When Does Diesel Fuel Gel?

  • Gelling: It’s unusual to have a situation where the fuel practically turns to jelly. Gelling happens when the paraffin wax in diesel solidifies due to a drop in temperature, and the fuel’s temperature must be kept below minus 10 degrees F for extended periods of time, such as 48 to 72 hours. When diesel is cold soaked, the paraffin wax in the fuel hardens, giving it a hazy look. At temperatures as high as 32 degrees F, the fuel will begin to cloud, but it will continue to flow. Before the fuel can gel, it must be kept at a very low temperature for an extended period of time. It’s common to hear drivers complain about their fuel gelling up, but this is almost certainly not the issue they’re having. Ice or solidified paraffin wax in the fuel filter is more likely to be the issue. There’s more on that later.
  • Cloud Point: To determine the cloud point of a sample of diesel fuel, which is the temperature at which the naturally present paraffin wax in #2 diesel fuel begins to crystalize, there are prescribed methods. The fuel has a hazy look due to the microscopic particles of suspended hardened wax. Cloud point temperatures for diesel fuel typically vary from -18°F to +20°F, but can reach +40°F depending on a variety of factors connected to the base stock and refining operations. The cloud point of so-called winter diesel fuel (#1 diesel or kerosene) is substantially lower since it contains relatively little paraffin. Fuel distributors will test the product and, if requested, may include the results in tenders and delivery receipts.
  • The temperature at which a liquid loses its flow properties is known as the pour point. The pour point of diesel fuel changes according on the wax content in the fuel, which varies depending on the source of the base stock, the refining process, and the type and quantity of additives added to the fuel during refining or distribution. The difference between the cloud point and the pour point is always there, with the latter often being 2° to 20°F lower than the former. To establish the pour point of a fuel sample, certain tests must be performed. Bulk providers, as previously stated, can supply this information.
  • When diesel fuel is cooled, the cold filter plugging point is a measurement based on a standardized test that indicates the rate at which it will flow through a standardized filtration equipment in a given amount of time. The CFPP is the point at which the sample fails to pass through the filter in the time allotted.

At what temp will diesel gel?

This phrase is self-explanatory, as fuel gelling occurs when the petrol in your tank thickens to the point where it resembles gel. This only happens when the outdoor temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, though it’s most likely to happen when the temperature is around 15 degrees or below. This is due to the presence of paraffin wax in diesel fuel. When you need to improve the lubrication and viscosity of the gasoline, that’s a terrific ingredient to have…but it’s not so great when the wax thickens as it gets colder.

As a result, the thicker fuel clogs the filters and eventually stops flowing completely, preventing you from starting your vehicle. So, how can you tell if your car is experiencing fuel gelling? If it’s below freezing outside and your diesel-fueled vehicle won’t start, it’s most likely due to fuel gelling. Fortunately, this common diesel fuel winter issue can be avoided. To be more specific, there are two basic strategies to avoid this problem.

Will diesel gel at 25 degrees?

In diesel fuel, a similar process occurs when the fuel crystallizes during cold weather. Gelling begins to occur when the temperature approaches 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit*, which can block the fuel system (*depending on the supply and quality of fuel, gelling can occur as high as 20 degrees Fahrenheit).

How To Tell When Diesel Fuel Begins To Gel

When diesel fuel begins to gel, Berg says there are a few telling indications, the most obvious of which is a loss of power and compression when fuel fails to reach the combustion chamber. If you could see the gasoline, it would have a hazy appearance, indicating that it had already gelled. Other indicators to look for include white smoke coming from the exhaust when trying to accelerate or the engine stopping running when you are sitting idle trying to throttle. Also, if the vehicle starts but does not run continuously, this could indicate that your fuel has gelled. Gelled diesel fuel is almost always the problem, whether it’s a lack of RPMs when an engine is running or a cold winter morning when the truck won’t start at all.

How to Fix Gelled Diesel Fuel?

Many people make the mistake of grabbing a can of ether to start the combustion process when their diesel vehicle won’t start at all. However, there are certain risks with this solution, as there may not be enough fuel to ignite. Spraying too much ether and having ether spray that isn’t contained causes even more issues. The uncontained spray might ignite other hot components, causing engine damage, or too much ether in the fuel line could simply ignite air in the lines rather than gasoline, causing the diesel engine to suffer severe damage. Fortunately, there are alternatives to spraying ether that are far safer. Here are a few preventative measures to consider:

  • Heat is the most effective line of defense. Avoiding frigid conditions by storing your vehicle in a climate-controlled garage or warm area. Other strategies include installing a series of heat-emitting light bulbs under the vehicle, enclosing the vehicle in a tarp with a heater blowing heat, and installing a modern-day block heater on the engine to keep the vehicle sheltered from the freezing temperatures. While building up the electric costs, the utility providers will adore you as well.
  • Kerosene: With the issue of staying warm when it’s 20 degrees below zero, people might experiment with different fuel mixtures. Pouring kerosene into the fuel tank to lower the freezing point is the most typical method. To take advantage of kerosene’s lower freezing point, many people mix #1 diesel, which is a combination of kerosene and #2 diesel fuel. This mix is frequently accessible in the northern parts of the country, but in the southern parts of the country, where temperatures are normally warmer, the #1 diesel may not be available. In either instance, kerosene has drawbacks, the most notable of which being reduced fuel mileage and efficiency. If, on the other hand, the truck stops running and kerosene is chosen, it is strongly recommended to leave the engine run long enough to combine the fuels and provide a continuous flow of the mixture. Consider the time it takes for the kerosene to defrost the tank in a semi-truck when operating with hundreds of gallons of fuel in a tank. The kerosene must next melt the frozen fuel lines and clogged fuel filter. The entire line from the gasoline tank to the filter to the injectors may take an hour of idle time to defrost.
  • Fuel Additives: There are now fuel additives that can provide a simple, low-cost, and no-hassle method to prevent gelling that any car owner can do themselves. “When considering an addition, Berg advises, “do your homework and analyze all of the products and promises.” “Investing a bit more time and effort to discover the greatest product is occasionally worthwhile. Additives are a means to offer an extra layer of protection to prevent the wax in diesel fuel from becoming thick, similar to wearing layers of clothing in the cold.” Many products contain alcohol, according to Berg, so look for one that provides not just proper temperature coverage but also protection for the entire system, including lubricity, cetane, water dispersion, and a success guarantee. Many preventive options are available, including some top picks being Diesel Winter Anti-Gel, which promotes coverage down to -40°F.

How to Prevent Diesel Fuel Gelling?

So, what’s the big deal about taking the effort to prevent diesel fuel from gelling? “If you contact a tow truck, you may still be stuck with a vehicle that won’t start after paying the tow cost,” Berg explains. You can save yourself the $80 and the headache in the case of a personal or light-duty car, or the $500 tow bill and missed time on the interstate in the case of a truck. Instead, taking use of the finest scientific additives could safeguard you from getting stuck in the cold for only a few dollars in preventative and an easy pour into the tank.

Emergency additions are also available for people who have failed to heed the warning, there has been no prevention, and gelling is still a possibility, or has already occurred! Diesel Winter Rescue, for example, is a formulated substance that requries gelled fuel and de-ices frozen fuel filters to restore diesel fuel flow to the engine, allowing the vehicle to resume normal operation. Diesel Winter Rescue, for example, is a good alternative to keep in your vehicle during the winter months just in case.

Can diesel fuel gel up?

With millions of diesel users dependent on the fuel as a source of energy, it’s critical to understand what happens to diesel fuel during severe winter weather.

In severely cold temperatures, diesel fuel is prone to “gelling,” which is the word for the crystallization of waxes in the fuel.

This gelling can obstruct fuel flow to the engine or block fuel lines/filters, rendering diesel engines non-operational.

This is presumably something that folks who are used to operating diesel equipment in really cold situations are prepared for.

Many consumers, however, are confused with the chemistry of diesel fuel and how to keep their diesel fuel from gelling throughout the winter.

What do you put in diesel fuel to keep it from gelling?

You get ready to go to work one morning, but your car won’t start. Overnight, your fuel in the tank has solidified. So, what exactly do you do?

For truck drivers, the winter months are more than just a dangerous time when they must drive extra cautiously. In fact, the colder months bring with them a slew of new issues, one of which being diesel fuel gelling. When the temperature of diesel fuel drops, the paraffin that is normally contained in it begins to harden. The wax in liquid form will solidify at 32 degrees, clouding the fuel tank. It will ultimately start to gel at 10-15 degrees and block the tank and fuel filter.

The gel point of diesel is the temperature at which it solidifies and can no longer flow through the fuel lines. The pour point, on the other hand, specifies the temperature at which a fluid begins to harden.

This is the most important one. The diesel fuel in the fuel lines has solidified and clogged the fuel filter. The engine will not start if petrol cannot enter through the fuel filter.

Some truck drivers have told us about filling up with diesel fuel in the winter and neglecting to add anti-gel treatment. When they get on the road, they discover that their vehicle is at best sluggish, and that it can’t even accelerate correctly. When accelerating, a mismatch between the intended fuel rail pressure and the actual rail pressure is detected. Because of the gelling of the diesel fuel, the required pressure frequently jumps while the actual pressure remains low, preventing the fuel from getting where it should go.

Truckers frequently mix #1 diesel, which has a kerosene blend, with diesel #2, which is utilized for road applications. Kerosene lowers the plug point temperature of the fuel and reduces its viscosity, reducing the likelihood of diesel gelling even at low temperatures.

Another typical option for diesel fuel gelling is additives and fuel treatments. They function in a similar way to the previous alternative in reducing the production of paraffin crystals. They also help to reduce the fuel’s pour and gel points. For than two decades, AFS products have reliably and affordably protected New England and Mid-Atlantic diesel enthusiasts with its patented cold weather innovations and comprehensive fuel oversight programs.

Our Winter Diesel 2010 Additive, which combines wax modifiers and wax anti-settling chemicals to improve low-temperature operability, is a good example of a fuel treatment. While ensuring fuel economy and emission management, it also provides L10 injector detergency, fuel stabilization, and corrosion inhibition.

Our technical staff is available to discuss any issues you may have about winter operability with you. They can provide advice on best practices and preventative measures that will help you and your customers prepare for whatever the winter brings. Advanced Fuel Solutions can be reached at 978-258-8360 for more information.

Can you put too much anti-gel in diesel?

Is it possible to use too much anti-gel in diesel? You’ve probably added much too much high-quality diesel fuel additive. Overloading your engine can result in clogged filters, reduced engine performance, and potentially a whole new set of fuel and engine issues. If you’re losing your libido, don’t overdo it.

What temp does 50/50 diesel gel?

What is the temperature at which diesel fuel gels? That’s a tough question to answer because your diesel-powered vehicle won’t drive anywhere in the cold if you don’t prepare properly. Fortunately, the problem can be readily avoided by applying a gasoline additive, which can help stop gelling from happening in the first place. While it’s important to prepare your vehicle before the cold weather arrives, acting quickly can help you avoid a breakdown.

At What Temperature Does Diesel Fuel Gel?

When the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the paraffin in diesel fuel begins to harden, clouding the fuel tank. This modification will not prevent you from driving, but it will serve as a reminder of how colder weather affects gasoline use.

Gelling happens when the temperature falls between 10 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit, blocking the gasoline tank and fuel lines. You may need to have your vehicle towed to a garage at this stage so that your mechanic may repair any damaged fuel lines and thaw the fuel tank.

How Do You Prevent Diesel Fuel From Gelling?

If you utilize a fuel additive, you can drive a diesel car in subzero temperatures. A fuel additive designed for diesel engines decreases the fuel pour point (the temperature at which it freezes) by as much as 40 degrees. It also inhibits gelling by dispersing water.

The crystals that form in diesel fuel during cold weather are altered by a diesel fuel additive. The additive lowers the size of the crystals in diesel fuel, preventing it from waxing or gelling. It alters the fuel’s chemical characteristics, allowing it to flow at temperatures considerably below zero degrees.

If the diesel has already gelled, an additive can help. To begin, empty the tank and disconnect the fuel line. Typically, this entails pouring the additive into the tank and waiting 20 minutes for it to break down the gel before starting the vehicle, but check any directions carefully to ensure you’re following the appropriate steps. Allowing your vehicle to idle for a few minutes will allow the fuel lines to clean.

Cold Weather Preparation

There are a few more things you can do to prepare your vehicle for cold weather besides utilizing a diesel fuel additive. First, make sure your battery is in good working order. When the weather turns cold after a hot summer, the battery is more vulnerable to failure. Replace your battery if the reading is less than 12.45 volts on a multimeter. You don’t want to have to deal with battery troubles on top of fuel issues.

Second, if temperatures are really low, an addition may not be sufficient. Keep in mind that an additive can reduce the pour point by up to 40 degrees. It can prevent blockage in temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. We all know that colder temperatures are feasible, and that the addition may become useless as a result. Even if the temperature does not drop that low, a block heater may be required, especially if you park outside. Make it a habit to turn on the block heater when the temperature drops below freezing.

You may avoid being stranded on even the coldest days if you take excellent care of your diesel vehicle and its gasoline.

NAPA Online has a comprehensive list of fuel additives, or visit one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare facilities for routine maintenance and repairs. Consult a trained specialist at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS shop for more information about diesel fuel.

Does idling prevent diesel gelling?

Diesel trucks frequently experience starter issues in the cold. While newer trucks include systems that help to mitigate this issue, it will continue to be a concern to some extent. This issue can arise due to the nature of diesel fuel and its composition.

Diesel is composed up of hydrocarbons, which solidify at 40 degrees below zero degrees Fahrenheit. The fuel gets gelatinous and the truck will not start correctly if this happens in the winter. The gel-like fuel is unable to pass through filters and start the engine effectively. Both petro diesel and biodiesel suffer from this issue.

During the winter months, gasoline suppliers offer a winter mix to help alleviate this problem. Winter diesel is made up of a mixture of hydrocarbons with a lower freezing point. It is more expensive, but it allows trucks to operate in most winter conditions. However, if the weather is very cold and the fuel suppliers have not yet switched to winter diesel, this will not assist.

If you’re stuck in unusually cold weather, consider leaving the engine idle as much as possible. While idling does use fuel, it keeps the fuel warm and prevents it from gelling, which reduces your fuel efficiency.

Additives and fuel treatments can be applied to the fuel to prevent gelling and prevent disasters when diesel problems arise in the winter. When possible, this is a better option than idling because these additives were created expressly for this reason. Keep in mind that most fuels’ cloud points are between 20 and -18 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to choose an all-season additive or one created exclusively for cold areas.” (Diesel Technology)

Finally, keeping an anti-gel in your truck during the winter months is a good idea. Even if your vehicle’s fuel has entirely gelled, most anti-gels will still work. All you have to do now is pour the gel into your petrol tank and wait a few hours for it to work.

Gelled Fuel in The Fuel Tank:

If the fuel in the tank has gelled, add the entire contents of Diesel Winter Rescue (32 ounces) to every 40 gallons of fuel in the tank (s). Remove the fuel filters and fill them with a 50/50 mixture of Diesel Winter Rescue and diesel fuel. Start your engine after reinstalling the fuel filters. Allow your engine to idle for a few minutes to warm up the fuel system and clear any gelled masses.

Gelled Fuel in Fuel Lines or Fuel Filters:

Remove the engine’s fuel filters and fill with the same 1:1 combination of Diesel Winter Rescue and conventional diesel fuel if your fuel is liquid in the fuel tank(s) but your engine won’t start. Reinstall the fuel filters, start the engine, and let it warm up completely.

How Do Hot Shot’s Diesel Winter Products Work?

Hot Shot’s Diesel Winter Rescue is a fully developed emergency product that contains a military-grade de-icer as well as a lubricity additive for diesel fuel. It’s designed to re-liquefy gelled fuel and de-ice frozen fuel filters, restoring diesel fuel flow to the engine and allowing the vehicle to resume normal operation. Having products like Diesel Winter Rescue in your vehicle during the winter months, when gelling is most likely, is a good idea.