With advancements in farm equipment technology becoming more frequent, today’s farmers are keeping up by trading in their equipment more often than in the past.

“Years ago, farmers would buy a tractor and keep it for 25 years. Now, farmers are trading them in more often,” says Paul Hendrix, equipment-pricing analyst for IronPlanet, an online auction house.

This trend makes equipment maintenance more important, and replacing or testing the equipment’s engine and hydraulic oil is an essential component of any maintenance program. The long-term savings can add up when comparing the cost of an oil test to the cost of replacing parts. In addition, tracking a piece of equipment’s oil analyses over time can mean greater trade-in values at the dealership.

“Because they are trading [their equipment] in, fluid analysis can help them out with trade-in value of the equipment. It can show that maybe there weren’t any problems and it would command higher value, or maybe there was a problem that was addressed,” says Jason Papacek, data analyst manger at POLARIS (Performance Oil Analysis Laboratory and Reliable Information Services) Laboratories, an international oil-testing company. 

While many farmers understand the importance of purchasing and replacing quality lubricants, few consider the value of testing those lubricants as an alternative to simply replacing them.

“I would say more don’t than do,” said Jacque Powers, director of marketing and communications for POLARIS. Powers said that while POLARIS provides ample lubricant-testing services for owners of farm machinery, not many use the service.

“Many don’t realize how much money oil analysis can save them,” Powers says.