John Deere Tractors —we’re all familiar with the brand but just like anything else it’s not perfect and the brand’s 1020 tractor is no different.
The John Deere 1020 tractor is a 2WD utility machine that hails from the New Generation series.
This powerful machine comes with most bells and whistles only found in much higher priced models.
That said, let’s take a look at 6 common problems with a John Deere 1020 tractor and their fixes.
6 Common Problems with a John Deere Tractor and Their Fixes
1. Engine Won’t Start
Perhaps the most common problem with the John Deere 1020 tractor is that the engine won’t start, and there are several reasons for the issue.
The reasons include the transmission gearshift lever is in the wrong position, fuel shutoff valve is closed, and clogged air filter.
How to Fix?
If the John Deere 1020 tractor fails to start, the first thing to check is if the gearshift lever is in the right position, which is neutral.
Next, open the hood and check whether the battery connections are secured and not corroded.
Further, take a closer look at the fuel shutoff valve to ensure it is open at the water separator.
Speaking of fuel, check the level of fuel in the fuel tank, and top it up if needed.
If you haven’t used your tractor for a while, great chances are that the fuel in the tank has gone stale so you’ll have to drain the fuel and refill new fuel at the right capacity.
Lastly, remove the air filter, clean it if it’s clogged, and reinstall it.
2. Loader Won’t Go Up
The loader of the John Deere 1020 tractor is powered by a hydraulic system, which can experience several issues, causing the loader to fail to go up or down.
The hydraulic system is fitted with couplers, which can get dirty or malfunction.
How to Fix?
In most models, the hydraulic system is equipped with four couplers. You’ll have to uninstall all four and check them individually for damage.
If there’s no signs of damage, clean the couplers and reinstall them in the machine.
3. Engine Leaking Oil
Just like a vehicle, it’s common for the engine of a John Deere tractor to leak oil.
This issue can be caused by a cracked oil seal, faulty or damaged drain plug and not using the right type of oil.
How to Fix?
The oil seals of the John Deere 1020 tractor are located just above the blades and under the engine.
Since you’re dealing with oil, you’ll have to get down and dirty to check and fix the oil seals so put some gloves on and wear clothing that you can afford to throw away.
Remove the oil seal and check it for damage, and if damaged replace with a new one.
To change the oil of the John Deere 1020 tractor, you have to remove the drain plug.
If the cap to the oil tank isn’t secured on tight and is lose, oil will leak out of this part of the engine.
Always use the right oil recommended for the John Deere 1020 tractor.
If you use the wrong type of oil, it may leak through the engine cap even though it may be fitted on tight.
4. Poor Power at Low RPMs
There may be times when your John Deere 1020 tractors runs fine at high RPMs but runs like a snail at low RPMs.
Furthermore, the tractor may fail to start in cold weather.
This isn’t a common issue but there are several things that can cause it, starting with stale oil in the tank.
How to Fix?
Start by taking a closer look at the oil in the tank. If it’s old, drain the oil and refill new oil.
Water may have also leaked into the fuel tank, which can cause the oil to get saturated and spoilt.
Next, check the spark plugs —if one or more is damaged or old, it can affect the power of the engine.
5. Tractor Overheating
When I hear the words tractor overheating, the first thing that comes to mind is a damaged or failed water pump.
When a water pump is damaged or fails, the tractor will overheat.
This problem is actually simple to diagnose when the gauge on the dash shooting straight to the red.
How to Fix?
The John Deere 1020 tractor’s water pump is expensive, around $200 and in most cases should be repaired by a professional.
You can buy an aftermarket water pump but I’d steer clear of those products as they may be built of poor quality and can cause long-term damage to the tractor.
6. PTO Drive Loss
One of the noteworthy features of the John Deere 1020 tractor is its PTO system.
This PTO system may stop driving due to many reasons, most commonly a damaged hydraulic system.
How to Fix?
If the PTO system isn’t getting enough power or isn’t working at all, check the hydraulic pump, because it is the component responsible for driving the PTO.
Next, check whether the clutch solenoid is defective or if the clutch is worn out, for which a replacement is needed.
Maintenance Tips to Avoid Future Problems with John Deere 1020 Tractor
Here are a few key tips to avoid John Deere 1020 tractor problems.
- Always refer to your owner’s manual before repairing anything on the John Deere 1020 tractor. Doing so will prevent you from making costly mistakes.
- If you’re planning to use your John Deere 1020 tractor after an expended period of time, pop the hood and check the engine compartment for birds, rodents and other varmints who may have set up house while you weren’t looking.
- It’s a good idea to clean your radiator and all its screens using compressed air. The radiator is an essential component of the John Deere tractor that is designed to allow the engine to dissipate heat. While you’re at it, use compressed air to clean the air filter of the John Deere 1020 tractor.
- Check and tighten the John Deere tractor’s wheel bolts, aka lug nuts each time before using the tractor.
- When lubricating the John Deere 1020 tractor’s grease points, avoid mixing grease formulations because some may be incompatible with react with one another in different ways.
- Speaking of lubricants, monitor the oil levels regularly especially during extreme weather conditions and perform oil changes regularly.
- Keep tabs on the engine area and make sure the pumps, and pressure caps are tightly secured.
- Check the tires for wear and tear regularly, and replace if needed.
- Don’t forget about regular professional maintenance because this can save you from expensive repairs moving forward.
What Quality Issues do John Deere Have?
The most common problems with John Deere are:
- Engine issues such as the engine won’t start or lacking power
- The tractor heats up too much
- The tractor emits black exhaust smoke
- Clogged or faulty carburetor
- Overheating due to a broken water pump or the wrong level of engine oil
- Rust damage
- The tractor fails to move
- The tractor cuts grass unevenly
Is John Deere Equipment Reliable?
John Deere is an esteemed name in its is space and is known to produce some of the most durable machines in the world.
If you ask any farmer in the country, you will seldom hear complaints about John Deere equipment.
However, there are new brands in the market that are a few notches ahead of the John Deere brand such as Kubota and Massey Ferguson Limited.
The John Deere 1020 tractor is a powerful machine but does have its downsides.
However, it’s worth noting that these issues occur after years of use, and most can be easily fixed.
If you aren’t sure how to fix a certain issue even after reading the owner’s manual, I suggest having the John Deere 1020 tractor looked at by a professional.
I’m Bryan Livingstone, a farmer with 21 years of experience, and I founded FarmingHandbook.com to share the wisdom I’ve gathered. Inspired by my own handbook, this site is your ultimate guide to all things farming. Read More!