Tips on Winterizing Your Diesel Vehicle for Smooth Cold-Weather Driving

Sometimes starting your diesel vehicle in frigid temperatures can let you down. Diesel engines respond differently to cold weather than gasoline engines.

Prepping your diesel vehicle for the winter months is key to avoiding being stranded in the snow or paying costly repair fees. Fortunately, you can perform many of the necessary preparations in your own garage.

Having more water than ethylene glycol in your cooling system increases the likelihood of the coolant freezing, which messes up the circulation of your engine’s cooling system. Ironically, this blockage could cause your engine to overheat.

Check your antifreeze/coolant levels to keep your engine at optimal temperatures and with the correct water-to-ethylene glycol ratio to keep your vehicle’s cooling system functioning correctly in the winter months. The proper ratio will depend on the climate you live in.

During the winter months, diesel fuel forms wax-like crystals, which eventually gel when it becomes extremely cold. The phenomenon is known as “diesel fuel gelling.”

The resulting waxy buildup in the fuel filters, lines, or injectors causes engine performance issues and leads to engine failure.

You can use fuel additives to prevent buildup. Additives improve cold-weather performance and even remove existing wax crystals to keep the fuel running smoothly.

  1. Tire tread: Try the penny trick to assess the condition of your all-weather tires. Insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head facing downwards. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, it indicates your tires are worn-out and lacks the necessary tread depth for driving on snow and ice. Consider replacing tires to ensure better traction and safety on wintry roads.
  2. Tire pressure: Temperature changes can lower your tire pressure. Test your tires’ pressure before long trips to be safe, and always keep a tire gauge in your vehicle.

Checking your heater and defroster is essential to be warm and toasty while avoiding an icy or foggy windshield this winter.

Replace your regular washer fluid with winter-grade washer fluid with antifreeze properties. Make sure the fluid reservoir is full.

Turn on your wipers and make sure they are working correctly. Always have an ice scraper handy if you need to remove ice from the windshield and wiper blades quickly.

You should already have your regular emergency kit items, like a first aid kit, jumper cables, blankets, tire-changing tools, etcetera. But every winter, you should add things that would help if you get stuck in your car in the freezing weather. Here are some things to add:

  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Kitty litter or sand for traction if your vehicle gets stuck in ice or snow
  • Snow shovel
  • Extra clothes for warmth
  • Hand warmers
  • Extra windshield wiper fluid
  • Rope or tow strap
  • Tire chains
  • Emergency food and water
  • Emergency mylar blankets



Get a professional's help!​​

Depending on your skill set, some equally important items require visiting your local BG shop, where your trusted tech can use specific tools to check and prepare your car for winter and address any findings.

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