Like it or not, winter is coming to much of the country, and cold-weather operation requires a little extra care. Having a cold-weather maintenance plan and spending a few hours in the shop on implementation can save many more hours trying to fix a dead battery or blown hose come January.

John Deere’s Worksite Journal offers 12 tips to keep compact equipment up when temperatures go down.

1Use Winter-Grade Fuel

When temperatures fall below 32 F, use winter-grade fuel (No. 1-D in North America) for cold-weather operation.

2Keep the Machine Greased

Check grease zerks daily. Keeping points well greased helps repel moisture and dirt, and prevents rusting and freezing.

3Treat Those Biodiesel Blends

When operating with biodiesel blends, wax formation can occur at warmer temperatures. When temperatures drop to 41 F, start treating biodiesel fuels with a biodiesel fuel conditioner.

4Check Other Fluids

Refer to your operator’s manual for proper diesel engine oil and engine coolant requirements, Use a seasonal-grade-viscosity engine oil and low-silicate antifreeze.

5Add a Diesel-Fuel-Flow Additive

Use a diesel fuel conditioner (winter formula to treat non-winter-grade fuel (No. 2-D in North America) when temperatures drop to 32 F.

6Check for Water and Sediment

Water will settle at the bottom, so allow fluids to sit for several hours. Drain a small amount of fluid from tanks, reservoirs, and oil pans to check for accumulated water or sediment.

7Test the Battery

Load-test the batteries to verify over-all performance and condition. Winter weather requires up to twice as much cranking, so make sure the battery can handle the load.

8Inspect Rubber Parts

Rubber becomes harder and more brittle in cold temperatures, so inspect rubber tires, tracks, hoses, and belts for cracking and dry rot.

9Check Tire Pressure

When the temperature falls, check and fill tires until they reach the proper pressure labeled on the sidewall.

10Allow for Warm-Up Time

Allow machine fluids to warm up prior to operating at maximum speed.

11Avoid Getting Frozen In…or Frozen On

Park the machine overnight on a hard, dry surface to help minimize the risk of the bottom surface becoming frozen into the ground.

12Consider a Block Heater

Opt for an engine-block heater (also known as a coolant heater) to aid cold-weather starting.