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Tractors in Winter: 5 Best Practices

December 14, 2020

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Winter is hardly the time for planting and growing crops, but many tractor owners still find reasons to take their tractors out over the snow and ice. The versatile tractor is a useful tool for plowing snow and hauling feed and other materials. Operating a tractor in the cold, however, requires a little extra thought and care. Consider some of these guidelines if you plan to use your tractor this winter.

Use Winterized Fuel

Using the right fuel is an important step toward preparing a tractor for winter. Certain types of diesel fuel are rated for lower temperatures than others. The wrong type of fuel can start to coagulate if it gets cold enough, which can clog the engine and make it less efficient.

Choose the Right Tires

Driving on snow and ice may require different tires than the ones you would use during the warmer months. Consider switching to agriculture tires or putting chains on your current tires to give your machine some extra traction.

Drive Slowly

It’s pretty common sense, but you should never drive a tractor faster than your task requires. In the winter, this becomes doubly important. Not only is traction harder to maintain on snow and ice, but snowdrifts and fog can limit visibility. Driving slowly and carefully will significantly lower your chances of running into or over an unseen hazard.

Keep the Tractor Clean

Tractors accumulate large amounts of mud, snow, and ice throughout the day. This can cause parts to freeze over or rust and break more quickly. Take time to knock any excess snow and mud from the tractor before stowing it away.

A yellow tractor covered in snowKeep Yourself Warm

Frozen fingers and toes will slow down your reaction time, giving you less of an opportunity to respond to hazards. Take precautions to stay warm as you drive, and give yourself frequent breaks to go inside and recuperate if you start to feel cold.

Of course, anyone who plans to operate a tractor at all needs to be professionally trained. A newly revised version of our tractor safety training kit is available now, with all the info and resources you need to become officially tractor certified. You can purchase the revised kit here.

Good luck, and stay safe!