Decrease the risk of cold-weather downtime with the right diesel.
When temperatures drop, a farmer’s work doesn’t stop. Keeping equipment running at its peak during colder weather requires a watchful eye on what’s in your fuel tank.
Here’s the main problem that comes when temperatures drop: Diesel fuel hits its cloud point — the temperature at which wax crystals begin to appear in the fuel, also known as gelling. Cloud point is reached in #2 diesel fuel when fuel temperatures hit 4 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on where you buy your fuel, says Chad Christiansen, manager of product quality and additives for CHS.
Running the wrong fuel past cloud point leads to performance trouble. “Putting fuel with wax crystals through equipment restricts fuel flow and plugs filters and fuel lines,” he says.
Winterizing Fuel by Degrees
Choosing a premium diesel fuel with a cold flow improver additive is the first step to fully protecting your diesel against cold-weather gelling and filter plugging. As temperatures continue to drop, you’ll want to replace #2 diesel with increasing proportions of #1 diesel, which is free of paraffin wax and offers the best operability on the coldest days.
While all these fuels are compatible, don’t make the switch all at once, says Jon Woetzel, CHS Energy technical services manager. Gradually transition equipment from #2 to a #1 diesel using these steps:
- Below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, use a blend of about 70 percent #2 diesel and 30 percent #1 diesel. Cenex® Ruby Fieldmaster® Seasonally Enhanced premium diesel fuels are blended at the terminal with a complete seasonal additive package, including a cold flow improver.
- As temps near zero Fahrenheit, use a fuel that is 30 percent #2 diesel and 70 percent #1 diesel. For enhanced low-temperature operability up to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, try Cenex Wintermaster® premium diesel fuel.
- When temperatures fall below minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, use straight #1 diesel. To keep additives at proper levels, use #1 diesel fuel with Cenex premium diesel fuel additive, if available in your area.