Chipping your tractor can come with big consequences


Whether it’s race cars, motorbikes, or tractors, horsepower is about bragging rights, power, and speed. Most farmers appreciate a little more horsepower when they need it to get the job done. Additionally, farmers tend to have a natural talent for alterations to machinery to improve effectiveness.  Some after-market changes are encouraged and do not have a downside, however engine chipping, unlike some tweaks, can have some major downsides. 

Western Equipment Dealer Association CEO, John Schmeiser, says that equipment dealers have grown increasingly concerned about the chipping trend in recent years and the drawbacks some farmers choose to ignore. “Equipment chipping can be done for far less than the price of buying higher-capacity equipment, so you can understand that an equipment owner would listen to that.”

Engine chipping is a cost-effective way for farmers to improve fuel efficiency, boost performance, or modify emission controls. But there are significant drawbacks — especially when your tractor is under warranty.

According to WEDA there three main consequences of chipping are:

  • Equipment manufacturers will void the warranty if operating or emissions software is removed or modified;
  • If equipment is run at higher horsepower, temperature, or groundspeed than it was designed for, it won’t last as long as it should; and,
  • Altering or removing DEF emissions systems is illegal in Canada and the U.S.

Shaun Haney has spoken to several farmers off the record about chipping, and the practice is still happening with off warranty tractors with regularity. No one he spoke with was doing it personally. Not to put too fine a point on it, but as one farmer put it: “If you are chipping tractors on warranty, you are an idiot.”

Hear Larry Hertz, of WEDA, and Shaun Haney discuss the drawbacks to chipping and why you are best to avoid the practice all together.


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