Modern Tractors: How Different Features Can Improve Efficiency

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Modern Tractors: How Different Features Can Improve Efficiency
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Modern Tractors: How Different Features Can Improve Efficiency

Since the introduction of the first tractor in 1892 in Clayton County, Iowa, the design, uses, and features of tractors evolved slowly over the next 100-plus years. Now used around the world by individuals young and old, modern tractors help farmers, gardeners, construction workers, and others work quickly and efficiently, thanks to advancing technology, including electrical or computer controls, load-sensing technology, GPS devices, auto-steer systems, and other automated features.

Learning about tractor types, such as backhoe loader, front loader, and garden tractors, helps shoppers get to know more about specific models and which ones offer the features necessary to do the job at hand. Also becoming familiar with top tractor brands like John Deere Tractors, Massey Ferguson Tractors, New Holland Tractors, Case IH Tractors, and Ford Tractors can help shoppers find the perfect tractor for their needs. So before deciding on a tractor model, read about modern tractor features that can take a project or job to the next level.

Types of Tractors

Choosing the perfect tractor starts with the type of tractor. Options range from utility and garden tractors to EPA and road tractors. When searching for a new or used model, make sure to consider engine size, hitch equipment, transmission type, tyre and drive systems, and other features. Making an informed choice can mean the difference between buying a fully functional model or choosing a model that does not include the necessary components and features needed. The follow sections provide a description of different tractor types.

Compact Utility Tractor

Compact Utility Tractors (CUTs) resemble a smaller version of an agricultural tractor, but instead they are primarily used for landscaping tasks. These tractor types commonly come with a mid-mounted Power Take Off (PTO), 20 to 50 horsepower, and a front-end loader. Many modern CUTs come with a Roll Over Protection Structure.

Farm Tractor

Most often, farmers use farm tractors for ploughing, harrowing, or pulling agricultural equipment. These tractor types typically feature an open vehicle with large wheels and operator floor pedals. Closed cab models are also available.

Engineering Tractor

Engineering tractors typically feature buckets, rippers, hoes, and dozer blades, as well as other features commonly used for engineering work. Oftentimes, bulldozers are used in these functions because of their tracked-type tractor that features a blade up front and rope-winch in the back.

Front Loader

A front loader or loader tractor features two hydraulic-powered arms and a tilting implement. Common attachments include a bucket, pallet fork, and bale grappler. These models are sometimes smaller to allow for movement into tight spaces or for smaller excavation projects.

Backhoe Loader

The backhoe loader sees use mainly in the construction industry. With a loader assembly on the front and backhoe, these trackers are often used for digging holes, paving roads, transporting building materials, and small demolitions.

Garden (Mowing) Tractor

Garden tractors usually come in smaller sizes for the purposes of domestic gardening and ploughing. This equipment often possesses strong axles, transmissions, and frames. Other items, such as sweepers, cultivators, harrows, and rollers can be used in conjunction with the garden tractor.

EPA Tractor

An EPA tractor resembles a car, truck, or lorry, but it does not have passenger space behind the front seats. It comes equipped with two gearboxes in a row to provide speed needed for loading heavy weights.

Road Tractor

As heavy-duty vehicles, road tractors feature large engines and several axles. Most road tractors pull semi-trailers over long distances.

Tractor Features That Help Improve Efficiency

Modern tractors offer users a plethora of features that can help improve productivity, which oftentimes means making more money for businesses or finishing projects quicker for individuals. Whether ploughing ground for a home garden using a smaller garden tractor or excavating a site with a front loader, using the right features can make a world of difference. The following table describes common tractor features, including auto-steering systems, GPS devices, and on-board computer control units.

Tractor Feature


GPS Device

Helps in precision farming; saves money; allows tending to fields during the day or night, as well as a variety of weather conditions

Power Take Off (PTO)

Used to power various farm implements and attachments; power provided by the engine of the tractor; connects via a shaft

Auto-Steering System

Uses GPS signals to steer tractor in straight lines; removes human error, such as overlapping or skipping rows; More efficient

Load-Sensing Technology

Reduces fuel consumption and provides the necessary horsepower when needed most; allows for the use of larger attachments

On-board Computer

Allows for easy programming when out in the field; can set such features as maximum lift height, valve flow rates, and other systems


Allows communication between the tractor, farmer, other pieces of equipment, and the dealer; allows remote diagnostic of problems

The above table represents the more common tractor features available. When purchasing a tractor, shoppers should ask the seller which features a tractor has, as well as if new features have become available that would help improve the tractor's efficiency. If so, these features can be purchased and added later to the tractor. But make sure any parts bought match the specific tractor model.

Other Considerations for Modern Tractors

When selecting a tractor, also keep in mind other considerations, such as engine type and size, transmission type, braking system, tyres, and other features. Make sure to select systems that can handle the task at hand. For help figuring out what a particular job type requires, such as tasks required for landscaping, consult a tractor specialist or visit the tractor manufacturer's website. These key parts and components also help make modern tractors more efficient in the field.

Regular Tractor Maintenance

Keep in mind that buying a tractor is a long-term commitment. So tractor owners should take care of that investment through regular maintenance, which can maximize the equipment's life cyle to 20 to 30 years in some cases, or longer if it sees minimal use. This length of service more than justifies the price tag that tractors command.

Checking Fluids

First, check fluids on a regular basis. This includes both hydraulic and regular oil, water, and fuel. The tractor's joints also require lubricating from time to time, and this also helps extend the life of the tractor. For the most part, owners can accomplish basic tractor maintenance easily, especially if they stick to a regular schedule. Tractor owners can find parts online or at their local dealer.

Maintenance Services

While a majority of tractor owners might complete these maintenance activities on their own, many dealers also offer preventative maintenance services to their customers. One of the primary jobs of the dealer to the owner, after purchasing a tractor, falls in the area of tractor maintenance. Not only should they help an owner properly care for their tractor, but they should also provide owners with easy access to any parts and supplies needed to keep the tractor running. Maintenance contracts offer a simple way for tractor owners to keep to a maintenance schedule. Better yet, most dealers can accomplish the required maintenance at the owner's location if needed.

Popular Tractor Brands

While all tractors might seem the same to some shoppers, several brands tend to stand out above the rest. The section below contains some of the more popular brands of modern tractors currently available. For more available brands and models, check a local dealership or search online at product marketplaces like eBay.

Find Tractors on eBay

Buying products online at eBay offers convenience and even lower prices for businesses and individuals who want an easy and affordable shopping experience. The eBay marketplace offers thousands of products, including tractors and associated parts. To do a search for the products of your choice, just enter keywords into the search box on any eBay page. Use terms like "Kubota compact tractor" or "Bobcat tractor", for example, to begin searching. After viewing the list of results, to cull them down even further, just click on the categories options to display only the listings that detail the particular item interested in.

Also, if you need more help searching eBay's marketplace, visit eBay's search tips page, which offers helpful hints as to what to do if you're seeing too many results. Another great resource is the many eBay shops, which provide even more product options, including tractors and tractor parts.

Before finalizing your purchase, remember to check the seller's feedback rating. This rating provides valuable information about the seller's previous transaction history, including product quality and customer service.


When purchasing a tractor, shoppers should know what features they need for the jobs at hand and then look for either new or used tractors with those features. For businesses, farmers, and landscapers especially, in order to compete in today's market, tractors should come with such features as GPS or on-board computers. For instance, to make planting a crop easier, use an auto-steering system or load-sensing technology. And through the innovation that telematics offers, tractors can indicate when a problem occurs.

Regardless of the type of tractor needed, maintenance becomes a big part of keeping a tractor running for years and decades to come. Tractor owners should consult the dealer's recommended maintenance schedule. When buying a tractor, shoppers can look at a local dealership or online through sites such as eBay for a variety of new and used tractor options. Just remember that when buying a tractor, always look for features that help improve efficiency and make projects go smoother and faster.

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