It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
While you’re warm and cozy by the fire on Christmas day, spare a thought for the lonely tractors across the country. They’re locked safe, sound and cold in the sheds. Or are they?
If you don’t take proper care and maintain your tractor over winter, you could find a nasty shock when it comes to spring. To prevent tractor breakdowns next year, follow this simple checklist now, before the snow even hits the ground.
Take off the GPS.
Drive your tractor into the shed, make sure there are no leaks in the roof, then roll up your sleeves to start the tractor maintenance checklist.
Take off the GPS. In fact, if there are any detachable monitors, screens and devices in the tractor that can be taken off, do so now. Not only will this mean you lose less if the tractor itself is stolen, but you’re also protecting the tech.
Cold weather isn’t good for delicate circuit boards and technology. Neither is damp as the snow starts to thaw. Store the tech inside where it won’t drain the battery or get damaged.
Change her oil.
The best time to change the oil in your tractor is before the weather turns cold. Any sediments that are in the oil from using your tractor will solidify over winter and the cold snowy weather – this makes them near impossible to flush out once it comes to spring.
Change your oil late November to early December, or whenever your last tractor use will be. Fresh oil without sediments will keep fine in your tractor over winter.
Condition her fuel.
Make a toast and give your tractor a nightcap before it hibernates over winter. Adding fuel conditioner to the diesel tank before freezing weather will improve the quality.
Once spring is here, your tractor will be ready to roll immediately.
Find a good quality conditioner that’s recommended for your machine and use as directed by the manufacturers. Take into consideration how much fuel is in your tractor, too.
Get her running every 3 weeks.
Don’t take her out of the shed, just get her running in there every 3 weeks or so. You can check up on her more often if you really want.
No matter how cold and blizzardy it gets outside, you need to check on the tractor and fire her up. Getting the engine running will thaw out any parts that are beginning to freeze. You’ll also be able to see where any potential damage is being done due to the cold weather.
Once very important place to check every 3 weeks is the battery…
Check how full the batteries are.
Cold weather wreaks havoc on dormant batteries. Over time, batteries will begin to lose their charge. If you have an old tractor this will happen quicker than you’re expecting.
It’s important to not let the batteries drain of charge completely over winter as once they are empty, the freezing weather can kill them completely. How much time and money will it cost you to replace the battery at the last minute come spring?
If you weren’t able to detach the electronics and tech in your tractor, you may want to check on the battery every 2 weeks instead as they will be draining the battery slowly too.
Keep her warm.
No, we don’t mean toasty warm with hot water bottles and a wooly hat. But a little common sense when it comes to storing your tractor goes a long way.
For example, don’t keep your tractor stored in a warehouse on the other side of the farm. If you know for sure that one location will be at least a few degrees warmer than everywhere else over winter, put the tractor there. You might have a shed adjoining your house, for example, where it may be a few degrees warmer than the shed at the back of the field, exposed to the elements.
Finally, check what anti-freeze you are using. You need a good strength one to last you over winter, but don’t over-do it. Adding too much anti-freeze can do some damage.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and battle the temptation to top up over winter as the temperature drops further.
Let us know of any more tractor maintenance tips you have for over winter below in the comments. What are you doing over winter to ensure next year is a successful one?