How to Prevent Diesel Fuel Gelling
Driving in the winter can be a challenge, thanks to the cold weather. Not only do you typically have to deal with snow and ice on the road, but you might also have to worry about fuel gelling—at least if your vehicle uses diesel fuel. So why does this happen when it’s cold outside, and how can you prevent this issue? Here’s what you need to know about fuel gelling when you use diesel fuel.
What Causes Fuel Gelling?
This term is pretty self-explanatory, since fuel gelling occurs when the fuel in your tank thickens up enough to look and feel like gel. This only happens when the temperature outside drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, though it’s most likely to occur at about 15 degrees or lower. And it happens because diesel fuel features paraffin wax. That’s a great ingredient to have when you need to improve the lubrication and viscosity of the fuel…but it’s not so great when the wax thickens up as it gets colder.
The result is that the thicker fuel clogs the filters and eventually doesn’t flow at all, which means you can’t start your vehicle. So how do you know if you’re dealing with fuel gelling in your car? Well, if it’s below freezing outside and your diesel fuel-filled car is having trouble starting, it’s probably due to fuel gelling. Luckily, this common diesel fuel winter problem is preventable. More specifically, there are two main ways to keep this issue from occurring.
Keep Your Vehicle Out of the Cold
One of the top ways to prevent fuel gelling is to ensure the fuel never gets too cold, which you can do by not storing your car outside in cold temperatures. So if you have a garage that is heated, or some type of climate-controlled storage area for your vehicle, this solution should work in the winter. You can still drive the car in the cold since the fuel won’t gel while the engine is running. But if you have to park it outside for hours or days at a time, it’s best to use another surefire way to prevent fuel gelling.
Use Fuel Additives That Are Meant to Prevent Fuel Gelling
If you can’t keep your diesel engine warm with proper storage, don’t worry. You can buy cold weather fuel additives that prevent this problem. For example, Dieselpower! Anti-Gel can keep your fuel from gelling even if the temperature outside is as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit! Just pour it into the tank before you put gas in, and you can be sure your fuel will be able to flow freely in the cold so your car starts up easily.
If your diesel fuel has already started to become too thick, you can use Dieselpower! D-Solve De-gel to return it back to normal. Just pour it into the tank, and then be sure to add Dieselpower! Anti-Gel once you start the engine so you can prevent the fuel from gelling again this winter.
Now that you have this common issue figured out, make sure you know how to prevent other winter problems that your car might face. For example, learn everything you need to know about snow tires, and then get some advice on how to drive safely in snow and ice on the road. Granted, if you plan to store your car this season, you don’t need to prepare it for the road in the winter, but you could use some tips on winter car storage!