You always use high-quality engine oil in your farm equipment, but what about the fluids needed for your transmissions, hydraulics and other ancillary systems?

The fluids and systems used in much of the off-road equipment, specifically in agriculture, are facing increases in power, power density and torque with each new model. This means that the UTTO fluids need to deliver just as dramatically as heavy-duty engine oils.

Greater Power, Greater Demand

Individuals who spend time around off-road equipment are experiencing this today. Twenty years ago, tractors planted up to six rows. Today there are 24-row planters, and in many cases the fluid reservoir has not grown dramatically.  The transmissions are being subjected to higher loads. At the same time, farmers are looking for better responsiveness and smoother operations.

In 2011, Compoundings magazine published an article by Christina Thomas, titled “Quality Tractor Hydraulic Fluids Ensure Performance and Durability.” Thomas writes that the demands of Universal Tractor Transmission Oils (UTTO) are growing. With advancements in power-shift transmissions, like CVT and IVT transmissions, and with exceedingly more complex hydraulic systems, the standard UTTO fluid may not deliver the performance that is needed.

UTTO fluids protect vital components and prevent oxidation, wear, corrosion and brake chatter. She writes, “The protection provided by high-performance lubricants and fluids minimizes slow hydraulics, leaking cylinders and valves, chattering brakes and driveline failures that can cost many thousands of dollars for repair. [Farmers] are willing to pay for quality UTTO products because sluggish operation, downtime and costly repairs cut into efficiency, productivity and profit.”

Another fact in agriculture is extremely high power is required for primary tillage, in addition to the horsepower demands seen in the engines. The number of “passes” that a farmer will make over his land to prepare for planting is dropping as the implements become more sophisticated. But the power needed to run that sophisticated implement is increasing.

Increasing tractor speeds are also placing a greater demand on UTTO fluids. Years ago, when a tractor or other farm equipment lumbered down the dirt roads and fields, a young child could keep up on his bike. Today equipment is traveling 20, 30 even as much as 40 mph on those same dirt roads. This places greater demand and forces on the transmission and the fluids used in them. For example, we have seen planetary hubs in sprayers experience catastrophic failure because of the heat being generated by these speeds.

Why High-Quality Fluids Matter

As we look at the main functions that a UTTO fluid must perform: friction performance, anti-wear protection, hydraulic pump protection, water tolerance, seal protection, shear stability and low temperature performance, the UTTO fluid is being asked to do as much or more than engine oils.

Farmers need to watch out for bargain-priced UTTO fluids. While attractively priced, these fluids contain low-performing additive packages that can lead to equipment failures and downtime. In the end, the repair costs and breakdowns attributed to low-quality UTTO fluids can end up costing more than investing in high-quality fluids from the start.

High-quality UTTO fluids with the right additive packages and viscosity modifiers will help protect equipment, improve performance and extend equipment life.

Visit the Cenex Qwiklift® HTB® page to learn more about the ingredients and benefits of quality additive packages.

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