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Starting Your Chinese Tractor in Cold Weather

With the cold temperatures finally settling in upon us, we wanted to take a moment to talk about starting your diesel engine tractor in this cold winter weather. Unlike gasoline engines, diesels do not use spark plugs to ignite their fuel; they rely instead on proper fuel and air ratios to cause combustion. This makes it more difficult to start diesel engines in colder temperatures, and it’s the reason your tractor employs glow plugs and a cylinder decompression system. Veteran diesel owners everywhere know of the old “minute of silence” rule that refers to the time between heating the glow plugs and starting your engine.

If you have had difficulties starting your Chinese tractor during the summer months, it’s very important that you resolve the problem before the winter season. The cold weather will compound these issues and make once-routine starts difficult and sometimes impossible. For more cold weather tips, check out our article on preparing for winter.

So now that you know why your equipment is struggling to start on cold days, here are some tips to get your engine up and running again. During the cold months it’s a good idea to keep your diesel tank full of fuel. Not only does this minimize moisture accumulation, but it will also help push the fuel through the lines. A weak battery should be replaced with a battery of the same or higher grade than the one that came with the tractor.

If the tractor is stored in a barn or covered area, it won’t take as long for the glow plugs to heat the combustion chamber. You can likely crank it up after about 30-45 seconds of heat time, sometimes also using the decompression lever on the underside of the dash. The lever decompresses your cylinders, making it easier for the engine to turn over and start.

The colder it is, the longer it takes for the glow plugs to heat the combustion chamber. It will generally take around 2-3 minutes for 3 fully functioning plugs. It’s a simple procedure: heat the plugs and decompress your cylinders before starting up. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t start up on the first try--sometimes the motor just needs a little more heat to fire off.

That’s all there is to starting up your diesel Chinese tractor on a cold winter day! It’s important to remember that this simple process depends on a properly functioning battery, working glow plugs, and proper pre-season maintenance. The preparation for each season is equally important as any in-season maintenance; they are both essential parts to keeping your tractor running for the long haul.