February 7, 2023

Tips for Starting a Cold Diesel Engine

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Diesel owners love their trucks and will argue that it’s better than a gas engine every time. When its cold outside, you might get a different response. These days, most cars start within two seconds of turning the ignition. When the temperature drops, metal cylinder walls get cold and most vehicles become harder to start. Diesel engines need higher temperatures for the fuel to fire, so they’ve always been even harder to start in the cold. This created the need for various ways to keep the engine and parts warm, so it will start easier. These tips for starting a cold diesel engine will get you back on the road faster.

Have more than one heating method

If, or when, you buy a diesel-powered vehicle, ask the dealer what heaters are included in the purchase. If you live in a cold climate, or plan on doing a lot of traveling to cold areas, it’s a good idea to have more than one heater. A heater is a tool like any other; sometimes they fail, so be prepared with a back-up.

Use block heaters

Many diesels come with a block heater already installed to keep the engine warm overnight. You just park the truck and plug the heater into a wall socket. If there isn’t one already, they’re widely available, and you can install them quickly. When you buy one, consult with someone at the store. They’ll help make sure you get the right size heater for your engine and the temperatures you’ll frequently experience. When the block heater doesn’t work, try using a hair dryer. Blast the air ducts with the warm air to help the block heater get things warm.

Use battery warmers

If the truck sat on the block warmer all night and it still won’t start, it could be the battery. Batteries will lose 35% of their power at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and can lose up to 60% at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Without the battery, the ignition won’t work, so a frozen battery isn’t much good. Battery warmers work on electricity like block heaters do. Get a long extension cord and plug it in.

Use oil warmers

To keep the oil and other fluids in the engine warm, you can buy a heated dipstick. Just plug it in whenever you stop. There are many other fluid warmers on the market. They’re designed for extreme and extended cold areas such as Alaska and Canada. Their purpose is to keep coolant and fuel lines from freezing up.

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