Power Take-Offs (PTO) can be found on the back of most small or compact tractors and even construction machinery. A PTO shaft is attached to the PTO of the tractor and also attachment which is powered to rotate and create drive to equipment. However, it is also one of the most dangerous parts on a tractor. A PTO shaft with a faulty or broken guard can catch anything that comes too close, and wrap it around itself before anyone can react. In many cases loose clothes, hair or even jewelry can become tangled up and cause an accident. In this blog we look at how to be safe around a PTO, and how to maintain its safety.

PTO shaft

General PTO Shaft Safety

  • PTO guards should always be in place and well-maintained. If the guards or any other component on the PTO shaft is broken or worn the PTO shaft should be replaced immediately – we stock various sizes and types here.
  • Disengage the PTO, turn off the tractor and ensure that it is stationary before cleaning, repairing, servicing or adjusting machinery.
  • Never step over a rotating shaft.
  • Always use your machine’s recommended driveline, and never switch them between machines.
  • Ensure that the PTO driveline is securely locked onto the tractor PTO stub shaft.
  • Position the tractor’s drawbar correctly for each machine so stress is decreased on the driveline on uneven ground or turns, to prevent separation.
  • Avoid tight turns which pinch the rotating shafts between the tractor and the attachment.
  • Engage power to the PTO shaft gradually.
  • Keep an overlap of at least 40% between the two ends of the PTO.
  • Avoid overtightening of slip clutches on PTO-driven machines.
  • Wear close-fitting clothing and keep hair back while working around the PTO.

PTO Shafts

PTO Shaft Lubrication & Maintenance

  • Keep universal joints in phase (properly aligned in a parallel manner).
  • Grease the PTO regularly. Most models available from Farm Tech Supplies have grease nipples for easy lubrication of the driveline, but the splines will need to be greased separately. Have a grease gun to hand for regular maintenance of both your PTO shaft and tractor attachments.
  • Ensure the telescope action is functioning correctly before use.
  • Ensure the external chain is secured to both the tractor and the machine to stop the guard spinning.
  • Check that the yokes and bearings are not worn.
  • The spring in the locking mechanism on the splines must be working.
  • Ensure that any shear bolt or slip clutch upgrades are properly attached.
  • Make sure that the PTO operates within its recommended speed and power rating, this is 540 RPM for all Farm Tech Supplies compact tractor attachments.
  • Do not over-grease because this will attract dirt.
  • Regularly clean the shaft with penetrating oil.
  • Ensure that the draw-bar pins on the attachment do not foul or damage the PTO shaft or guard.

If you are ever unsure about proper PTO shaft use or maintenance contact Farm Tech Supplies or any local agricultural engineer for advice. We only stock complete PTO shafts for safety and always recommend replacing PTO shafts as soon as you notice it is worn or damaged.