Cold Weather Tractor Operation
There are two main reasons a modern, well maintained, diesel tractor will not start in cold weather. The first reason is gelled fuel. #2 Diesel fuel will form wax crystals as the temperature drops. These crystals can plug fuel filters and prevent the engine from running. Most gas stations in Maine are selling blended fuel during the winter to lower the temperature at which the wax crystals begin to appear. It is critical to use winter blended diesel fuel. Adding a fuel conditioner will also reduce the tendency of wax crystals to form. If your fuel gells, there are products, like Power Service 911, that will reliquify the fuel.
The second reason is electrical. Batteries do not have the same cranking amperage in cold weather as warm weather. If your tractor is used occasionally, we recommend using a battery tender to keep it fully charged at all times. Battery cable connections need to be cleaned and checked before winter. Poor connections will reduce the battery’s ability to start your tractor.
One of the best methods to ensure trouble free starting is a block heater. This heater warms the coolant which in turn warms the engine block and crankcase oil making the engine easier to start. The block heater will typically need to be plugged in for an hour or so to provide any benefit.
Once the engine is running Kubota recommends running the engine at 50% of rated speed for up to 20 minutes. This will warm up the hydraulic oil and allow for proper transmission and hydraulic operation. Please read your owners manual for more complete instructions.
Union Farm Equipment is well stocked with batteries and fuel additives to keep your tractor running this winter. We equip all of our new tractors with block heaters. If you are in need of a block heater please call our parts department, we stock many popular block heaters. And, of course, our mobile service van is on the road most days if you need more help to get your tractor started.