As we enter the rush of the holidays, make sure you’ve properly parked your combine for the season.

Sure, you’ll still have a preharvest checklist to run through as you ready your combine next year, but it likely will be shorter, and you’ll be quicker to the field. Proper off-season storage and proactive combine maintenance help ensure your combine will perform at its best when you need it.

Benefits include:

  • Increased productivity
  • Less downtime
  • Lower operating costs
  • Improved fuel economy
  • Greater longevity and resale value

Resources

Start by reviewing your operators manual. For most equipment, the manual guides you through the long-term storage process. You’ll also find end-of-season maintenance and storage assistance at the Case IH Red and Ready Productivity Hub. Download our Combine Productivity Guide, which supplements your combine operators manual and addresses everything from service to safety to operation and storage. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with winterizing procedures, it’s time to get to work.

Clean, lubricate

Dirt, dust and chaff are the enemies of nearly all moving parts. Look for pockets where these materials accumulate, especially around the electrical wiring harness. These out-of-the-way areas provide an ideal nesting spot for rodents. And chewed-up wiring is not the way you want to start next year’s harvest season. Working from the top down, use an air compressor, broom or utility brush to help clear the tightest nooks and crannies. Avoid using a power washer or garden hose. Water doesn’t go well with electrical systems, and lingering moisture can promote rust.

Proper lubrication will protect against moisture and corrosion, and, of course, keep parts moving smoothly. Since you’ve just finished harvest, you’re likely familiar with your combine’s grease fittings and other lubrication points. Still, it’s a good idea to refer to your operators manual to ensure you haven’t missed any. As you complete this task, note any loose or worn chains or sprockets.

Inspect

Make sure tires are properly inflated. Check belts and replace anything that appears damaged or cracked. Look for oil leaks, which can indicate worn or damaged seals or hydraulic lines and hoses. Look under headers for any signs of damage or wear, and ensure skid plates move freely and are not worn out.

Fluids and filters

Change the engine oil and filters, and top off hydraulic and transmission fluids. Examine used oil for obvious issues. Consider having your Case IH dealer conduct a fluid analysis, which can pinpoint wear or contamination before it results in bigger — and more expensive — headaches. Don’t forget to clean or replace air filters, too. And stick with Case IH fluids and filters for optimal performance. Complete these same steps on tractors you plan to use through the winter, and be sure to change the engine oil and filters according to schedule.

Here to help

If you’re not comfortable performing tasks so critical to your combine’s longevity, or if you simply don’t have the time or resources, turn to your Case IH dealer. Your Case IH dealer knows your equipment. Your dealer’s technicians can spot important maintenance issues before they become costly repairs and offer preventive maintenance. Your dealer also is your best source for genuine Case IH parts, filters and lubricants.

No matter how you prefer to ready your combine for the off-season, get the job done now. When next year’s crop is fit to harvest, you’ll be glad you did.