Maintaining Your Diesel Engine during the Winter

Diesel engines require extra care during the winter, and with winter seasons that are more and more unpredictable, it’s important to start thinking about how you can best maintain your diesel engine in all scenarios, particularly if you are working with a diesel engine through the winter months.

Starting your diesel engine in the winter can be more difficult than any other season, but it’s not impossible to keep your diesel engine working and running its best when facing dropping temperatures. Being proactive now can save you money later.  Let’s take a look at the best strategies to prevent the most common engine problems experienced during winter.

Warm-Up Time is Essential

Don’t underestimate the time it will take for your engine to warm up. Giving your diesel engine the time to warm up before operating it is critical for the long-term maintenance and performance of your engine. Failing to do so will cause your engine to work harder than necessary. Consider investing in a heating block or glow plug to save time and keep the core temperature of your engine warm. Fuel heaters like these can also prevent the crystallization of wax and other fuel gelling.

Find Warm Engine Storage

Park strategically. If possible keep your engine in a warm area where it will not be exposed to sleet, snow, and especially winter winds. The colder your engine, the harder it will be to get your equipment to start. Parking your equipment out of the wind can be a small yet powerful way to maintain a manageable engine temperature. Keeping your diesel engine somewhere even a few degrees warmer can make all the difference for a quicker engine warm up.

Keep a Full Fuel Tank

A full fuel tank doesn’t have room for condensation. Keeping your fuel tank full during the winter will eliminate any space for condensation to build up and freeze.

Change Fuel Filters

Fuel filters are the most common freezing point for diesel fuel. Compared to the fuel tank, a small amount of fuel remains in the filter when the engine sits overnight. Changing your fuel filter before the coldest winter months isn’t a guarantee that you won’t experience gelling issues, but it offers a fresh start to get rid of a clogged cartridge that could potentially freeze. As a result, it’s less likely that you will be tasked with changing your fuel filter during the coldest part of the year.

Avoid Frozen Fuel

A common problem during the winter is when diesel fuel forms wax crystals due to the dropping temperatures. As a result, this damaged fuel will clog fuel filters and prevent the engine from running. Consider using a special winter-blended diesel fuel that reduces the temperatures at which these crystals will form.

Thaw Your DEF

If you plan on adding any Diesel Exhaust Fluid to your machinery, make sure that it is kept at a temperature above 12 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent it from freezing. Having your DEF thawed and prepared makes sure that it is ready to be dispensed when necessary.


At Crossley’s Automotive Machine Shop Service, our team’s years of experience, expertise, and innovation will help increase your engine’s horsepower, performance, and reliability. Contact us for more information about our services and how we can get your engine running its best.


2 replies
  1. Mia Evans
    Mia Evans says:

    Thanks for pointing out that the diesel engine would be having a hard time in the winter season compared to other seasons. I guess we need to take the vehicle of my dad to a professional for a diesel engine repair this weekend, so it can work and run again. It has been parked outside the garage since January, and we don’t want to dispatch it yet due to its sentimental value.

  2. Victoria Addington
    Victoria Addington says:

    It was fascinating to know that the common freezing point for diesel fuel is fuel filters. My friend wants to secure hteir diesel fuel. I should advise him to look for a providet that offers diesel fuel delivery in their area.


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