DON’T FREEZE UP, JUST CHILL: 6 Cold, Hard Facts about Operating a Diesel Engine in Winter

transportation, winter, people and vehicle concept - closeup of man pouring antifreeze into carAutomotive technology has come a long way– so far, in fact, it’s much easier to drive or operate diesel-powered vehicles and equipment during the winter months. Advancement in block heaters and overall efficiency mean diesels aren’t as troublesome as they once were when the temperature drops below zero. Still, there are a few adjustments you can make now that will ensure your diesel engine runs even smoother when the snow flies. Read on for EngineTech’s facts about running a diesel engine during winter.

    • Don’t be a blockhead: Block heaters come standard with almost all diesel vehicles and equipment, but many are used incorrectly. Block heaters are designed to maintain the heat an engine produces while running, not warm it up from cold. Always plug your diesel engine’s block heater in immediately or soon after use. Also unplug the block heater before starting the engine, not after.


    • To idle, or not to idle: Generally, idling keeps your engine at colder temperature than it would when in-use or immediately after. For more efficient warming: only idle to bring your diesel engine’s oil pressure up, then drive it a short distance


    • Flu-id season: Changing your engine’s oil and fluids can be a pain, but it’s even more of a pain in freezing weather. Whether you enjoy D-I-Y or the convenience of a quick-change service, plan it before the winter months. Consider synthetic or less viscous fluids, as they flow easier in cold temperatures.


    • Make a list, check it twice: Take a hint from Saint Nicholas and make note of all the “naughty” and “nice” parts of your diesel vehicle or equipment. If you’ve noticed an unfamiliar sound or poor performance, have it addressed in the fall. Winter weather can be harsh on worn parts, which could leave you stranded in a deep-freeze if left unchecked. All hoses, belts, gaskets, glow plugs and other essentials should be inspected and replaced, if needed.


    • Four on the floor: Don’t overlook your tires, wheels and brakes during a vehicle inspection. Worn rubber or poor lubrication can stop even a well-maintained diesel engine. Consider all-season or winter tires for best performance.


  • Gimme shelter: So, what is the best strategy for preserving your diesel vehicle or equipment? Keep it out of the elements. A well-insulated or heated enclosure may be an investment, but it can prevent plenty of unnecessary wear and tear.


Don’t get left out in the cold– act on this list today and you will enjoy a smooth-running diesel engine all year long. Ensure your diesel vehicle or equipment experiences a winter wonderland by making the few, simple adjustments above. Remember to adjust your usage to the conditions and always consider others around you. If you have any concerns about your diesel engine, contact or visit EngineTech today for a professional consultation with our experts.