If you own a small lawn or garden tractor and live in a part of the country that gets the full brunt of all four seasons, your tractor may spend a good portion of its life in cold storage – parked in a garage, barn, or outbuilding from autumn until the spring thaw. Unfortunately, an "out of sight – out of mind" approach to your tractor each winter could lead to problems during spring and summer. Read on to learn more about some winterizing tune-up tips and tricks that can ensure your lawn tractor starts right up when spring arrives.
Check and change the oil
If you didn't give your tractor an oil change when putting it up for the season, now is a great time. Before changing the oil, you'll want to start your tractor and let it run for a few minutes to give the oil time to warm up and circulate – doing this can ensure that any particles or sludge that have settled on the bottom of the oil pan will slough off and come out when you pull the oil plug. Putting fresh oil and a new filter in your tractor when outdoor temperatures are cold will ensure that no oil sludge or other harmful particles work their way through your tractor's engine to cause damage.
Survey your tractor's belts and hoses
For tractors that are getting up there in years or that have long periods of infrequent use (in addition to winter storage), a regular check of the belts and hoses that keep your tractor running smoothly may be in order. These belts and hoses can suffer from dry rot if they're not maintained or used on a regular basis, causing leaks, slips, and other issues that can interfere with your ability to operate the tractor. Changing belts and swapping out hoses as soon as you can spot these visual flaws is a low-cost and simple way to reduce your odds of an expensive engine repair.
Check and change the fuel filter
Another potential source of sludge that can circulate throughout the engine and transmission to cause problems is your tractor's fuel filter. Changing this filter is a relatively simple task, although you'll want to take extra care to ensure you avoid gasoline spills or quickly clean up any spills that do take place. You'll also want to replace the hose attached to your fuel filter at the same time you replace the filter, as removing the old filter can sometimes leave debris in this hose that renders the filter change futile.
For more information on how to maintain your tractor, contact service companies like Potestio Brothers Equipment, Inc..