For many people, their cars are like their children. And just like with children, you need to keep them safe when the weather turns cold and the snow starts to fall. Though your diesel vehicle may not suffer from frostbite, there are a number of weather-related damage that could occur if you don’t prepare for it ahead time. We may be in the thick of this frigid season, but it’s never too late to take the proper precautions to safeguard the health of your diesel engine. Here are three ways to do just that.
- Test your batteries: Just like any other car, testing your batteries to make sure they can handle the added strain of colder temperatures can ensure you don’t get stranded. The average car battery lasts between two and five years; if yours is getting on in age (or you can’t remember how long you’ve had it) testing it is the best way to see if it’ll make it through winter.
- Use an anti-gel additive: Diesel fuel systems are a vital component of your vehicle. In severe cold, diesel fuel can reach its cloud point (the measure of diesel’s low-temperature operability) and begin to thicken and gel up. Most diesel fuels do this between 20 and -18 degrees Fahrenheit. By including a fuel additive in the winter, you can prevent your fuel from gelling up.
- Change your diesel fuel filters: Diesel fuel filters are the most common freeze point for diesel fuel. Because only a minimal amount of diesel remains in the filter while your vehicle sits in subzero temperatures overnight, it freezes much easier and much faster than it would in the tank. Swapping out your old filter for a new one can reduce your chances of gelling — you don’t know if your current filter is partially clogged, which makes gelling more likely.
There may be 50 different kinds of diesel engines, but all of them will benefit from the above winter weather maintenance. Even if you consider your vehicle to be nothing more than a way to get from Point A to Point B, prepping your engine for subzero temperatures is still a wise decision; if you don’t dedicate the time to your diesel fuel lift pump and battery, you might end up going nowhere fast.