WEATHER THE WINTER: WINTERIZING YOUR TRACTOR PART 3
Check your Antifreeze and Your Battery
In this third installment on winterizing your tractor, we look at antifreeze types and tractor batteries.
The type of antifreeze you use is based on what type of climate you live in. Your local Yanmar dealer will stock the proper antifreeze for your climate area. Just make sure you tell them it's for your diesel engine tractor.
How do I test my antifreeze?
While you're picking up antifreeze, you can also purchase an antifreeze tester. These little gadgets are inexpensive to purchase and invaluable for protecting your tractor from freezing to death.
What's the worst that could happen?
Worst case: A cracked engine block. A tractor that cannot be used until the engine is rebuilt or replaced. This could happen to any water-cooled engine exposed to an extended period of cold temperatures below the amount of anti-freeze protection that has been blended into the engine coolant. As colder weather arrives around the time of December and January holiday, a cracked engine block is no way to celebrate the season.
During cold winter weather, you don't want to hear that click, click, click unless it's ole St. Nick and his reindeer toe-tapping on your rooftop. Once batteries get some age on them, there can be some noticeable signs the battery is on its way out of commission. A starter that won't engage the engine and only delivers a clicking sound is a common telltale of a weak battery. That's why as winter weather approaches it is important to inspect your battery thoroughly and even test it.
To do so, look at the battery. That is, literally LOOK at your battery. Your tractor operator's annual and your tractor dealer can help you with any questions about access to the tractor battery. Once you're inside and on the case, take an accurate voltage reading.
What are you looking for?
Broken or corroded terminals or battery cables (wires), a bulging battery case, cracks, or splits in the casing of the battery, and any indication of leakage that the battery is losing fluid.
How do I read the voltage?
If you plan to do-it-yourself test the battery, you will need to acquire a voltage meter. Voltage meters are also known as "voltmeters" or "load testers" at various hardware, auto parts and tractor supply stores. Following the meter's operating instructions, place the testing leads on the correct posts and read the meter. Make sure you have good metal-to-metal contact between the testing leads and the battery posts. If the battery can't read higher than 10 volts, then it's time for that battery to go to the great recycling center in the sky. Refreshing your tractor's starting power is going to feel very good compared to a no-cranking, no-go situation on a cold winter morning when the only way to work requires plowing the snow off your driveway.