Winter can be rough on farm tools, especially those that go unused for the whole season. It is important to maintain them and store them correctly, even in the off-season, if you want them to last.
SoMo Farm & Ranch gives some great tips about inspecting and maintaining your farm and ranch equipment in the wintertime.
Store Metal Tools & Attachments in a Barn or Shed
Proper storage can go a long way in prolonging the life of your tools. One of the main concerns over the winter is preventing rust and corrosion caused by moisture from rain or snow. Store your tools somewhere dry and protected, like a shed or a barn.
The same goes for larger farm equipment. Have a dry storage place available large enough to keep things like tractors out of the elements and protects them from water damage.
Clean & Sharpen Equipment
Before you store your equipment, clean off any mud or debris. Cleaning and drying your tools before winter storage can keep them in pristine condition and prevent unnecessary wear and tear. Caked-on dirt can hold in moisture, which can lead to rust.
Sharpen any blades or saws to make them ready to use come spring. Getting your tools ready over the winter will make your life easier when the warm weather returns.
Inspect for Signs of Wear
Look for broken parts or signs of extreme wear on your equipment. Winter is an excellent time to evaluate what tools you may need to replace the following year and what will require new parts. The earlier you replace equipment, the better, because the last thing you want is to struggle to replace a tool at the last minute and not be able to find any parts in stock.
Drain Fuel From Tools & Equipment You’re Not Using
It is recommended to drain fuel from tools and equipment to winterize them. Fuel can degrade over time, so leaving it to sit in your equipment can lead to problems when you go to use it again, including a clogged carburetor. The simple step of draining the fuel can end up saving you hundreds of dollars in replacing or repairing damaged equipment.
It is best to remove batteries from equipment before winter storage. Batteries exposed to extreme temperatures, like below-freezing weather, can significantly shorten the lifespan of the battery. Batteries are best when they are stored somewhere with a consistent temperature, depending on the type. Read the manual for your specific equipment and follow the winter storage instructions provided.