What do you need to know about utility tractors?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

There is a wide variety of utility tractors on the market today. Deciding which tractor is right for you depends on how you plan on using it. Utility tractors are great if you live on a small farm or if your lawn-maintenance needs are too complicated for just a garden tractor or a compact tractor to handle.

Driving a utility tractor isn't as difficult as it might appear. It used to be that in order to drive one of these machines you'd have to know how to handle a manual transmission. In the last few years, however, more and more utility tractors have been made with Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT). If you know how to drive a car with an automatic transmission, you won't have any problem with handling a CVT. Another key factor in choosing a utility tractor is the amount of power that you'll need. Torque is the power that an engine supplies to a utility tractor's attachments. The higher an engine's torque rating, the more efficiently it supplies power at low speeds to attachments. More efficiency translates into less wear and tear on the engine.


The main difference between utility tractors and light-duty garden tractors is that the utility-tractor attachments allow you to do much more than just mow. Although these attachments are heavy, they're fairly simple to install and remove. All utility-tractor attachments come with a power take-off (PTO) and a three-point hitch. Another thing that sets a utility tractor apart is its tremendous power, because of which certain safety precautions need to be taken before using a utility tractor. For example, a Roll-Over Protection Structure will decrease the likelihood of your tractor tipping over. Finally, it's a good idea to purchase a tractor that automatically locks the ignition once the PTO has been activated.