1, 3.0:1, and so on.
Urea Tank Gauge/Indicator: Urea tank is used primarily during agricultural activities as a fertilizer when spread evenly on farms by using mechanical sprayers which have pressure capacity up to 3500 psi . During filling process this pressure should not exceed 2000 psi limit else urea may get damaged due to excess of heat while cooling after compression process while filling inside urea tank .
Differential Unit: Differential unit is used to drive rear wheels of tractor through PTO shaft system depending upon traction required during moving over terrains whether its on a rough road or smooth surface.
PTO Shaft System: This shaft is connected with rear wheels which rotates at the same speed as that of engine when driven by it during travel. The entire rotating part of PTO is known as power take off system" which determines how much power can be developed by engine depending upon its rotation either clock wise or anticlockwise . Therefore, different tractors usually comes with various speed ranges like 1500 rpm – 1000 rpm at its minimum while 2500 rpm – 3000 rpm for maximum output in order to handle heavy loads without any problem. Since these speeds are restricted in tractor, the power developed by engine can be distributed to different parts of it like steering wheel or front axle.
Traction Control: This system is used to control speed of rear wheels while traveling on road surface and its mainly used for large tractors where most of them are driven at high speeds. This system keeps check upon traction between tires and road surface so that if any gap found between these two then traction is automatically increased using special plates called traction plates" fitted with rear wheels . So that tractors don't slip away from road surface during high-speed driving conditions.
Final Drive: This system is used to transmit power of PTO shaft either through axle directly or through different gears. This final drive system consists of main gear" inside it which applies pressure upon the smaller "pinion gear" fitted with rear axle so that tractors don't get damaged by high-speed driving conditions where most of them run at speed exceeding 80 km/hr .
Axle Differential: This system works as a differential unit and drives both front wheels together in order to make side turning possible in small tractors while combining function of main and secondary drives for larger tractors such as a combine harvester.
Rear Wheels: These wheels are fitted with final drive system and are attached to axle directly. These wheels are provided with special tread" which is used to get grip on road surface while driving at high speeds or in rough terrains.
Wheels: Tractors usually comes with two types of wheels like the steering wheel and rear wheels. Steering wheel is fitted with front axle directly so that it rotates along with front axle while providing power to rear tires for forward motion of tractor. On contrary, rear wheels are attached through final drive system using PTO shaft as well as differential unit makes tractors capable enough to rotate them in order to make side turning possible during their travel either on roads or rough fields.
Power Steering System: By using this mechanism steering wheel can be controlled at any position which makes controlling of tractor easier than other mechanized vehicles like cars or trucks. Since these tractors are generally driven on highways during transportation of produce and crops, they require more control over steering unlike vehicles running on roads where most of them are driven by foot controls nowadays. Therefore, tractors comes with power assisted steering systems which helps in easy rotation either left or right using power of engine to complete the task as per requirement while driving .
Front Wheel Alignment: Basically if we compare front wheels with rear ones, then front wheels are always driven by primary and secondary drives through differential unit while rear wheels only require differential unit for transmission of power either clockwise or anticlockwise depending upon traction required during its movement. Therefore, alignment of front wheel is different from that of rear wheels since their function differs while tractor moving over uneven terrains like rough roads. Since tractors covers more distance in roadways than other mechanized vehicles , it requires better control on steering especially when turning during high-speed operations so that tractor don't get damaged due to excess pressure applied upon it's structure.
Front Wheels: These wheels are fitted with final drive system (through differential unit) and drives its front axle directly for forward motion of tractor. Unlike rear wheels, front wheels are provided with different set of tires depending upon their usage like deep treads for rough terrains and fiber reinforced ones for smooth roads or surfaces. Also they are fitted with special plates which helps in decreasing gap between them and road surface to increase tractors grip over road.
Front Axle: This axle is combined with steering wheel using a universal joint so that it rotates along with central shaft during rotation of steering wheel . This allows steering while moving tractor from one side to another without any limitations of turning angle . Unlike rear axle, this is also provided on most period tractors with spring suspension system because unlike cars where its not required, here tractors travels over more distance either on highways or rough fields so that spring suspensions help in decreasing road shocks while traveling so it doesn't lead to any internal or external damages caused by road shocks.
Power Steering: This is used to provide power support at steering wheel for easy controlling while steering tractor either left or right. It's of two types i.e., Power Assisted and Unipower type, where first one needs engine as well as PTO shaft rotation for its proper functioning unlike Unipower type which needs only power from engine through PTO shaft . Also it can be controlled using the handle provided instead of rotating steering wheel manually. This system provides sufficient force to control wheels while driving tractors over rough fields because tractors are generally driven on roads during transportation operations. Therefore, it becomes very important to provide this mechanism in tractors to complete their tasks on time.
Power Brakes: Tractors are specially designed for heavy duty operations and therefore, they require extra strong braking system for its easy control during emergency situations . These type of vehicles are driven using foot controls because even though power assisted steering systems are available now but still operated manually depending upon driver's preferences and it also depends upon manufactures as well . Therefore, brake pedal used here is stronger than that of most of the other mechanized vehicle so that they can easily stop them by applying pressure over it while driving at high speeds.
Chassis: Tractor chassis comes in different dimensions" from small tractors to large ones depending upon type of tractor it self . These dimensions decide whether tractor will be driven using foot controls or power assisted steering system . Small tractors which covers less distance on roadways only require foot controls so that they can be controlled easily even when turning smoothly during high-speed drives on highways . On contrary , bigger tractors like combine harvesters requires power assisted steering systems due to its wide size and longer distance covered by them
Steering Mechanism: Earlier steering mechanism on tractors were of same type used in cars that is, through rotating steering wheel to control the course of tractor but as technology and demand for better machines increased along with it's size , so also tractor manufacturers introduced changes in their structure to make them more efficient and user friendly. Initially only front wheels were fitted with power assisted steering systems which later changed into full-time Power Assisted Steering (PAS) system where whole four wheels can be controlled using smaller sized steering wheel . However, most modern tractors are provided with both PAS and Unipower type power assisted systems depending upon requirements and safety levels needed by manufactures.
Hydraulic Control and Hitch System: Tractors are generally used for heavy duty operations and therefore, it's very important that they come up with strong hydraulic controls to provide required amount of force needed at any point in time during operation . Most tractors have four-point hitching system which allows farmer to attach different types of implements depending upon work requirement.
With this hitch, tractor can be provided with front mounted loader" by a simple change in angle between ground and its attachment arm as shown below
These hitching systems allow driver to choose his own way while performing operations instead of following fixed route on roadways. Due to availability of multiple attachments attached over these hitches, tractors can complete wide range of agricultural tasks quickly like plowing, sowing seeds, fertilizing, watering crops, and much more.
Hauling Mechanism: Tractors usually come up with Front End Loader as hauling mechanism which is used to transport implements quickly from one place to another . These types of loaders are very strong and have multiple uses like lifting heavy objects, loading material on tractor's trailer or guarding material against heavy rains using its roof" structure . Specialized tractors are also available in market that provides this type of loader with PTO driven hydraulics system attached over it for further power transmission. This attachment allows operator to use hydraulic instead of manual controls due to which they can perform more tasks with less effort.
Power Take Off Unit: In addition to these attachments, most tractors also have Power Take Off unit for transferring power from main engine to other implements mounted on its front end. These PTOs are usually driven through worm gears so that driver can change direction of rotation depending upon requirements while working.
Tractor Pulley: These PTO driven hydraulics are best suited for work of lifting and transferring force from ground to implement. They come with steel cables which connect driver's seat with pulley mounted on tractor's front end . Whenever, driver wants to lift anything using these attachments, he just needs to press lever provided on his seat and hydraulic motors will start transferring force through cables attached over it. Due to this feature, operator can control load in vertical as well as horizontal directions depending upon requirements making them very efficient compared to traditional cranes used by constructors or agricultural workers.
Control Panel: Most modern tractors have control panels mounted near driver's seat over which he can view readings from different sensors and devices fitted on its front end while working in field. For example, if loader is attached over tractor then it would show his current position with respect to ground using GPS" system installed inside it. In addition to this, engine RPMs, temperature of hydraulic fluid are also displayed on these panels. These monitors allow drivers to see overall condition of their machine at any given point in time instead of getting up and moving towards its front or back side for checking out problems .
Repairing and maintaining all parts of the tractor are critical to the safe and efficient operation of the tractor. Tractors are always exposed to dirt, dust, and moisture. Efficient maintenance means fewer breakdowns from unexpected equipment failure during operations which saves money and time of the farmer as well as reduces environmental pollution caused by inefficient machine operation.
Make sure you're fully versed in all parts of the tractor, as well as routine maintenance required for each part to keep your tractor in tiptop shape.