How to Prevent Diesel Fuel Gelling

Diesel Gelling

There are many problems that can occur with vehicles during the winter months, especially those with diesel engines.

The gelation of diesel fuel is caused by the solidification of paraffin due to extremely low temperatures. When the temperature reaches 32 degrees Celsius, this liquid wax substance begins to crystallize.

This in turn leads to a thickening of the fuel itself, which can cause blockages in the fuel filters as well as in the tank itself.

How Fuel Gelling Works

When diesel fuel reaches the gel point temperature, it solidifies completely. This means that it cannot be distributed to the engine via the fuel lines. The pour point is the temperature at which a liquid gradually solidifies. The diesel fuel can only begin to flow properly through the lines when it has reached approximately the pour point temperature again.

At extremely cold temperatures, the liquid paraffin that is inherently present in the fuel solidifies. When the paraffin crystallizes, it begins to transform into a solid state.

Signs of Diesel Fuel Gelling

It is important that you find out about some signs of diesel fuel gelation so that you can diagnose them as soon as possible.

One of the most common symptoms of diesel fuel gelation is problems starting your vehicle. If the engine does not appear to start, this could be due to clogged fuel lines. If the oil cannot pass through them freely, you will not be able to turn the engine on.

There is also a possibility that you may have problems with acceleration if fuel gelation has become a problem. In this case you will not be able to accelerate your car as quickly and smoothly as you would normally do.

Preventing Diesel Fuel Gelling

You have a number of effective ways of preventing diesel fuel from gelling from the outset. These methods usually work well and can save you a lot of time, frustration, and cost.

Use Diesel Fuel with Kerosene

If you want to prevent the oil in your engine from solidifying, you should use fuel with kerosene in it.

You can also choose to add the kerosene yourself. This is something many professional truck drivers do to allow the oil to flow freely through the fuel lines. The kerosene makes the fuel less viscous, which means it does not gel so easily.

It is important to use the right diesel fuel products for your vehicle. This means that it is a good idea to do your homework before you commit to anything specific. Winter-proof diesel fuel will help you avoid this problem quite effectively. Just make sure that everything you get is designed to withstand extremely low temperatures.

Cold Flow Treatment Method

Using an additive in your vehicle could prevent the fuel from gelling in very cold weather. Many truck drivers use a so-called cold flow treatment, which prepares the fuel for a drastic change in temperature.

Fuel Additives

There are certain additives for diesel fuel that are designed to prevent problems such as gelling. Adding these additives to your fuel can help you avoid the complete nightmare of a situation.

This is something you should consider if you live in an area that can get very cold in the winter months. There are a lot of these additive products on the market for you to choose from. It is a good idea to do some research before you make a final decision.

Keep Your Vehicle Warm

The absolute best thing you can do to keep your diesel fuel from gelling is to keep the vehicle in a warm environment. That means putting it in a garage when you are not using it. This is not always an option, but it is worth considering.

Some people install special lights that radiate a lot of heat to keep the vehicle as warm as possible when it is not in use. These lights can help a little, but you should not rely on them as the primary means of prevention.

How to Correct Diesel Fuel Gelling

Gelling Of Diesel Fuel

If the diesel fuel in your engine has already solidified, you can most likely fix the problem with a few simple steps.

First, you will want to add some kerosene to the tank. You should use one gallon per 10 gallons of fuel. It will take a while for the kerosene to mix with the diesel fuel. Usually this works well, although it will have a negative effect on your driving performance for a while.

Next, you will need to heat the fuel filter so that the wax melts and liquefies again. You can use a block heater to do the job quickly and efficiently. This is a very practical option as you do not need access to a power outlet.

Finally, you can add an additive to your fuel to prevent gelling. This ensures that the paraffin in the fuel remains in liquid form. Make sure that you use a high-quality additive from a reputable brand. This increases your chances of success with this method.

You will probably be able to melt the crystallized paraffin wax by simply putting your car in the garage for a while, but these extra steps are important. If you do not want this to become a problem in the future, you will want to go through this whole process. Those who don’t take these extra steps will simply end up experiencing the same problem again at some point.

Final Thoughts

The gelation of diesel fuel can occur very quickly at very low temperatures, so you need to be prepared for this. Make sure that you take the time to find the right products to prevent this.

There are tons of diesel fuel and additive products on the market that you can buy. It is crucial that you do the necessary research to find those that will work well.

Written by: Magnus Sellén

Founder, owner & main author of Mechanic Base. I have been repairing cars for more than 10 years, specialized in advanced diagnostics & troubleshooting. I have also been a drifting driver and mechanic for over 7 years.