About 83% of Americans think having a yard is important and 90% of those with a yard think it is important that it is also well-maintained. And while the landscaping season is nearing its end, it’s still important for homeowners to take proper care of their lawn maintenance equipment, namely, their tractors. Tractors, especially older models, require some basic maintenance in order to ensure safe and proper storage throughout the duration of the winter season. Here’s what homeowners should know before storing their tractors for winter.
Perform a Visual Inspection
First, start by performing a brief but thorough visual inspection of the inner workings of your tractor. More than 50% of products made in the U.S. require welding, and many of the inner workings of your tractor require meticulous upkeep. An inspection can help to point out any majorly obvious issues with the engine, or you may notice some minor imperfections. Either way, the visual inspection is the first step to forming a plan of action if something needs to be repaired before next season.
“Pay special attention to moving parts and fluids…Belts, pulleys, and bearings can accumulate a lot of wear-and-tear during use, for example. And double-check that engine oil, antifreeze and hydraulic fluid are at correct levels and tightly sealed — especially for equipment that may be sitting idle for long periods of time,” writes Ben Potter on Farm Futures.
Check Tire Pressure
While day-to-day tire pressure is important on any tractor, the state of your tires during storage can help predict what shape they’ll be in come next season. Experts typically recommend inflating your tractor’s tires to the maximum to avoid flat spots over the long-term storage season. This is because tractors typically lose pressure when stored during the winter.
If you find during your inspection that a part is in disrepair or otherwise needs to be replaced, make sure to shop wisely. U.S. e-commerce revenue is about $423.3 billion and is steadily climbing, meaning there are countless online retailers likely to carry the part you need at a lower price than its in-store alternative. In fact, as more and more ships deliver goods across the globe, it’s not surprising that the international shipping industry carries around 90% of world trade, according to the International Chamber of Shipping. Whichever shopping method you choose, be sure to check the owner’s manual of your tractor to ensure compatibility.
Know When to Replace
Finally, it’s important to make sure you know when it becomes a better decision to invest in a new tractor than to continue tedious and expensive maintenance procedures. When it becomes more expensive to maintain your current tractor than to simply replace it, it’s time to make the upgrade.
“As a piece of farm equipment gets older, it accrues more repair and maintenance costs. Some of these expenses may be relatively small, while others may be relatively major, but they all add to the cost of ownership over time. The question then becomes: When is it wise to cut losses on an old piece of equipment and trade it in? That answer is not often easy…[keep] a running tally of expenses tracked to each machinery asset,” writes Potter.
Ultimately, it’s important to keep these maintenance tips in mind as your tractor continues to get older and accrue wear and tear. Don’t hesitate to take your tractor to a professional for an evaluation and an honest recommendation regarding best practices and potential upgrades.