Proper winter storage can put you ahead of the game, an industry rep said
By Diego Flammini
Taking the time to store a tractor properly in the winter can give farmers a leg up on spring tune ups, an industry rep said.
“I think a lot of it starts with your fluids when you put the tractor away until the spring,” J.E. Cadle, marketing manager with Case IH, told Farms.com. “You’d want to make sure the fluids are changed and the oil is changed if it’s due.”
Getting a head start on any fluid changes can also save farmers time during the season.
Modern tractors are capable of operating for long hours before some items need to be checked.
“You can go up to 1,500 hours between transmission (fluid) changes, and up to 3,600 hours before needing to change coolants,” he said. So, getting those levels right before you need to use the tractor is just a good overall practice.”
The fluids themselves have changed to accommodate modern tractors, Cadle added.
“Every engine oil isn’t the same now that we’ve gone to stricter emissions,” he said. “What you’re running in a tractor today likely isn’t an oil you can run in an older tractor. We’ve got better additives and overall better products available.”
One item that may go overlooked is tire air pressure.
Farmers should refill the tires prior to storage and check the pressure again in the spring, Cadle said.
“I don’t think a lot of people think about filling their tires back up with air,” he said. “If tires sit with low pressure all winter it could be bad for the tires. You want to make sure the tires are full for the winter and brought back to operating levels in the spring.”
When starting a tractor for the first time after winter storage, farmers can use their experience to determine if there’s an issue with the equipment.
“Trust your gut when it comes to the sound and feeling of the tractor,” Cadle said. “You know what your tractor should sound like and feel like when you’re operating it. The electronics and things like that should get going fairly easily, but an odd vibration might tell you something needs to be addressed.”
Farmers should try to keep batteries charged if possible and consult their owner’s manual for more tractor tune up information, Cadle said.