Temperatures are starting to drop lower and lower during the evening here in Virginia which can only mean one thing- Winter is near! As winter gets closer by the day we’re making some preparations to a few of our diesels that you may want to keep in mind while you check off those items on your Honey-Do list:
Remove any dust, dirt, grime, and residue with a pressure washer (on a paint safe pressure setting) from your vehicle’s paint and undercarriage. Once the exterior is free from debris, proceed to washing and drying. After the vehicle is dry, apply a coat of wax to the paint and a coat of lanolin based spray-on protectant to the undercarriage in order to prevent the exterior from rusting caused by road salt, chemicals, and snow.
Diesel Fuel Treatment
When temperatures reach below 32 degrees, diesel fuel is susceptible to “gelling”. This is because diesel fuel contains Paraffin Wax which helps to increase lubrication and fuel viscosity. Once temperatures are cold enough, the Paraffin Wax can turn into a gel-like substance, clog fuel filters, and ultimately render your engine useless. A simple addition of a general diesel winter-fuel-additive on sale at your local parts store can help prevent your diesel fuel from “gelling”. If you don’t want to add a winter-time additive to your tank, you could use a pre-mixed Kerosene/Diesel fuel or keep your vehicle in a heated storage area.
Diesel Fuel System Maintenance
As condensation builds up within diesel fuel systems, the resulting excess water can be hazardous to engine performance, fuel injectors, fuel pumps and more. As temperatures fluctuate during the winter, humidity and condensation can build up more than usual. This excess water can actually collect and freeze within your fuel system’s filters and storage tanks leading to plugged filters and worse. While you won’t be able to prevent the excess water from forming completely, you can do your best to minimize the amount of water in your fuel system by draining your Diesel Fuel Water Separator and replacing water absorbing filters on a routine basis. It’s also a good idea to keep your fuel tank filled to the max during temperature swings in order to help prevent condensation.
Your coolant system is often overlooked but it’s a major part of your diesel engine’s components. Improper coolant system maintenance in a diesel vehicle can cause freezing or overheating and cavitation. Before the cold weather hits, you should make sure that the antifreeze in your coolant system is tested for proper protection in your region, your hoses and belts aren’t stiff or cracking, and your radiator or engine is pressure tested for any leaks.
Your vehicle’s battery(s) should last about two to six years. However, if you have been experiencing power loss or battery drain, it’s always a good idea to inspect cables and have a full electrical system test completed to rule out any alternator/charging system problems. If your battery(s), cables, and charging system checks out, you should make sure your battery terminals are clean and apply a rust corrosion inhibitor. Battery blankets and battery tenders are some other helpful accessories that can help keep your battery’s temperature more stable during winter weather conditions.
We hope you find these 5 winter weather tips helpful and applicable to your diesel vehicle! If you have any questions or want to schedule your diesel for winter-weather-prep, give us a call at 540-587-3796 or send us a message.