Up here in northern Minnesota, we’re getting on to the frigid season. The season where we can no longer run around outside without clothes capable of temps well below -20ºF, when starting your vehicle to let it warm up at least 15 minutes before departure is a must, and the time when we have to be careful when we go ice fishing to not store our beer outside the shanty for fear of it freezing.
For us diesel burners, it’s also the time of year that gets us a little more uptight on what comes out of the typical green-handle pump at the fuel station. Those of us burning diesel for some time have learned that diesel fuel can freeze in winter conditions, rendering our trucks useless and in some situations can cost us a boatload of money in repairs.
What happens to diesel fuel in winter
Diesel fuel contains naturally occurring wax that solidifies in cold temperatures. Depending on the fuel, it may only take temps not too many degrees below 32ºF, too. When wax solidifies, commonly called gelling, depending on where you’re from, it settles and starts to plug fuel lines, fuel filters and can stall your engine.
Take a look at these videos I made last week with our most recent cold spell. These videos demonstrate what happens when diesel fuel not suitable for winter conditions is exposed to winter-like conditions. Don’t worry about the color difference in the videos. For one demonstration, we added red dye to improve visibility. Rest assured, the fuel in the videos is the same. If you have experienced this condition you know all too well how painful it was to open your wallet and pay for the needed repairs.
What the refinery is doing for you
The videos you just saw were straight #2 ULSD fuel purchased in September, 2016. Those who operate in northern climates should know that the fuel refinery starts to make changes to its fuel in the fall so that this condition does not readily happen. Unfortunately the refinery blends its fuel according to seasonal averages and cannot accommodate larger temperature swings.
Just like the swing we just had here in Superior, Wis. One day it was 20ºF, then it plummeted to -20ºF before jumping to 40ºF the following day. Crazy weather, which speaks to the exact reasons I’m hoping you are still reading this post. Because the refinery can’t have your back every day, you must act and protect yourself and your investment. Man, if the fuel in my truck froze, would I be (insert expletive).
Here’s what you can do about it
There is no magic in my process, just logic. First things first. Buy yourself some AMSOIL Diesel Cold Flow.
Next, watch the weather every Sunday night as you wind down and get ready for the coming week. When the forecast predicts dropping temperatures, pour that AMSOIL Diesel Cold Flow in your fuel tank. It’s formulated with an advanced deicer to enhance fuel flow and help prevent fuel filter plugging in cold temperatures. Its chemistry protects your fuel from gelling and ensures you get to work or, better yet, out to the shanty to reel in some monster fish.
Now, if you despise the local weather guy and feel like you never can trust the report, just use Diesel Cold Flow every time you fill up when the temp drops below 32ºF. It’s the easy way to protect yourself and save yourself a little pain and frustration. You’ll never catch me on the side of the road with frozen fuel, but then again I’m a bit more particular – some call it anal – about my truck than most.
See you on the ice. Bet I reel in more fish than you.