Q&A TECH TALK - Equipment Inspections

posted on Friday, January 6, 2023 in Blog

Equipment Inspections Blog

A new year is here, and the new farming season will be here soon. Preparing your equipment before the new season starts is key to maximizing uptime and limiting downtime. Regular inspections and maintenance extend the lifespan of your equipment by spotting issues early, preventing repairs, and offsetting the need to replace equipment early. Avoid the costly in-season downtime and take advantage of winter downtime by planning and scheduling inspections at your True North Equipment John Deere Dealer. We currently have several inspection options available, including standard inspections, in-field checks, and planter test stands.

This month’s blog will take you through the key areas that should be looked at when inspecting your equipment. Whether you inspect your equipment on your own, or bring it to True North, here are the 7 key areas to look at.

The 7 Key Areas of Equipment Inspections

1. Hydraulics
Examine the hydraulic oil and filter, changing if required. Cross-reference your manual, ensuring that your fluid levels and grade are correct. Check the hydraulic tanks breathers, change filters as necessary, and ensure that the suction hose is in good shape and clean the suction filter inside the tank. Make sure that the hose is not damaged or leaking. Test the hydraulic system to ensure that it reaches the operating temperature. Additionally, inspect the hydraulic oil cooler and mounts, as well as the cooler shrouding. On the latter, make sure that it is free of cracks and that the foam is present. Finally, check the oil grade and condition of the final drive/differential.

2. Engine
Prior to colder weather arriving, change out your oil and filter to the proper oil grade for the winter months. Take a coolant sample, checking the coolant level and condition. As you are doing this, look for any leaks and repair as necessary. Inspect the engine fan belt, ensuring that it has the proper tension and not cracked or damaged. Look for leaks, rubber damage or any debris on the engine balancers, and replace any parts based on your owner’s manual. Monitor your engine, ensuring that it achieves and maintains the running temperature. Also, look at the coolant temperature going in and out of the heat exchanger of the cab, and confirm that the defrost ducts are present and functioning, keeping windows clear. Make sure that the radiator and mounts are in good condition. Check the charge air, including mounts, rubbers tubes and clamps. Finally, take a fuel sample and ensure that the fuel and your reservoir are in good shape and that there is no water on the bottom. If you are equipped with an engine or block heater, test and confirm that it will reach the recommended operating temperature.

3. Electrical Components
Check the machine start and connectors, confirming everything works. Perform a starter test, making sure it is not drawing too much power, and measure the voltage drop on your starter cables. Inspect all high tension wires for wear marks or loose fasteners, as well as all grounds and ground straps, ensuring they are well fastened. Refresh your battery, cleaning and washing the battery box and casing, and remove battery wires and clean all battery terminals and spray protectant on the battery posts. Plan to test your batteries individually to see if they are working properly. Finally, load test your alternator and confirm that the output is to spec.

4. Differentials
Take oil samples, and cross reference the oil grade with the service manual based on the temperature of operation. If required, change the oil and filter. Additionally, inspect the magnetic drain plug for debris if equipped. Finally, check for any leaks or overfilling.

5. Operator Cab
Check the wiper motor (if equipped) and replace wiper blades as needed. Make sure your cab bulbs and window and doors sealers are present and in good working order. Referring to your maintenance manual, make sure that the escape hatch is functional and, if equipped, check the fire suppression system. Work with your dealer to make sure any software on your machine is up-to-date.

6. Transmission
Make sure your transmission is ready to go, taking an oil sample to check the type and grade. Reference your service manual and replace based on the temperature of operation. Check the cooler and mount, as well as drivelines. As you inspect, look for any leaks and keep an eye out for wires rubbing. Finally, make sure the gears are smooth while shifting up or down, and ensure that the temperature and performance is within specs. If required, calibrate your transmission.

7. Undercarriage
Perform a machine walk around, evaluating the undercarriage. Inspect the machine rollers, ensuring that you can access the fasteners. Also, check the tires, look at their condition and replace them as needed. Examine the chains, looking for any wear and needed maintenance.

True North Equipment -Service Inspection _Warren MN

True North Equipment Inspection Services

True North Equipment technicians know what to look for and can find/repair trouble spots before they become bigger issues. Continue on to see what we have to offer for your equipment.

Planter Test Stands

Bring your planter row units into True North Equipment for a full inspection and testing on our test stand. Make sure to bring your complete row unit and the seed you plan to run, and we’ll take care of getting it ready to go on day one of planting!**

Available Dates & Locations:
Mahnomen & Thief River Falls Locations | February 27th, 2023 through March 3rd, 2023

Warren & Kennedy Locations | March 6th, 2023 through March 10th, 2023

Grand Forks & Northwood Locations | March 13th, 2023 through March 17th, 2023

Grafton Location | March 20th, 2023 through March 24th, 2023


Inspections & Optimization 

Standard In-Shop Inspection; combines, sprayers, tractors, & air-seeders, 

  • Free trucking of equipment (within 50 miles of True North Location)
  • 12-month warranty on John Deere parts installed by our technicians
  • 6-month warranty on other parts
  • Flexible financing options

In-Field Combine Inspection, 

  • Machine walk-around and visual Inspection focusing on everyday wear items
  • Recommended parts list

 All Inspections Include: 

  • 6-month warranty on purchased parts 
  • 12-month warranty on parts and labor when installed by a dealer 
  • Flexible financing options, including no payments and no interest, when using your John Deere Multi-Use Account (available on purchases $1,000 and over, other terms and conditions may apply).

True North Equipment Mahnomen

Inspections are available throughout the year to help you prepare your equipment season after season.  

Visit our Inspections page for more information on inspections, pricing, and special offers. 


**Repair services & parts are not included in test stand pricing. Bring row units ready for testing - proper seed plates, brushes, knockout wheels, doubles eliminators, etc. along with a one-gallon container with the seed you would like to run through the unit. Planter test stands may be scheduled on the farm or in the shop outside of the listed dates/locations. Those test stands will be charged the standard shop labor rate of $170/hour.