Are you ready for the cold? If you live in a cold region and plan to use your tractor throughout the winter season, now is the perfect time to perform your tractor preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance will keep your tractor running at its optimal performance all winter long.
Change Oil and Fuel. If you plan to use your tractor during the winter months, be sure to change your oil and fuel to the winter grade variety specified in your tractor’s user manual. Oil behaves differently in various temperatures, so be sure you’ve selected a viscosity designed for winter use. Using the wrong fuel can clog the filter or cause a mechanical breakdown.
Change the Fuel Filter, and check it frequently for water accumulation. Water in your fuel system can cause problems with your injectors, pistons and sleeves. Prevention is key: change your fuel filter, and then check for water accumulation throughout the winter season.
Check the Air Filter Often. We may use our tractors for different types of jobs, but we all have one thing in common: we’re stirring up dust! Depending on how much dust your job produces, you may need to clean your air filter daily or weekly. Use a shop vacuum or compressed air to clean the filter, and replace it when it can no longer be cleaned.
Check the Radiator Screen. Warm air produced by the engine passes through the radiator, preventing the engine from overheating. The radiator screen helps to prevent plants, insects, dirt, and other debris from clogging the radiator. If the screen is covered in debris, air will not pass through freely. This is why it is important to check and clean the screen regularly.
Check Other Fluids. As you prepare for the change in seasons, it’s a good idea to drain old fluids and refill with new fluid. Throughout the year, fluids (such as hydraulic fluid) can become contaminated with particles and water. Changing the fluids regularly is a fantastic way to keep your tractor running at optimal performance.
Check Hoses. Inspect the hoses and belts, looking closely for damaged, worn, or cracked parts. Replace any hoses or belts that appear damaged. Also, prevent leaks by tightening any fittings and connections that may have come loose since your last tune-up.
Check the Battery. Ensure your battery terminals are clean and free from corrosion or dirt. Also, check the electrolyte levels. You want your battery to start the winter with a full charge.
Check 4WD. Don’t wait until the ground is slippery and wet to find out that your 4WD isn’t working.
Check Tire Pressure / Tire Wear. Tractor tires are not like the tires on a normal vehicle. Generally, when the tires on your car are low, it’s obvious because the deflation is visibly noticeable. However, when tractor tires are low, it may not be as obvious. Your tires will generally require 32 PSI of pressure, but check your user’s manual for exact specifications.
Check the Block Heater. During the cold months, your block heater is essential for warming up your engine and getting your tractor moving. Test your block heater by turning it on and making sure it gets warm. You can also use a voltmeter to check for continuity between the two blades of the plug.
Check Glow Plugs. Test the glow plugs to ensure they heat up properly. Replace any glow plugs that are not operating properly.
Check All Winter Implements. Make sure your snow blade, snow blower, and chains are working properly. Don’t wait until the first major snow fall to identify a problem! By then, it may be too late.