23 October in


What is Tractor Fluid?

Tractors and other agricultural and industrial mobile equipment often use a common sump for operational fluid. This fluid is common in the sense that it lubricates and cools multiple systems such as the hydraulic pumps, PTO drives, transmission gear set, wet brakes, auxiliary systems, etc.

Because of the multiple demands on this fluid, it must:

  • Be very robust
  • Retain stable viscosity control
  • Keep the systems clean
  • Control moisture ingress
  • Have very good anti-wear properties

This multi-functional fluid has various industry accepted names such as Tractor Fluid, Tractor Hydraulic Fluid, TDH (Trans, Drivetrain, Hydraulic), Universal Tractor Fluid, and UTTO (Universal Tractor Transmission Oil), to name a few.

How has Tractor Fluid Evolved with Newer Technology?

For many years, major equipment manufacturers have designed and enforced specifications for use in the equipment they manufacture. And although they are made in different locations and use somewhat differing engineering and technology, the overall specification and design of the fluid used is relatively the same.

For example: John Deere has specified fluid meeting their J-20C spec as the minimum requirement. Likewise, Case has mandated fluid meeting MAT 3525 as the minimum requirement. Other major equipment brands have done the same. Most major oil brands offer Universal Tractor Fluid products which meet these industry standard requirements for these legacy specifications.

In more recent years, equipment manufacturers have moved to lower viscosity fluids. This transition offers benefits to both manufacturers and actual users such as:

  • Improved fuel consumption ratings for higher overall equipment efficiency
  • Lower temperature startup
  • The ability to be used as a year-round, all-weather fluid

The technical requirements of the fluids have remained very similar but incorporated into lower viscosity formulations. This trend is increasingly common in modern equipment.

Tractor Fluid and CVT Technology

We are seeing major advances in tractor transmission design, specifically with CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) technology. Whereas traditional transmissions use gear sets which shift up and down, CVT technology uses a series of cone shaped pulleys and belts to adjust the gear ratios indefinitely. This allows increased equipment speed control and can help improve overall equipment operating efficiency by keeping the engine RPM and power curve in its efficiency sweet spot.

However, this transmission design change forces the fluid being used to also change to keep up. The cone and belt design stresses the fluid in different ways verses traditional designs, thus the fluid must be engineered to cope with those stresses. The frictional properties and other design parameters must also change.

Traditional Tractor Fluids on the market could not meet the unique demands of the new CVT transmission designs, so new specifications have been issued:

The most common one on the market today is used by Case IH and is called MAT 3540. Case IH offers their own branded fluid for this new specification under the brand names HY-TRAN ULTRACTION and MASTERTRAN ULTRACTION. This fluid is dyed red to make it easier to identify the product once in service.

KLONDIKE Universal Red Tractor Fluid

KLONDIKE Universal Red Tractor Fluid utilizes advanced, alternate fluid chemistry from our legacy Universal Tractor Fluid, and is specifically designed to meet the new MAT 3540 specification from Case IH. To match the OEM fluid, this product is dyed red and is suitable as a top up or complete replacement fluid for MAT 3540 applications.

In addition, all the previous generation specifications for the other major equipment brands are also met, making this fluid a true, one-size-fits-all fluid technology for many different equipment makes and models, from very new, to aging equipment.

For more technical information, please visit the KLONDIKE Universal Red Tractor Fluid product page.


KLONDIKE Lubricants Corporation is an independent Canadian company with oils and lubricants distribution facilities in:
Greater Vancouver, BC ● Edmonton, AB ● Winnipeg, MB ● Greater Toronto, ON ● Moncton, NB