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How to Winterize Your Tractor

How to Winterize Your Tractor

Posted by Grange Co-op on 8th Dec 2022

How to Winterize Your Tractor

If you won’t use your tractor during the winter, it’s important to store it safely. Even small tractors, such as those used to mow the lawn, require special care. Before putting any tractor in winter storage, follow these steps.

Start by reading the owner’s manual for any tips or precautions. The manual might recommend specific brands or specifications. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

You might use your tractor daily throughout the winter or only occasionally. In either case, there are some maintenance steps you should perform, such as:

Changing the Oil – Changing the oil before cold weather will make it easier to flush out the sediment. The oil thickens in cold weather, making it more difficult to start the engine. When you replace the old oil, use one designed specifically for winter or a thinner weight oil.

Using a Fuel Additive – When your tractor sits, the fuel can take on moisture. Oil can block the fuel supply lines, increasing the risk of blocking the valves, damaging the oil filter and injection nozzle, or spoiling the timing device. Reconditioning the fuel will help add to the lifespan of the engine. The right fuel additive can prevent fuel-filter icing and your fuel from gelling.

Checking/Replacing the Battery – Older diesel tractors don’t have a heater to help get them started in colder temperatures. If you have problems getting your tractor started, a battery charger is good to have on hand. Even if you have a newer model tractor, check the battery and make sure it’s keeping a full charge. If it’s near or at its expiration date and/or won’t stay fully charged, get a new one before it gets cold. Otherwise, it might not start when you need it.

Changing the Hydraulic Fluid – Hydraulic fluid with a lighter viscosity won’t freeze as easily when temperatures drop to freezing. Check your owner’s manual on which hydraulic fuel to use during winter. Always follow the recommendations in the manual.

Making Any Needed Repairs – Don't put off seemingly minor repairs. Don’t wait until temperatures are below freezing and you might not have access to get parts or service. Your goal should be to have your tractor in optimal condition before winter.

Going to the Dealership – If you prefer to leave winter tractor care to the professionals, schedule an appointment with the dealership. They can make all the necessary repairs and calibrations according to your tractor's make and model. The dealership can also advise you on the essential fluids to stock up on to keep your tractor going.

Giving It a Good Coat of Wax – If your tractor is exposed to salt, keep it sprayed off your tractor to prevent corrosion. Coat your tractor with a good coat of wax to protect the paint from dirt, snow, and ice.

Essential Fluids You Need to Winterize Your Tractor

Fuel additive or stabilizer is one way to help prevent problems caused by cold weather. Make sure you have the fuel additive you need in case you need to add it again. Other fluids to have include:

Antifreeze – Antifreeze coolant helps prevent water from freezing in your engine. Your owner’s manual will provide you with the correct ratio of antifreeze for your specific tractor. It is essential that you use the right mix. In addition, antifreeze prevents rusting.

Starting Fluid – Starting fluid is especially useful during sub-zero weather when an engine block heater isn’t available. Give your tractor’s engine a kick-start with just a small amount.

Windshield Washer Fluid – For tractors with a windshield or cab, the shield helps protect the driver from all types of debris and the elements. However, the windshield can also block your view when ice and snow build-up. Make sure you have a stock of windshield washer fluid that has antifreeze in it.

How to Winterize All Your Tractors for Storage

All tractors, big or small, require some mainteance before storing them for the winter. Follow these steps to safely store your equipment. As with any tractor, always refer to the owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • Drain the fuel from the fuel tank and carburetor.
  • Keep the tractor under cover if possible. If you must leave the tractor outdoors, get a special tractor cover. Using a vinyl tarp will hold moisture inside that will cause damage. 
  • Disconnect and remove the battery. Place it in a dry, secure location.
  • Release the clutch and lower the hitch.
  • Clean the tractor and put in a clean oil filter.
  • For tractors with gasoline engines, replace the spark plugs.
  • Grease all moving parts.
  • Perform all the necessary basic maintenance.

Whether you rely on your tractor daily to tend to your livestock or once a year to cut hay or plant crops, you need it to be in good working condition. 

Grange Co-op for Your Cold Weather Needs

At Grange Co-op, we carry a wide range of products to help you get through the winter. Use our store locator to find the closest Grange Co-op store to you, or contact us with your questions. We're always happy to help you find the right products for your needs. And don't forget cold weather apparel to keep you warm when the temperatures drop. We have an extensive line of men's and women's gloveswinter jackets, and footwear to winterize your wardrobe for cold weather too!