This Week's Product Pro-tip: Weather the Winter: Storage and Warm-ups

Leanne Schmid
Weather the Winter: Winterizing Your Tractor 
Storage and Warm-ups, Two Easy Steps to Keep Your Tractor going
While we all would like to stay indoors nice, warm and cozied up next to a fire with hot cup of something, little things like work, life, and bills always drive us out into that devil's dandruff. But just because we have to go out to conquer that icy powder doesn't necessarily mean that we have to spend all day doing so. As we make our tractors ready for the frigid winter, focus on simple measures to keep your tractor going. With a few minutes of preparation, you may save yourself from hours of work and make frostbite a lot less likely.
Cold Weather Storage Tips:
In a perfect world, we all have a garage that doubles as man cave and we park our Yanmar tractor next to a line-up of other high-horsepower tools and toys. However, it is not a perfect world ---- but any storage or shelter for your winter-working tractors is better than none.
Heated storage is best. But a wide range of indoor or under-shelter storage, even if completely unheated, can help keep your tractor battery, engine oil and tractor components a few degrees warmer than ambient temperatures. Every degree helps.
A warmer battery can provide more energy for longer periods to help crank your tractor engine. Warmer engine oil makes the engine easier to crank. Warmer hydraulic oil means power steering and attachment actions return to normal performance more quickly after cold-weather tractor starts.
If you don't have any type of enclosed or covered storage for your tractor, park it in an area that is the least exposed to the wind. Covering it with a tarp may help a bit with holding the tractor at a warmer temperature and a tarp will definitely save you some time that might otherwise go to cleaning up rainwater, ice or snow before you head out to plow the driveway.
Cold Weather Warm- ups for Tractors:
Just like athletes who stretch and warm up to avoid injury, we should give your tractor a chance to warm up when first starting it in the more severe range of winter cold conditions. During severe cold conditions -- before tractor operation -- let it idle for some minutes to allow all the components and fluids (engine oil, hydraulic fluid, coolant) to warm up and circulate to spread the heat generated by the engine to all the effected tractor components. A warmed-up engine is able to operate within more normal operating parameters of electronic engine and fuel injection controls This helps you operate with a more normal level of power output and fuel efficiency.
If you apply these cold-weather operation tips, like allowing time for a warm-up and doing what you can to store and shelter your tractor away from the coldest temperature, you can shorten the time it takes to complete your cold weather tractor tasks and get yourself back to your cozy fireside it less time.
One last winter weather tractor tip. If you are still fighting winter cold with an open platform tractor, remember that both YT2 and YT3 Series Yanmar tractors are now available with spacious, comfortable and heated factory cabs.