Can You Repair Your Own John Deere Tractor? What the Company Allows

In the world of agricultural equipment, the right to repair one’s own machinery has been a long-standing debate. John Deere, a leading manufacturer of tractors and other farm equipment, has historically been at the center of this controversy. However, recent developments suggest that the company is taking steps to empower its customers to take a more active role in maintaining and repairing their John Deere equipment.

John Deere’s Stance on Repair

According to John Deere, when customers purchase their equipment, they own the physical product and have the freedom to personally maintain or repair it. The company has stated that “less than 2% of all repairs require a software update,” which means that the majority of repairs farmers need to make can be done by the owners themselves.

To support this, John Deere has made various resources available to its customers, including a digital database of do-it-yourself instructions, access to replacement and maintenance parts, and diagnostic tools that can be used to clear codes, take readings, and perform limited calibrations. Additionally, the company’s mobile apps, such as Tractor Plus, provide users with a wealth of diagnostic information at their fingertips.

Agreements and Legislation

In 2023, John Deere entered into a formal agreement with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) to further facilitate farmers’ ability to repair their own equipment. This memorandum of understanding grants farmers and independent repair facilities access to John Deere’s software, tools, and technical documentation, while also emphasizing the importance of maintaining the safety and environmental features of the machines.

Alongside this industry-led initiative, several states in the United States have also enacted legislation to codify the right-to-repair for agricultural equipment. Colorado, for example, became the first state to pass the Consumer’s Right-to-Repair Agricultural Equipment Act, which specifically targets the issue of equipment repairability.

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While these developments represent progress, the future of the right-to-repair movement in the agricultural sector remains uncertain. John Deere has stated that it will continue to work with the AFBF to assess its efforts and propose updates to the memorandum of understanding, but the company has also reserved the option to terminate the agreement if right-to-repair legislation is enacted that it deems unacceptable.

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