Now is the time to prepare for the chill of winter
The crisp fall days are about to flee, and the frigid winter days are about to make their way into the Ozarks. As the cold weather approaches, it’s time to prepare trucks, tractors, and other equipment to ensure they are in good working order through the winter.
Experts recommend first and foremost checking the antifreeze. An antifreeze tester can be purchased for a few dollars. The tester will let producers know if the antifreeze in the tractor is good or if it needs to be replaced. If the antifreeze is old, it’s time to drain, flush and replace it.
However, if the antifreeze is at the proper concentration simply add more if levels are low.
While checking the antifreeze, it is a good time to also check the oil and filters. Refill or replace as needed.
When it comes to fuel treatment producers may take different approaches depending on what they plan to do with their tractor or equipment over the winter. If the equipment is simply being stored, then add a fuel treatment to prevent fuel left in the tank from creating future problems. Old fuel can lead to deposits that can clog a system and make the equipment slow to start the next season.
If producers plan to use the tractor through the winter, it is equally important to take good care of the fuel system. “I would recommend changing the fuel filters out,” Buddy King, manager at Marion County Equipment, in Pyatt, Ark., advised. “I would make sure you don’t have any moisture or water in your fuel system and then put in some sort of fuel stabilizer.”
Timing is important when determining when to add fuel stabilizer. “The time to put in fuel stabilizer and conditioner is two weeks before it turns cold, not the day it turns cold,” King said. “You have to have it in and run at least half a tank through the tractor, so you get it in the lines, filters, and in the system.”
Clean It Up
Give tractors and other equipment a thorough cleaning, making sure to keep water away from seals containing bearings. Carefully clean battery terminals as well. Additionally, apply grease or a rust preventative solvent spray on any bare metal parts on the equipment.
This is also a good time to conduct a visual inspection of the equipment. King recommends checking the battery and battery connections to make sure they are in good working order. Whether the equipment is being used during the winter or being put away until spring, now is a good time to address any damage or issues.
If possible, find a place to store your tractor and other equipment. Equipment left outside deteriorates faster than equipment stored inside. In situations in which space is limited, choose to store the most expensive equipment. When there is not an option to store the tractor or equipment inside, a cover can also provide protection. However, choose a cover that is not plastic. In some cases, plastic covers can stifle air circulation and trap moisture.
Heaters and Timers
Additionally, producers continuing to use their tractors through the winter should consider purchasing a block heater. “If you are going to start and feed with your tractor in the winter, a block heater is a good idea, so you can plug in the tractor and let it warm up,” King said. King suggests purchasing a timer that will kick on the block heater a couple of hours before the tractor will be utilized. That way, when the producer is ready to roll out the tractor, it is warmed up and ready to go.