Summer is gone, and winter is almost here. For diesel owners and operators, that means doing everything possible to keep the engine warm and protecting it from freezing up. Diesel engines have a lot of advantages over gasoline engines, but staring cold in the winter isn't one of them. You never want to get in your vehicle just to find out it froze up and won't start. You provide some tips on how to keep a diesel engine warm in winter so that you can keep moving.
Keep the Tank Full
To prevent the fuel from freezing and gelling, keep the fuel tank as full as you can. Keeping the tank full will help it from freezing because it's more difficult for large amounts of anything to freeze. When you stop for the night, top off the tank and never let it fall under half full.
Take Care of Frozen Fuel
The fuel filter is the most common place for fuel to freeze on a diesel engine. A small amount of fuel sits in there compared to the tank, and it will freeze faster when allowed to sit overnight. Change the fuel filter, and always have a back-up with you just in case.
Keep the Vehicle in a Warm Place
If you have a pick-up truck, park it in the garage whenever you can. A garage is typically 20 degrees warmer than the outdoors. That extra warmth will protect your engine and prevent it from freezing.
Get Heating Tools
If you don't already have something to keep your engine warm overnight, get something. Block heaters, oil warmers, and battery warmers will all keep the engine from freezing and can help it start. All these tools keep the fluids in your engine warm and flowing, so it will start even on the coldest days.
Use Fuel Additives
Even the best winter blend diesel fuels can gel if they get cold enough. With different fuel mixtures across the country, and each vehicle behaving differently when it comes to cold exposure, make it almost impossible to say when fuel will gel. It's always good to put in a fuel additive during the winter to keep the fuel flowing.
Change the Oil
Cold starts are hard on the battery, starter, and engine, and conventional 15 weight motor oil turns into molasses in cold temperatures. Switch to a lighter weight, or a synthetic oil, to improve the flow in the engine in the cold. This will also lessen the wear and tear on the engine.