Winterizing your tractor for storage isn’t an especially difficult chore, but when you have a lot of other things happening it can be easy to forget a step or two.
As winter weather approaches, these are the areas you should focus on prior to putting your tractor away for the season.
Keeping your tractor out of the harsh winter elements is key for longevity. Sitting idle and exposed in frigid temperatures and wet snow can cause everything from corrosion to cracked engine components. The ideal options for storage are a heated garage or barn. If you don’t have that available, a storage shed or temporary shelter can do the trick. As a last resort, you can also use a heavy, waterproof tarp.
When your tractor has been working hard all season, buildup of dirt and debris is bound to happen. Giving it a deep clean is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. In addition to the tractor itself, make sure to clean all attachments so you’re ready to get back to work as soon as spring rolls around.
Without regular use, the antifreeze in your tractor will likely require some adjustments to stand up to freezing temperatures. Using an antifreeze tester, you can check the freeze point of the fluid to determine if it’s suitable for your climate. The freeze point should be the lowest temperature you expect to hit during the winter months. As an added bonus, antifreeze helps prevent corrosion to your cooling system.
Top Off Fluids
As long as you’re working on adjusting the antifreeze, this is a good opportunity to do some fine-tuning to any other fluids. In addition to coolant, take a look at the hydraulic transmission fluid levels. If your tractor has a windscreen, the washer tank should be full as well. By keeping these topped off during winter months, you prevent condensation from forming in empty spaces and watering everything down.
While tractors typically use diesel fuel, there is a big difference between diesel and gasoline when it comes to winterization. Here are the basics...
Diesel: Diesel fuel engines need some additional attention in cold weather. The wax content in diesel reaches a gelling point when the temperatures drop too low. This prevents it from running through the fuel lines, and can render your tractor unusable until the weather reaches a temperature where it can be remixed. This can be prevented by mixing an anti-gel additive with the fuel prior to storage.
Gasoline: If you’re winterizing other equipment with a gasoline engine, the fuel should be completely drained for the winter. When gasoline sits in the tank unused for months it becomes stale. Stale gas can be problematic for starting the engine and can gunk up other components, too. If you’d prefer to skip draining the tank, make sure to start and run the engine for several minutes a few times each month.
An oil change isn’t absolutely necessary. However, it never hurts to remove dirty, used oil from the system prior to storage. This step positions you for a fast start in the spring and removes a chore you’ll end up doing either way.
Simple physics tells us that colder temperatures cause air molecules to slow their movement and group closer together. Prior to putting your tractor away for the winter, ensure all of the tires are properly inflated. You can expect to see some pressure fluctuation as temperatures rise and fall, but it’s worth monitoring for any dramatic air loss.
If you won’t be using your tractor all winter, leaving the battery connected can cause some serious headaches come spring. The freezing temperatures will drain the power over time and potentially create cracks in the casing which leads to leakage. The ideal way to handle this is to disconnect the battery entirely, remove it from the tractor, and store it somewhere warmer. With a quick jump to recharge it in the spring, you’ll be back in action.
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.
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