There are numerous problems that can arise for vehicles during the winter months, especially ones that use a diesel engine.
Diesel fuel gelling occurs as a result of the paraffin solidifying due to extremely low temperatures. When the temperature hits 32 degrees Celsius, this liquid wax substance begins crystallizing.
This, in turn, causes the fuel itself to thicken, which can lead to clogs in the fuel filters as well as the tank itself.
How Fuel Gelling Works
When diesel fuel reaches the gel point temperature, it completely solidifies. This means that it cannot be distributed to the engine via the fuel lines. The pour point is the temperature that causes a liquid to gradually solidify. The diesel fuel will only be able to start flowing through the lines properly once it is returned to approximately the pour point temperature.
Extremely cold temperatures solidify the liquid paraffin wax that is inherently present in the fuel. As the paraffin crystallizes, it begins transforming into a solid-state.
Signs of Diesel Fuel Gelling
It is important that you learn about some of the signs of diesel fuel gelling so you can diagnose it as quickly as possible.
One of the most common symptoms of diesel fuel gelling is problems with starting your vehicle. If the engine won’t seem to start, it could be due to clogged fuel lines. If the oil is not able to go through them freely, you won’t be able to turn the engine over.
There is also a chance that you could have problems with acceleration if fuel gelling has become an issue. In this case, you won’t be able to accelerate your vehicle as quickly and smoothly as you normally would.
Preventing Diesel Fuel Gelling
You will have a number of effective ways to prevent diesel fuel gelling from occurring in the first place. These methods typically work well and can save you a lot of time, frustration and expense.
Use Diesel Fuel with Kerosene
If you want to prevent the oil in your engine from solidifying, you may want to use fuel with kerosene in it.
You can also choose to add the kerosene yourself. This is something that a lot of professional truck drivers do to keep the oil flowing freely throughout the fuel lines. The kerosene makes the fuel less viscose, which means that it won’t be able to gel quite so easily.
It is important to use the right diesel fuel products with your vehicle. This means that it’s a good idea to do your homework before settling on anything in particular. Winter grade diesel fuel will help you avoid this problem quite effectively. Just make sure that whatever you get is designed to resist extremely low temperatures.
Cold Flow Treatment Method
Using an additional in your vehicle could keep the fuel from gelling in very cold weather. Many truckers use what is known as a cold flow treatment, which prepares the fuel for a drastic temperature change.
There are certain additives for diesel fuel that are designed to prevent problems like gelling. Putting these additives in your fuel can help you avoid a complete nightmare of a situation.
This is something to 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 to choose from. It is a good idea to do some research before making a final decision.
Keep Your Vehicle Warm
The absolute best thing that you can do to keep your diesel fuel from gelling is to keep the vehicle in a warm environment. This means putting it in a garage when you are not using it. While this is not always an option, it is something to consider.
Some people install special lights that emit a lot of heat to keep the vehicle as warm as possible while it is not in use. These lights can help a little bit, but you shouldn’t rely on them as a primary means of prevention.
How to Correct Diesel Fuel Gelling
If the diesel fuel in your engine has already solidified, you’ll most likely be able to correct the problem by following a few simple steps.
The first thing you want to do is to add some kerosene to the gas tank. You should use one gallon per 10 gallons of fuel. It will take a little while for the kerosene to mix in with the diesel fuel. This usually works well, though it will negatively impact your mileage for a bit.
Next, you need to heat up the fuel filter so that the wax melts and liquefies once again. You can use a block heater to get the job done quickly and efficiently. This is a very convenient option, as you won’t need to have access to an electrical outlet.
Finally, put an additive in your fuel that is designed to prevent gelling. This will ensure that the paraffin wax in the fuel stays in liquid form. Make sure that you use a high-quality additive from a reputable brand. This will increase your chances of success with this method.
You’ll probably be able to melt the crystallized paraffin wax by just putting your car in the garage for a while, but these extra steps are important. If you don’t want this to become a problem in the future, you’ll want to go through this entire process. Those who don’t take these additional measures are just going to experience the same problem again at some point.
Diesel fuel gelling can occur very quickly in very low temperatures, so you need to be prepared. Make certain that you take the time to find the right products to prevent this from happening.
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 the ones that are going to work well.