Combine Storage is the Perfect Harvest Finish

(The following article "Combine Storage is the Perfect Harvest Finish" was originally featured on November 1st, 2016 via blog.caseih.com.)

In the rush to button up bins, shelter grain carts and trucks and wrap up fall tillage, it can be easy to forget the combine you pulled into the shed after covering those last few acres. Set aside some time to prepare it for long-term storage. It’s good for your equipment, and you’ll be quicker to the field next year.

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 in the harvest section of the Case IH Red and Ready Productivity Hub. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with winterizing procedures, it’s time to get to work.

Clean and protect

Dirt, dust and chaff are the enemies of nearly all moving parts. Look for pockets where these materials accumulate, especially around electrical wiring and components. These out-of-the-way areas provide an ideal nesting spot for rodents. 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. It’s a good time to check for play that could indicate a worn bearing.

Inspect thoroughly

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, filters and batteries

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. Be sure to change the engine oil and filters according to schedule, and don’t forget to clean or replace air filters. Always go with Case IH fluids and filters for optimal performance.

It’s a good idea to keep batteries charged during the off season. Consider investing in battery maintainers so you always have power when you need it. Plus, battery maintainers can help extend the life of your batteries.

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. And on-the-go access helps you quickly get what you need.

When you take the approach that harvest isn’t truly finished until you’ve properly stored your combine, you’ll enjoy greater peace-of-mind this winter — and then reap the benefits when next year’s crop is fit to harvest.