How to maintain your
engine while it's not in use

Test tubes
Test tubes

How to maintain your engine while it's not in use

Not using your diesel-powered machines for a while? These simple tips will help keep your engine in shape while your machine is stored

Engines are designed to be used - keep yours in good condition while it’s not in use. For many of us, that means those moments where our machines will be parked for extended periods, such as a combine harvester being stored until harvest. When a machine is left unused, problems can start to develop that will prevent it from working properly when the time comes to start it up again. 

And remember, never leave your engine unattended when it's running

  1. One of the most important things is to maintain the fuel system by keeping it clean and taking care to make sure there is fuel is in the tank and new filters are installed.

  2. If you’ve been using biodiesel, its especially important to drain the tank and replace the fuel filters. Then fill the engine with clean diesel and run for 10-15 minutes to flush the residual biodiesel.

  3. If left in the fuel system, biodiesel can attract moisture, bacteria and fungi that can lead to issues when starting your engine up again.

  4. Take the opportunity to clean the engine bay of dirt, oil and fuel residue or anything else that may be building up on your engine. This can help avoid deterioration of wiring, wiring connectors or other sensitive components which could cause start-up issues

  5. You’ll also need to cover exhaust and air inlet openings to avoid insects, animals, water and other contaminants from getting into the engine

  6. Disconnect the batteries to avoid them discharging while not in use. It may also help deter theft or joyriding if the equipment will be left unattended or in remote locations

  7. Top off the cooling and oil reservoirs to leave less room for condensation to collect and cause corrosion. 

Before you use your machine again, perform the following for optimal performance:

Change engine oil and filters

Condensation can collect in the engine and react with contaminants in used oil. It’s a good idea to start with fresh oil and filters if the engine has not been used for a while.

Remove covers from air filters and/or exhaust piping

Connect batteries and start the engine. Allow to idle for 5-10 minutes to ensure adequate oil flow and lubrication to critical components.

Check tyres

Where a machine has wheels, check that tyres have sufficient tread depth and no defects. Ensure tyres are properly inflated. Under-inflated tyres increase fuel consumption and can affect the braking performance of your machine. 

Check lights are working properly

If possible, ask someone to help you with this (for example checking that brake lights come on when you press the brakes). Alternatively, park in front of a reflective surface, such as a window, and you’ll be able to see the lights in your mirrors.

Just remember, if you need more information refer to your operation and maintenance manual or contact your Perkins distributor. They are experts on all Perkins engines and happy to answer any question you may have. Give them a call today if you have any concerns about your engine or machine’s readiness. 

Combine harvester