Common Winter Woes Of Diesel Vehicles And Easy Ways To Fix Them

If your primary means of transportation is a car or truck that runs off of diesel, you are probably enjoying the improved gas mileage that your vehicle supplies, and you can look forward to a higher trade-in value for that automobile in the future. However, owning and using a diesel vehicle during the winter often presents with extra responsibilities and duties that every responsible car owner should be aware of. Therefore, it is a good idea to be aware of the following issues that your vehicle may experience when it gets cold outside and to know the corresponding options for treating those concerns. 

The Vehicle Will Not Start Soon After A Freeze

It is important to note that there is a small amount of wax that is present in diesel fuel. When the temperature outside freezes and you don't have preventative measures in place, the diesel is prone to solidifying, and the wax crystallizes in a process known as gelling. When gelling happens, the fuel cannot flow where it needs to, and your vehicle will not start.

Fortunately, you can prevent the problem by installing a block heater in the engine itself to provide the necessary heat. In addition, if you travel frequently, it may be worth it to have different methods available for heating your fuel in different areas. Conversely, if you rarely experience gelling or someone just forgot to install the block heater, you can treat the problem by providing a mixture of one part kerosene to 10 parts diesel, which is usually sufficient to warm the fuel to an acceptable temperature.

When Your Fuel Is Warm And The Car Doesn't Even Try To Start, Despite Your Best Efforts

When you know that the issue is not your fuel and your car shows no energy when you try to start it, it is a good idea to consider the temperature of the battery. It may be surprising to learn that when a battery freezes, it loses much of its energy, and as its temperature continues to decline, so does the amount of energy the battery can access. Therefore, it only makes sense that just as you need to keep your fuel warmed to an acceptable level, your battery deserves similar treatment. The covering for your battery can be like a security blanket for the unit on a cold night, in that it can be wrapped around the battery.

Another option heats from the bottom up and involves being placed under the unit. Both will need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. The second option is often recommended for cold, but not frigid areas, while the wrap-around choice provides more heat and is a better choice for the coldest environment. They can also be used to provide heat to the battery that has already dropped below freezing and may help you get out of the driveway on a cold winter day.      

In conclusion, diesel vehicles are associated with a variety of positive features, including better gas mileage than similarly sized vehicles that use gasoline and a consistently higher trade-in value. In order to get the maximum benefit of your diesel vehicle, it will behoove you to be familiar with how to fix some issues that it might develop during cold weather. Contact a diesel repair service to learn more.