Tractor wet-braking systems have some advantages over dry-braking systems, but they are also at risk of annoying and potentially damaging brake chatter. Farmers would notice this as loud squeaking and possibly vibration when braking. Not only can chatter be distracting, but it can also cause damage if not addressed.

Most new tractors contain wet-brake systems. These are brakes that are encased in the tractor’s axle housing, as opposed to dry brakes, which are not lubricated. Wet brakes are bathed in oil, which cools them under heavy loads, protects them from dust/dirt debris and reduces brake disc wear.

Inadequate interaction of the oil additives and metal during braking can cause chatter. Specific causes include:

  • Excessive fluid degradation
  • Significant water contamination of fluid
  • Insufficient lubrication of the brake discs
  • Degradation of friction material from heavy braking

To avoid brake chatter, farmers should use high-performance tractor hydraulic fluids; if chatter occurs, the fluid should be changed immediately. As a rule of thumb, most oil companies and OEMs selling high-performance fluids will spell out these attributes on the label:

  • Chemically engineered specifically for farm tractors and other off-highway equipment, with OEM specifications listed
  • Multipurpose, enabling lubrication of a tractor’s transmission, final drives, clutches, wet brakes and hydraulic systems
  • Prevents brake chatter/provides excellent wet-brake performance
  • High water tolerance, excellent wear protection and high oxidation resistance

To help farmers stop and/or prevent brake chatter, is verifying high-performance brands through its Authenticated mark. These brands meet OEM specifications and have earned the Authenticated mark: