It’s not always apparent when some components in agriculture equipment aren’t functioning correctly and need maintenance. One of those components is wet brakes commonly found in various farm equipment. When it comes to brake chatter, waiting to fix the problem until you feel and hear it can be too little too late. During busy seasons, you don’t have extra time or equipment to accommodate costly repairs. However, if you look for symptoms, commit to regular maintenance and most importantly use a premium tractor hydraulic fluid, preventing brake chatter and its complications can be straightforward.

What are the symptoms of brake chatter?

Brake chatter or shuddering is the phenomenon of a ‘squawking-like’ noise and noticeable vibrations from the wet brake discs while braking. Wet brakes are referred to as wet since they are included in a common lubricating oil reservoir and bathed in the oil.

Due to the noisy and less than smooth operating conditions involving agriculture equipment, the operator may not realize brake disc damage is occurring while operating the equipment before irreversible damage is done. In some cases, people outside of the vehicle may hear it, but that is not a practical approach to detecting damaging issues and preventing costly repairs.

What are the consequences of ongoing brake chatter?

Wet brake discs are made from materials with unique and special frictional characteristics so when the brake is activated these discs engage and slow the vehicle in a smooth manner. Consequently, these discs need a fluid with the correct specialized properties that enable the brake discs to operate properly to not suffer damage. Substandard fluids will allow the discs to grab and slip in very rapid succession causing costly damage to the brake discs and in more severe cases noticeable squawk and chatter or shuddering.

How can farmers prevent brake chatter?

The single most important step any operator can take to prevent damage to wet brakes and suffering irritating chatter is using a premium fluid such as Cenex® Qwiklift® HTB® and Cenex® Maxtron® THF+. Cenex THF are specially formulated to protect not only transmission and hydraulic systems but the surface of wet brake discs. In addition, a good maintenance program and regular fluid and filter changes is important to prevent a number of potential breakdowns and costly repairs.

What are some good sources of more information?

Also, checking the owner’s manual is the most accurate way to determine the best product for your machine. If you no longer have the owner’s manual or want to confirm, you can also reference the Cenex Equipment Look-Up Tool. Identifying the early symptoms of brake chatter can save you a world of hurt later. To learn more about Cenex products for your farm equipment, visit our agriculture products page.

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