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Understanding Your Tractor's Braking System

A critical component of all tractors is the braking system.

There are different types of tractor brakes for the different types of tractors used in the agricultural industry. From the large cornhusker’s tractor air brakes to the front yards of suburbia’s garden tractor brakes, they all have one thing in common: they have to work. And they have to slow and stop properly every time.


Dry brakes include hydraulic drum brakes, hydraulic disc brakes and air disc brakes on tractor-trailers. When used as tractor brakes, each type works great in its application. Drum and disc brakes are the two parent types, with air disc and hydraulic drum variants of each.

Here is a brief explanation of each:

  • Disc Brakes: A caliper with hydraulic fluid squeezes to friction pads against the disc to slow the wheel.

  • Drum Brakes: A piston with hydraulic fluid forces friction shoe pads outward against the drum walls.

  • Air Brakes: Can be drum, disc or a combination, with air pressure providing the power instead of hydraulic fluid.


When you operate heavy farm tractors in difficult conditions, dry tractor brakes may not be enough. Why? Because they’re external and exposed to those conditions. But farm machinery still needs to stop. What can you do? Wet disc brakes could be the answer, though you may have never heard of them before unless you’ve lived on a farm or worked with certain kinds of heavy machinery. Unlike a car’s brakes or your lawn tractor brakes, heavy farm machinery and large construction vehicles sit out and work in the worst conditions, and their brakes can’t fail. How do wet brakes work?

  • Multiple Discs: Wet brakes use multiple discs which are positioned in oil or transmission fluid.

  • Hydraulic Pressure: Hydraulic pressure is used for stopping.

  • Internal Braking: As a result of the oil or fluid used, the discs remain cool and aren’t exposed to mud, debris or extreme weather conditions.

  • Low-Maintenance & Long Life: Seldom is maintenance needed, and the discs last for years.

If you need any further help or have any questions about service, tractors, implements, or anything else equipment-related, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.

If you are looking for old, vintage, classic, or new tractor parts, send us a part request.

Team Tractor Ranch - #1 Tractor Dealer in Arizona. We sell and service most major brands of tractors including Yanmar, Kubota, John Deere, TYM, Mahindra, Kioti, Case, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Deutz, Case IH, Farmall, International Harvester, Branson Tractors, LS, Shibura, Claas Tractor, McCormick Tractors, Valtra, Solis, YTO, Montana, and Nortrac.

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