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The Negative Impact of Gelling in Your Diesel Engine

Winter weather will slow down any truck—but gelled fuel will stop it completely. The hassle of thawing it is just part of the negative impact of gelling in your diesel engine. You can lose time, money, and even business. It’s essential to guard against this common hazard when it gets cold.

The Signs of Gelling

Most drivers discover their fuel has gelled when their car won’t start. But if your fuel is still on the brink of solidifying, your truck will feel sluggish when accelerating. It means that the tank’s temperature has lowered to the point that the paraffin wax in the mixture is thickening. Soon, it will harden into a waxy texture and plug your fuel filter. Then, you’re going nowhere.

Three Stages of Gelling

The decreasing temperature in the tank leads to three stages of change in your fuel:

Cloud Point

At this temperature, the wax begins to solidify, causing the fuel to appear cloudy.

Pour Point

The fuel continues to get colder until it loses its flow characteristics.

Gel Point

The wax forms into crystals and prevents the fuel from pumping through the lines or filter.

The Consequences

Even if gelled fuel doesn’t put you in physical danger, there are repercussions if you don’t take steps to prevent it.

Added Stress

Maneuvering a truck takes skill, focus, and patience. Everything depends on an efficient schedule, but road conditions and other variables are out of your control. Drivers have enough challenges without dealing with operational complications.

Lost Time

A mechanic needs to see your truck to thaw out the tank. But you could be anywhere on the road, without local contacts or the equipment to fix it yourself. Whatever method you use, warming up a tank isn’t something you can do quickly. You can’t rush the process of safely raising the temperature.

Lost Money

Paying the mechanic or buying de-thawing supplies will cost you. Waiting on your truck to get back into working order means downtime you may not be able to afford. Arriving late could mean losing out on another load or even paying financial penalties.

Lost Business

Harsh weather isn’t your fault, but you are responsible for any negative impact of gelling in your diesel engine. A failure to prevent it won’t impress your boss and will inconvenience your clients—or worse, cause them to look elsewhere next time. You also might be causing delays for your own business. All you have is your reputation, and an experienced driver doesn’t make these kinds of mistakes.

Preventing Trouble

You can ward off problems by monitoring the weather and proactively taking measures. A few possibilities:

  • Storing your truck inside a heated garage.
  • Using anti-gel additives for your fuel.
  • Keeping the tank at least half full.
  • Filling up with anti-gel diesel fuel blend.

At HFI Truck Center, we have considerable experience working with diesel engines. We’re an Isuzu truck dealer that can help you find the perfect vehicle for your needs and tell you how to take care of it. Contact us for more information on our inventory.