Owning a diesel car comes with many advantages. Better fuel efficiency, better durability and more torque are just a few of the many ways you will benefit from a diesel-powered vehicle. But there are also few trade-offs with diesel engines, and sluggish performance, particularly in cold weather, is one of the most common. Gelling, a frequent problem in diesel engines, is often the culprit. Unlike petrol, diesel fuel contains paraffin wax, and when temperatures drop to considerably low levels, the diesel fuel thickens up to form a gel-like substance. The 'gel' can clog the filters, and in severe cases, it won't flow at all, making it difficult for the engine to perform optimally. But what are the symptoms of gelling, and what can you do about it? Find out below.
Before delving into what you need to do to keep your diesel engine from gelling, it's important to know when the problem occurs. And the first thing you will notice is difficulty starting the car. The vehicle may not start at all, or it will die soon after it starts. Clogged fuel filters and fuel lines restrict the flow of fuel through the engine, which, in turn, stop your vehicle's motor from igniting. You may also experience sluggish acceleration.
Keeping your car out of the cold is one sure way to prevent gelling. This is particularly important if you don't intend to use the vehicle for hours or days. Climate-controlled storage areas such as a heated garage will do the trick here. If you don't have a heated garage or cannot afford setting up one, consider using fuel additives.
Fuel additives designed to prevent fuel gelling will also come in handy. Also referred to as cold flow improvers, these additives are meant to improve the flow of the diesel fuel under the low winter temperatures. You should be able to find these in your local auto shop, but keep in mind that the fuel additives vary in terms of usage. For most additives, you will be needed to pour the contents into your fuel tank before you fill it. Doing this prevents the diesel fuel from crystalising or gelling up. If the fuel is already gelled up, you can also find cold flow improvers that work to dissolve the gelled fuel. Therefore, just remember to ask for the right type of fuel additive depending on the problem you have.
Reach out to a diesel service near you to learn more.