Winter Farm Equipment Maintenance Tips You Need to KnowChris Beerman
Running your tractor and other equipment in winter requires special machine maintenance.
If you’re not careful you can damage expensive equipment just because of the cold.
Thankfully there are a few simple steps you can take to properly winterize your heavy machinery.
Keep reading to learn more about winter equipment maintenance and storage.
Winter Equipment Maintenance Basics
Many of the basic machine maintenance for winter applies during regular use as well. You should still perform regular inspections and try to keep your equipment clean and free from debris.
In winter these maintenance requirements become more vital as the cold weather puts additional strain on metal parts.
When you’re prepping your tractor or other equipment for winter weather try and give it a thorough cleaning before the first freeze. This way you can really scrub it down and remove any built-up soil, manure, or vegetation. Once it drops below freezing you can’t just pressure wash it off and cleaning becomes much more difficult.
Mud and other moist debris that’s against metal parts will likely freeze in deep winter. This increases the risk of both expansion damage and corrosion from the constant contact with ice and water.
If you’re going to be frequently using your equipment during cold weather it’s very important you exchange its fluids. Use lower viscosity fluids designed with much lower freezing points. If you don’t take this step you risk serious damage to your engine from frozen fluids expanding inside the lines.
It’s a good idea to replace the engine, transmission, and hydraulic fluids and filters all at once. This way you ensure there aren’t any summer weight oils or other fluids missed.
Use the Right Fuel
Many people don’t realize that you should use different diesel variants for winter conditions. You need to switch from using #2 diesel to #1 diesel. At lower temperatures, summer diesel will gel up and cause your engine to work much harder than it needs to.
If you use your equipment frequently and purchase your fuel in small batches your distributor will handle this for you. If you’ve had a tank full of diesel sitting in some equipment since early autumn or if you buy your fuel in bulk and store it this becomes more of a problem.
Winter Storage vs Winter Use
The biggest difference in winter maintenance comes down to whether you’re operating machinery in the winter or simply storing it. There are different tasks you should carry out for each one.
If you plan to store your equipment it’s a good idea to disconnect the battery or hook it up to a trickle charger. You should also make sure that any diesel exhaust fluid is stored in the original container and not in a pump or dispenser. It has a much higher freeze point than many other fluids.
As a rule, you should always try to at least cover your equipment to prevent snow buildup. If you find that you need to use your equipment mid-winter make sure you follow proper start-up procedures and allow the engine to reach the proper temperature.
Protect Your Investment
Heavy machinery is one of the biggest investments a farmer will make. Make sure you follow proper equipment maintenance procedures to extend the life of your investment.
Feel free to get in touch if you have questions or concerns about your equipment this winter, we’re always happy to help.