Closeup of truck in winter conditions
Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Are you ready for winter and the bigger question, is your fuel system?

Performance Fuel Specialists to the rescue with tips to get you ready and they just may surprise you!

Winter has many challenges and those who think ahead about the basics make sure to have good tires and enough antifreeze! Waiting to put on your snow tires until after you are stuck is just as silly as trying to add more antifreeze after your engine is frozen. Planning ahead can help avoid these problems.

The piece that is missing for most individuals and fleets are the pre-winter preparation and planning for your fuel system. It is simple, inexpensive and can save you a lot of down time and headache,  So let’s begin with our list of Performance Fuel Specialists’ Pre-Winter Prep.

What about bulk fuel?

Remember that both diesel and gasoline are different for summer and winter.

Winter diesel is designed to run during the cold winter months and is especially important for those who live in the North. Summer diesel can gel and fail a full 20°F sooner than a winter diesel.

Gasoline has a different problem: Summer gasoline does not start easily in the cold, potentially leaving you stranded, and in the heat of the summer, winter gasoline can cause vapor lock issues, even with a new fuel system.

Purchase your fuel for the season you plan to use it if at all possible. A little planning is all it takes, but the results can be lifesaving.

It’s easy to see the importance of using seasonal fuel, the question is, When is the best time to buy my fuel? This is a great question and the answer may surprise you. The refineries start producing the winter fuel in October. Gasoline is simple, and if you are purchasing in bulk you should be safe purchasing sometime after Nov 1st. This gives a little time to get winter fuel in all the supply lines. 
Diesel fuel is a little more complicated. 

 

What is in crude oil?

As you can see in (Fig 1.), a barrel of crude oil contains layers of different products such as gas and diesel. Chart of crude oil components: gasoline, #1 diesel, #2 diesel, and otherEvery barrel of crude will produce so much of each. There are ways to make more by modifying the layers next door and make more of the product they want. For instance, when #2 diesel is in high demand, they will use some of the #1 level in the barrel to increase the amount of #2 for sale. This will make the #2 lighter. This is done when the temps are not cold and the need for the #1 fuel is not in high demand.

The reverse is also true. When the cold arrives the demand for the lighter #1 fuel increases. The answer is to dip into the lighter parts of the #2 diesel to create more #1. This makes the #1 and the # 2 both heavier and this is not helpful when the temperatures drop.

If you have a bulk tank the solution is to purchase your diesel in early November,  This will give you a lighter #2  and #1. When extreme cold arrives, you can purchase what you need but the fuel will be heavier.

How do fuel filters affect winter fuel performance?

To help understand the importance of this, think about the complexity of the new fuel systems. The tight tolerances and high pressures have created a need for very fine fuel filters. Not even 15 years ago, an average fuel filter was 30 microns. Chart showing size of spacing in fuel filtersToday’s filters are 3 microns or less. (See Figure 2.)  You can see just how big a difference there is in micron sizes. These tight filters are extremely hard to pull cold diesel fuel through.

Remember, diesel fuel is an oil and #2 is heavier than #1 and can get really thick in the cold. When the temperatures drop, the #1 can really help keeping your fuel thin and flowing, but it comes at a cost to your fuel system life and to your pocket book.

A good rule of thumb is to change your fuel filter in October or November so it is fresh and free-flowing when the weather turns.

PFS Arctic Xtreme can reduce the amount of #1 diesel you will need. And at a temperature above -15°F,  #2 with Arctic Xtreme should run just fine. After that, #1 can be added to thin your fuel and ensure that your equipment continues to run safely.  See our short video on when to blend for a complete explanation on proper diesel fuel blending methods.

Preventative fuel system maintenance is key

One more bit of advice.  At PFS we always recommend continuous use of our gasoline and diesel additives. This keeps your fuel system 100% clean and running at peak performance. This way, you remove the water a little at a time—all the time. This is really just simple logic. A fuel system that is clean and free from moisture will start and run better in the cold and dramatically reduce the chance of freeze-up. An added bonus it that you are always getting the best fuel efficiency possible.

A little planning and attention to your needs and exact situation cannot only save you money but it can save you down time on the side of a cold and lonely road somewhere.

PFS cares about your safety. Check out all of our videos and articles, plus test data (on each product page) to see just how much we can do for you.

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