Your diesel pickup is a workhorse that you count on every day for its ability to get the heavy-duty jobs done. However, cold weather can have a significant impact on your diesel engine.  Here’s what you need to know.  

Higher temperatures are required to fire diesel fuel, so in colder weather, diesels have always been harder to start than vehicles that run on gasoline. Temperatures below 40°F can cause diesel fuel thicken, which is known as “gelling” or “waxing.” Eventually, diesel fuel will thicken to a point that it cannot be pumped so the engine dies- or fails to start at all.  Here are three components of your diesel engine that help assist engine starting on cold days.

GLOW PLUGS:

A glow plug is a pencil- shaped heating device made of metal with a heating element at the top. When powered, this heating element warms and begins to glow, like that of the heating element of a toaster. The glow plug super heats the air in the combustion chamber making it easier for the piston coming up on a compression stroke to ignite the fuel as it is injected into the combustion chamber.

ENGINE/BLOCK HEATERS:

An assortment of heaters have been developed for diesel vehicles to keep parts of the vehicle warm, even when it isn’t in use. In some cases, these items are on the vehicle when you purchase it, if not, you can buy them and have them installed later if the need arises.

DIESEL FUEL ADDITIVE:

Diesel fuel additive is especially important to use during cold weather.  An additive will help prevent gelling when the temperature goes below 32°F degrees.  We like to use Optilube XPD, which will make your fuel flow to below -20°F.  Moisture control is also a concern for many who have found water in their fuel. Demulsifiers are what keep water contamination out of suspension and keep it separated from fuel. Most engine manufacturers recommend using demulsifiers and not emulsifiers. Demulsifiers are found in Optilube XPD fuel additive.

If you are having problems with your diesel vehicle this winter, don’t hesitate to give us a call.