What are tractor ‘Wet Brakes’?

I was lucky enough to grow up on a family farm where there were always fun things to do. Sometimes my father had to inform me that a certain job was, indeed, fun. I had no idea that people stood in line for a chance to shovel manure or bail hay on a sweltering August day. But dad claimed they did & that I should have appreciated the opportunity.

Mid-winter was always equipment maintenance time on the farm. Everything we owned (usually third hand) was given a full inspection and repaired as necessary. One of those “necessary” repairs always seemed to be the brakes on at least one of our tractors. Back in those days tractor brakes were mounted inside the rear wheels, similar to a car design. Tractors with this system worked ok. Except when left in the hands of 2 teenage boys who watched too much ‘Dukes of Hazzard’  (But that’s a story for another day.) Most modern tractors have graduated to a Wet Brake System.

Wet Brakes are a disc style brake system that gets mounted inside the tractor and literally runs in the Transmission fluid. Hence the name “wet brakes”. The advantage of this design is that the brakes run cooler and are kept out of the elements. What that means for us is no brake maintenance for years and years.

Wet Brakes are far superior to the old conventional design. Over the years I have heard reports of brake “chatter” which always seems to be the result of using the wrong tractor fluid. Proper fluid will be labeled “Premium” and will be advertised for wet brakes. When you are shopping for your next tractor, insist on Wet Brakes.

Maybe next time we’ll talk about what my father called “the art of proper castration” Then again…Maybe not…




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