Winter Diesel & Wax in the Fuel
With the cold weather on us we are receiving calls about diesel fuel and problems with diesel engines not running as well as the summer months. There are a couple of things to know that will make driving in the colder months a little better.
In extreme cold weather hydrocarbons in diesel fuel can solidify or crystalize and result in a wax like substance that can block injectors, filters and really make life bad for your car. Once this happens it’s an expensive procedure to remove the solid particles. So how can you prevent this?
Diesel fuels supplied to service stations in designated cold areas contain anti-waxing agents. If you are driving to the snow or certain cold areas from the coast, it’s best to turn up with a minimal amount of coastal fuel and then fill-up at the service stations with their modified diesel winter fuel. This will offer the best protection against the cold and prevent the wax from forming.
Noisy or Knocking Diesel Engine’s
Cold weather can really make a normally quiet, high performance diesel engine sound like it should belong in a tractor – but why?
Diesel engines don’t use spark plugs – but rather natural heat generated from high compression to ignite the fuel within the combustion chamber. In cold ambient conditions and especially on start-up this heat is not achieved at the precise moment needed to force the piston down within the chamber. When this ignition is not timed correctly cars can experience ‘knock’ or premature detonation. This is the noise that you will hear coming from the car and when you know it’s not running smooth.
Depending on the longevity and the force put through the engine, results can be either noisy or rough running engines to actual physical damage to the engine. The latter is more commonly seen in high performance cars.
Cetane is you friend
Most people know that petrol can be purchased with different levels of Octane. This is often, 91, 95, 98 and sometimes 100 with the aid of ethanol. Diesel cars don’t use Octane but rather Cetane however users don’t get the choice petrol drivers do.
Cetane like its Octane cousin promotes the ignition of the diesel fuel allowing for easier and correctly timed combustion. Treating diesel fuel with an extra shot of Cetane will promote correct combustion even in cold weather.