If you want to maintain your tractor in good condition and be able to use it in the long term, storing it properly during the winter is a priority. Even expensive tractors with good tractor seats, parts, and engines that are quite reliable can get damaged if you leave them outside in the cold and humid winter. To avoid costly and annoying repairs, read on and see how you can winterize your tractor correctly.
Where to store your tractor during winter?
How you store your tractor over the winter will influence the way it will work in spring when you’ll need to start using it again. A tractor’s elements can be quite sensitive to cold temperatures, snow, or ice.
A perfect storage place for your tractor is one where it can be safe from humidity and low temperatures. Garages or barns are usually the optimum storage choices and they are all the more useful if you also have a system that allows you to control the temperatures there.
Nonetheless, many tractor owners don’t have such a place or sufficient space in their garage to store their tractor. If this is also your case, there are other options for you to store your tractor correctly during the winter.
A shed or a barn that you can build yourself are good alternatives and you don’t have to use a lot of materials as they don’t need a foundation. Also, these are nonbuilding projects which means they don’t require construction permits that are often hard to get.
You don’t need to invest a lot of time or money in building a shed or a barn. Moreover, you can also store different other tools and machines inside, or livestock. The main requirement these shelters must provide is a roof that will keep your tractor safe from rain and snow. Further on, you can expand your construction plan based on how much space and resources you’ve got.
Clean the tractor before winterizing it
The golden rule before you store your tractor is giving it a proper clean. Doing this means extra care which will prolong your tractor’s lifespan. Also, you preserve your tractor’s aspect this way, making it look shiny and new although you might have been using it for quite a while.
You should eliminate any debris and dirt your tractor surely picked up from the field or the garden. This will take some time, especially when you clean the wheels, but with lots of water and patience, you’ll get it done. The easiest way to clean the dirt off your tractor is by using a pressure washer, but manual cleaning will also work.
Eliminating the dirt is also necessary because, at cold temperatures, it might freeze on the tractor’s wheels or exterior parts. In other cases, it can also get into the tractor and cause clogs.
Make the necessary repairs
After your tractor is shiny and clean, step two is to inspect it and see if there are any parts that need fixing or replacement. Take time to look at each part of the tractor: the blades, hangers, and the deck.
If you realize that any elements need to be replaced, you can get the job done now, if you have the time and resources. Alternatively, you can do this during the winter. What matters is to make sure that the tractor is fully functional when you start using it again in spring.
Another task you might have to complete now is sharpening the tractor’s blades. To do this, you will have to carefully remove and install them again after they are sharpened. If it’s the first time you are handling this task, make sure you follow the specific instructions related to your tractor and wear gloves so that you avoid getting hurt.
The deck belts should also be replaced if they show any signs of wear. This is another precaution that will help you have a fully functional tractor in the spring.
Finally, before you get to the next step, in which you will change the tractor’s oil, you should lube it if you’ve already removed the deck. You will be able to find comprehensive instructions on how to do this in the tractor’s user manual.
If you’ve purchased it second-hand, and you don’t have the manual, you might be able to find instructions related to your tractor model online on the manufacturer’s website. If this is not possible, you can always ask for support on forums or contact the previous owner and ask them how and with what product you should lube the tractor.
Change the oil and the fuel filter
The next step is changing the tractor’s oil. To do this, you should first check how much oil your tractor still has. If there still is enough oil, start the engine and wait for a little bit so that it can warm up. After a few minutes, stop the engine and start draining the oil.
If the engine is warm, you’ll be able to change the oil with more ease and any dirt that might have been left in the oil pan will be eliminated together with the remaining oil. Before you refill with new oil, double-check that the type of oil you’re about to use is suitable for your tractor.
During the oil change operation, it’s also a good time to change the oil filter. Moreover, the drain plug should also be replaced before the refill.
Changing the filter
It shouldn’t be very difficult to change the filter; you just need to pay attention to how the clamps are positioned and slowly loosen them to be able to get the filter out. If you need help, there are numerous tutorials and online guides that can show you what to do.
Once you’ve pulled the filter out, have a cloth or paper tissue at hand to quickly clean any gasoline drips that may fall. There is a hose between the old filter and your truck’s carburetor. This element should also be replaced as it is very likely that you damage it when you pull the filter out and pieces of the hose might get into the carb causing further damage.
The air filter and the precleaner should also be cleaned on this occasion.
Prepare the gasoline
The gasoline you store around your farm or house and that you want to use for your tractor should not be kept for more than a month unless you provide it with the necessary treatment. When it comes to the tractor’s gasoline tank, it should be treated by using a stabilizer.
Then, you can add gas to the tank and start your tractor’s engine. Wait until the gas is evacuated. No gas should remain in the tank because, otherwise, it can contribute to deposits that can clog the carburetor.
As a final notice, don’t forget that working with gasoline means working in a well-ventilated space where there are no sources of heat nearby.
When all the steps above are completed, it’s time to park your tractor in the place where you will store it during the cold season. After doing this, you can replace the spark plug and apply oil to the spark plug hole. The oil will get to the cylinders and keep your engine safe against moisture.
Removing the battery
The final step is to take out the tractor’s battery and to store it in a different place where it can stay warm. If you can, charge it prior to storing it. Leaving the battery inside the tractor increases the chance that it might drain or leak during the months when you’re not using the tractor. Ideally, you would have a battery storage or a case where you can safely keep it.
How to winterize a diesel tractor
Tractors that work on diesel might face a particular problem during the winter in areas where the temperatures often fall below zero degrees. Diesel has a gelling point, this means that the fuel will freeze, causing wax crystals.
To prevent these crystals from appearing in the fuel, you need to add anti-gel. If you don’t use this solution, in spring, you will have to wait until the wax crystals melt before you can use your tractor again.
The whole purpose of winterizing your tractor is to be able to keep it running correctly in the long term. You don’t want to invest in a new tractor anytime soon, therefore, follow the tips above and store it safely over the winter.