Tractor Maintenance: A Guide for Winter 2023/2024

As we head into the winter months, it’s important to have a maintenance plan in place for your equipment. Will you still be using your tractor over winter? Or will you be keeping it in storage? In either case, you’ll need to prepare your tractor for the winter season to keep it in proper working order and reduce the risk of failure.

Fortunately, we’ve put together a guide with some tips for looking after your tractors over the colder months.

Tractor maintenance tip #1: Top up your antifreeze

Antifreeze is essential to the health of your tractor’s engine. It’s mixed with water and this helps to bring down the freezing point of water from 0°c to as low as -50°c, depending on the product used and the concentration it’s used at. The main ingredient in most tractor antifreeze is ethylene glycol and this is what lowers the freezing point and helps regulate your tractor’s cooling system.

When topping up your antifreeze, make sure to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, as overexposure to ethylene glycol or ingestion can cause serious illness.

Tractor maintenance tip #2: Store your tyres properly

If you won’t be using your tractor over the winter, you need to make sure that you’re storing your tyres correctly.

Firstly, remove all debris and dirt from your tyres and then inspect for tread wear and cracking and damage on the sidewalls.

Next, make sure your tractor’s tyres are fully dry before storing them in a clean, dry place with a constant temperature. Lots of temperature fluctuations can degrade rubber and shorten the lifespan of your tyres.

If you’re not going to be using your tractor for an extended period of time, make sure to move your tyres regularly to prevent uneven wear – rotate them each month. Before using your tractor again, don’t forget to inspect the tyres for cracks or damage.

If you will be using your tractor throughout the colder months, consider purchasing winter tyres. These give better grip in snowy and icy conditions and make your operations much safer.

Tractor maintenance tip #3: Use winter tractor oil

As the temperature drops, the standard oil you use for your tractor can start to become ineffective and even damage your engine, especially if it’s a particularly cold winter. Some oils become too thick when exposed to colder conditions, leading to limited oil flow to the engine and even early failure.

We recommend switching to a lower viscosity oil for winter as this will flow well in the cold and keep your engine protected against friction.

Tractor maintenance tip #4: Use a winter grade tractor fuel

Just like your oil, your tractor’s fuel should ideally be a winter grade fuel. Using the wrong fuel grade can lead to what’s known as ‘fuel gelling’. This is where, at around -17°c, the diesel turns waxy and can’t flow properly, meaning your engine can’t start.

When changing to winter grade fuel, make sure the tank is completely empty of all summer fuel first. If the tank isn’t thoroughly clean of any summer fuel deposits, fuel gelling can occur.

We also advise filling your tank up to capacity when the temperatures drop, otherwise condensation can form overnight. A build-up of condensation can cause rusting, bacteria growth and reduced lubrication if the water makes its way to the fuel injectors.

Tractor maintenance tip #5: Warm up the engine

Just as you would with your car when temperatures plummet, allowing your tractor’s engine to warm up before using it is an essential winter tractor maintenance tip. Run the tractor at low idle for approximately 5-10 minutes and consider using block heaters too. Giving the engine a chance to warm up before using it will reduce wear and tear on your equipment, allowing time for oil to circulate and lubricate the engine.

Tractor maintenance tip #6: Carry out regular checks  

Regularly checking your tractor is an essential preventive measure for tractor maintenance. Check for things like tyre pressure (check against your equipment’s operating manual), fuel levels and hose condition and do this all year round. This will inevitably help extend the lifespan of your tractor and you’ll notice smaller issues before they turn into much bigger problems.


With over 50 years of trading experience, we have a range of tractors for hire and we pride ourselves on our dedication to supplying quality tractors all across the UK. Browse our full range of John Deere tractors here.

Looking for a tractor for your site or have a question for us? Call us on 01908 562191  or email us at [email protected]. Alternatively, fill out a contact form and we’ll get in touch as soon as possible to discuss your request.



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