From Our Partner Caterpillar



Winter is Here. Is Your Equipment Ready?


Farmers are outside year-round, using equipment throughout the winter months for livestock care, snow removal and even digging into frozen ground. The importance of proper equipment care and maintenance in cold, snowy weather is amplified due to wintry conditions.

Especially in newer, technology-driven machines, electronics are at a greater risk for damage in the cold. Sub-freezing temperatures not only slow response time, but battery-powered electronics will also lose their charge faster. Both the engine and electronics can be damaged beyond repair if they freeze over the winter and then thaw in the spring.

The chance of damage to the engine and other components can be greatly reduced by letting the machine warm up and following these additional tips prior to equipment use:

  • Before the cold arrives, replace the lubricant in each compartment with one featuring the highest oil viscosity allowed based on your region’s typical ambient temperature. 
  • Store starting fluids at indoor room temperature, and only inject starting fluid while the engine is cranking.
  • Use coolant designed for use in the lowest expected outside temperature. To avoid damage, allow the engine to cool before adding antifreeze.
  • If the engine isn’t warm enough for startup, obstruct the radiator with a piece of cardboard to block cold air. This will increase engine temperature and heat hydraulic fluid more quickly.  
  • After startup, let the engine run until it reaches operating temperature to help prevent the intake and exhaust valves from sticking.
  • The battery should be kept fully charged and warm. In subzero temperatures, it may help to bring the battery inside to store it at room temperature when not in use.
  • To avoid fires, scorched wiring or a melted battery case, never use a torch or other open flame to heat components.


Tips for a Proper Winter Maintenance Routine

It’s important to wash down equipment after every use to remove salt and dirt. Park your machine on wooden planks to prevent it from freezing to the ground. Salt is especially damaging, as it can corrode and rust the frame and other metal parts. Take these additional steps to keep your machine up and running for the duration of the winter season:

  • Top off fuel after every use to prevent freezing.
  • Check the air intake daily for snow and ice, and remove all dirt from the tread so it does not freeze into the tires.
  • Use dry nitrogen gas to inflate flat tires to eliminate ice crystals, which can hold the valve stem open in the tire. You can find this at your local dealer.
  • All rubber parts, including hoses, tires, drive belts and electrical wiring should be inspected weekly for cracks and other damage. 


A general outline for proper machine use is only the start of cold weather preparation. Conditions, applications and resources vary greatly across the country.

For more information on winter machine maintenance and Cat® Agriculture equipment solutions, visit Cat.com.  


Contact your local Cat® Dealer.  

 

For more information, VISIT THE CAT® RESOURCE CENTER.


“CAT, CATERPILLAR, their respective logos, “Caterpillar Yellow,” the “Power Edge” trade dress as well as corporate and product identity used herein, are trademarks of Caterpillar and may not be used without permission.” and “©2017 Caterpillar All Rights Reserved.” 


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