Tips For Winterizing Your Ag Equipment
January 30, 2020
While this year's harvest is done and in the books, there is still a lot of prep work that can be done to ensure that your equipment is adequately maintained and winterized during cold weather storage. By setting aside some time to take care of your machinery, you'll be better prepared for spring and spend less time dealing with potential breakdowns during planting. We've put together a few tips that cover some critical areas of off-season equipment upkeep.
Check & Change Fuel
As temperatures drop, be sure to replace the diesel fuel used in any machinery from #2 diesel to #1 diesel. This type of diesel is less likely to gel up in colder weather. Also, some manufacturers may suggest topping off fuel tanks to prevent condensation, which can cause water to get into the tank. It would be a good idea to consult your equipment manuals for recommended fuel procedures.
Inspect Fluid Levels & Service Equipment
Conduct regular servicing of engine and equipment components. Check fluid levels, change the oil and transmission fluid, clean and replace air filters, and inspect tire pressures. Take a look at the operator's manual to see if the coolant has the correct antifreeze temperatures that you're likely to experience in your region. This presents an excellent opportunity to see if any leaks exist that need to be addressed.
Charge or Store Batteries
Always make sure your batteries have a healthy charge. If the machinery is going to be stored over the winter, either disconnect the negative connection to avoid a slow battery drain or remove the battery entirely and store it in a dry location. Also, clean off any corrosion that is on the battery connection points.
Have the interior and exterior of your equipment cleaned to remove any grime or debris. By clearing out grain or plant material from planters, drills, air seeders, and combines, you are less likely to have rodents making nests in your equipment. Use a pressure washer or compressed air to make quick work of the cleaning process. Cleaning equipment also helps prevent wear on critical components. If you have sprayers, drain any water in the system to avoid damage caused by freezing temperatures.
Fix any damage that may have occurred over the last year. By making repairs in the off-season, you'll be more likely to locate and obtain the correct parts in a more timely manner. This reduces the amount of down-time during the upcoming season.
Whenever possible, store equipment in a building or machine shed to protect it from the cold winter environment. If it has to be kept outside, consider covering up the equipment with a tarp. For extra protection in the elements, cover exposed electrical and hydraulic connection points with cloth or water-resistant material.
For ProTrakker Users
Many of these previous steps apply towards winterizing ProTrakker Hydraulic Hitches. It is a good idea to keep the hitch clean when putting it into storage. Do an overall inspection for any signs of damage to hydraulic lines or plastic wear plates. Apply lubricants to the various grease points located throughout the hitch and check the tightness of all hardware.