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The BEST way to use your three-point hitch with ease | Three Point Hitch Maintenance

Neil from Messick's here to talk a little bit with you today about your tractor's three-point hitch and some of the maintenance things that you might want to keep an eye on that make this a little easier to work with. Your tractor's three-point can be a blessing and a curse. It's awesome that we have a universal hookup back here that can adapt to decades' worth of different attachments. The variety of uses for the rear of your tractor and the implements that you can put on your three-point are almost unending, but the standards that were used back here were developed 70, 80 years ago and they haven't really kept up to modern expectations for being easy to work with.
Three-points can be challenging sometimes, and we've made videos about how to attach your implements back here and do it easily. Sometimes we exasperate the difficulty of working with the three-point hitch because of the lack of care and maintenance of the related components back here. That is today's topic. What are the things that we can do in order to make the rear end of the tractor continued to be easy to work with?
The first and most important thing that we can do back here in order to keep your three-point easy to work with is to keep things lubricated. When you look around the back of your tractor here, you got moving pieces and all of the different components of your three-point. Your top links right here are going to screw in and out. There's threading there. The side links have threading. If you have check chains back here on the back, those have threading on it. That threading and the dirty environments that we often tend to work in don't go real hand in hand, so keeping some back end of your tractor as clean as possible. Taking that pressure washer and rinsing the dirt off of the threads and stuff after you're done working can keep those components clean and working a little bit more freely. The other thing that you could do is keep these pieces lubricated. When you go and you have a tractor that's new, the ball ends down here on the end of your three-point, you'll see they move around nice and freely. That's because at this point, there's no rust, there's no dirt, they're not corroded. When you go to slide this three-point hitch arm over top of the pin on your implement, this ball is going to rotate very easily in order to meet that pin and slide right over top. After decades or years of your tractor being outside, being in the work with dirt, being washed with the pressure washer that I was just talking about, these components will start to rust a little bit and then not want to move.
Now the easiest solution to that is usually a big screwdriver or a pry bar in here to work that around and free it up again, but maintenance can also help make that a lot easier. Taking a little bit of multipurpose grease, when you take your grease gun and you go around to your loader and your mower deck and the rest of your machine, take a little bit of that grease, pump it out, put it on your fingers, and then smear it around the ends of this ball, it's going to keep this lubricated, it's going to keep it from rusting, it's going to turn easier. Now, you notice here on a lot of tractors, you don't have zerks back here, but our biggest agricultural machines often do, and they're going to have a spot there in order to pump that grease in. We're often asked what is a good lubricant to use back here, and really just a basic multipurpose grease is going to do the job, you don't really need anything fancy. The same is going to go for your top link. Some top links have grease zerks on them in order to keep those threads lubricated, but many of them don't. If you have a top link that does not have a grease zerk on it, adding just a little bit of grease in here as you screw that in and out is going to keep lubrication on those threads, it's going to keep them from rusting, and it's going to be a lot easier to work with. Another thing that could go a long way to keeping everything back here easy to use is storing things properly.
If you have a tractor with a backhoe on or you're removing portions of your linkage because you're not using them regularly, it's really easy to lose the pins, the cotter pins, the R-Pins, the different arms that are back here, there's a lot of like little bits and pieces. If you don't keep all of those things handy when you go to reinstall this on your tractor, you'll end up doing what I do and often using whatever fits. The one problem that you can have by doing that is if you put pins in these holes that are too small or they're not properly secured and things start to work out, you'll start to wear and egg out these holes prematurely as things slop around. I mean you remember these are load-bearing parts on the back of your tractor, they're pulling an implement, they're bouncing around as you drive, and unnecessary amounts of slop back here can quickly create premature wear on some of these components. I have a particular flail mower that I don't have a proper pin to go into my three-point hitch, and I've often used that now for too many hours with that pin half attached. It's halfway through the hole and it's secured to the back of my tractor but it's really not right. That pin is already not properly securing that implement on the back of my tractor and I'm seeing a lot of extra wear, and it's made it a lot more difficult to get it back on and off my machine. If you remove the linkage, pay close attention to all the pins that are involved, maybe take a picture of all of it with your phone before you remove it so that you can get it reinstalled properly.
There's two more things that are back here on that topic of proper storage that are worth looking at. You'll notice here on this tractor, this comes through with a bungee cord as standard equipment at the back of the tractor. That bungee cord is going to help keep the linkage from slopping back and forth as you're driving your machine around. You'll see a lot of tractors don't come through with anything back here, but it's an easy addition on the back of your machine that helps secure that linkage. I also see a lot of damage done to tractor-top links at times that they're not actually in use. Many times when you go and you attach an implement to the back of your tractor, you end up spinning this top link way out, it's often to its most extended position to be able to get to an implement that's far behind your machine. When you're going through that and you remove that implement from your tractor, the top link, if it's not in the carrier up here at the top, it ends up banging around down here, sticking way back behind the tracker, and if you happen to back into something, say a tree or something in your backyard, that top link in that long extended position is now very easy to bend. That's why you have three-point hitch holders on a lot of these tractors to secure that top link up and out of the way to keep it from bouncing around the back of your tractor, but not all machines are going to have a convenient little holder like this.
At the very least, you want to retract that top link back in, it keeps the threads on the inside of the barrel here, it will keep them from rusting, which as we talked about before, is really good, but you'll also prevent the thing from being bent by keeping it properly stowed. That's a little bit on the storage and cleanliness and lubrication that you can do to your three-point hitch in order to keep everything back here damage free and working properly. If you're new to the back end of a tractor like this, we've done several other videos explaining how to get implements on and off and explaining what the extra holes and stuff are back here on some of these arms. There's a lot of adjustments that can be made back here, and it's frequently very confusing to a new tractor owner. We've got in excess of 700 videos out here on YouTube helping you use your machine better. Hit the subscribe button if you can learn a little bit here at Messick's. If you're shopping for a piece of equipment and we can help, if you got parts and service needs for the machine you've already got, give us a call. We're available at 800-222-3373 or online at

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