With this early frigid weather water isn’t the only thing freezing. In cold weather drivers also need to be aware of the potential for fuel to gel. Specifically the diesel fuel you are running in your tractor. Diesel fuel gels in cold temperatures because it contains paraffin wax, which is an additive meant to improve fuel viscosity and engine lubrication.
Diesel Fuel Gelling
When temperatures begin to fall the paraffin wax additive thickens, turning the diesel cloudy. This phenomenon is called “diesel fuel gelling”. This gelling can cause problems when the wax begins to clog fuel filters. The wax solidifies to the point where fuel is no longer able to flow freely, preventing your engine from firing and operating.
Caution at Low Temps
Diesel fuel gelling has the potential to occur when temperatures drop below 32F. Exact temperatures for gelling to occur can vary from fuel batch to fuel batch. While wax can be found in all diesel, how does a driver prevent fuel from gelling? We know that keeping your engine running is critical. Follow these tips to keep your fuel flowing and your truck running.
The easiest way to prevent diesel fuel gelling is to control the temperature of the facility that the engine is being stored in. When the engine is running, the fuel is moving and flowing and doesn’t have the opportunity to solidify. Storing your vehicle or equipment in a heated garage or climate-controlled structure will keep your fuel above freezing. We understand that heated storage isn’t available to every driver and equipment owner.
Adding a winter diesel fuel additive is one of the easiest and most popular ways to prevent diesel fuel gelling. These additives can prevent the paraffin wax from gelling together and solidifying. Many fuel additives also offer other winter weather benefits. These benefits include helping improve cold engine starts and removing harmful deposits from your vehicle’s fuel injectors. During the harsh winter months you will find that your equipment and fuel need additional care. Failure to take the proper precautions, such as adding kerosene, storing the diesel engine in a temperature controlled facility or implementing a fuel additive can take your diesel engine out of service and costing you miles and dollars.
How are you preventing gelled diesel fuel? Don’t ignore this crucial part of your diesel engine maintenance. Leave a comment below with your winter tips! If you haven’t readied your cab for winter driving, we have a few tips here on our blog for you.
As a 100% owner operator truckload carrier we are committed to our drivers. We pride ourselves in our dedication to helping our drivers stay safe and profitable on the road. You can find more tips for owner operators here on our blog. Contact us by phone, Facebook, Twitter or email if we can be of any help to you on the road.