How to Fix Diesel Gelling

Have you ever been driving down the road and felt your vehicle suddenly sputter or lose power? Have you found yourself stranded on the side of the road, needing a tow because your diesel engine has begun to gel? You’re not alone. Although this problem is highly problematic, luckily it’s one that can be fixed with due diligence and knowledge!

How to Fix Diesel Gelling

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my tips on how to fix diesel gelling so that you can keep moving without interruption — after all, there’s no time for engine problems when we have places to go! Read on for the best ways to ensure your diesel car or truck won’t leave you hanging at an inconvenient time in the future.

What is Diesel Gelling?

First things first, let’s define what diesel gelling actually is. Diesel fuel contains a form of wax that can thicken and congeal in cold temperatures. When this happens, it can clog filters and prevent the fuel from flowing properly, causing the engine to stall or not start at all. This phenomenon is known as diesel gelling or waxing. It typically occurs when the temperature drops below 32°F (0°C), but can also happen at higher temperatures if the fuel has a high percentage of paraffin wax.

9 Best Ways on How to Fix Diesel Gelling

1. Use Anti-Gel Additives:

Adding an anti-gel additive to your fuel tank is one of the most common and effective ways to prevent diesel gelling. These additives lower the freezing point of the fuel, making it less likely to gel in cold temperatures. Just be sure to use a reputable brand and follow the instructions carefully. Using too much can do more harm than good.

2. Keep Your Fuel Tank Full:

Next, make sure to keep your fuel tank as close to full as possible during cold weather. This will prevent condensation from forming in the tank, which can mix with the diesel and cause gelling. Plus, having a full tank means there is less room for air and moisture to enter, reducing the chances of gelling. This method also applies to storing diesel fuel for longer periods of time.

3. Add a Fuel Heater:

Investing in a fuel heater can also help prevent diesel gelling. These devices warm up the fuel before it enters the engine, ensuring that it stays liquid and flows properly. Some vehicles come equipped with factory-installed fuel heaters, but aftermarket options are available if your car or truck doesn’t have one. Adding a fuel heater can also improve engine performance and fuel efficiency.

Investing in a Fuel Heater

4. Install an Engine Block Heater:

Another way to keep your diesel engine from gelling is by installing an engine block heater. This device warms up the engine oil, which in turn helps warm up the entire engine and prevent gelling. It’s important to plug in the block heater at least an hour before starting the engine in cold weather for best results.

5. Use Winter Diesel Fuel:

During colder months, you may want to consider using winter diesel fuel if it’s available in your area. This type of fuel is specially formulated to resist gelling at lower temperatures and contains additives that prevent wax from solidifying. Check with your local gas stations or fuel suppliers to see if they offer winter diesel fuel options.

6. Park in a Garage or Shelter:

If possible, try to park your vehicle in a garage or shelter during cold weather. This will help keep the temperature around the engine and fuel tank warmer, reducing the chances of gelling. If you don’t have access to a garage, consider investing in a car cover to help insulate your vehicle.

7. Replace Fuel Filters Regularly:

Regularly replacing your fuel filters is essential for preventing diesel gelling. As the fuel flows through the filter, it can cool down and possibly gel if it’s already on the verge of freezing. Make sure to follow the recommended maintenance schedule for your specific vehicle to ensure that filters are changed at the appropriate intervals.

8. Use Fuel Additives Before Storage:

If you plan on storing your diesel vehicle for an extended period of time, it’s important to use fuel additives before doing so. These additives will help keep the fuel from gelling and causing problems when you start up your vehicle again. Simply add the recommended amount of additive to a full tank of fuel and run the engine for a few minutes to ensure it circulates throughout the fuel system.

You Start Up Your Vehicle Again

9. Have Emergency Supplies on Hand:

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to have emergency supplies on hand if you experience diesel gelling while on the road. Keep an extra fuel filter, some anti-gel additive, and possibly even a small container of diesel fuel in your car or truck for emergencies. These supplies can help get you back on the road quickly and safely.

Following these tips on how to fix diesel gelling will help ensure that you won’t run into any issues with your diesel engine during cold weather. It’s important to stay proactive and take preventative measures to avoid unexpected breakdowns. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Stay safe and warm out there on the road. Happy driving!

Additional Tips and Tricks to Fix Diesel Gelling

1. Use an anti-gelling additive in your diesel fuel tank. These additives can help prevent or reverse the effects of gelled diesel by lowering the temperature at which it will solidify.

2. Park your vehicle indoors or use a block heater to keep the engine and fuel warm during cold temperatures.

3. If you are experiencing severe diesel gelling, consider switching to a winter blend diesel fuel that is designed for colder temperatures.

4. Keep your fuel tank at least half full to minimize the amount of space available for condensation, which can lead to water in the fuel and contribute to gelling.

5. Make sure your vehicle’s fuel filters are clean and free from debris. Dirty filters can restrict the flow of fuel and make it more difficult for diesel to move through the system.

6. Consider installing an electric fuel heater in your diesel fuel line. This can help warm up the fuel as it moves through the system, preventing gelling from occurring.

7. In extreme cases, you may need to use a specialized diesel fuel deicer or seek assistance from a mechanic experienced with diesel engines.

8. Regularly check and replace your vehicle’s diesel fuel filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This can help prevent gelling and other fuel-related issues.

9. Educate yourself on the signs of diesel gelling and how to properly handle it in case it occurs while you are traveling or in a remote location.

10. Keep a spare bottle of anti-gelling additive in your vehicle, especially if you frequently drive in cold weather. This can come in handy if you run into issues while on the road.

11. Consider investing in a diesel fuel treatment that includes both anti-gelling and anti-microbial properties. This can help prevent not only gelling but also the growth of bacteria and algae in your diesel fuel tank.

Following these additional tips and tricks can help you avoid or quickly fix diesel gelling, ensuring that your vehicle runs smoothly during the colder months. It is important to stay vigilant and prepared when it comes to caring for your diesel engine in order to prevent any potential issues.

Regularly Check and Replace Your Vehicle's

By taking proper precautions and regularly maintaining your vehicle, you can keep your diesel fuel flowing and avoid any costly repairs due to gelled diesel. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to keeping your diesel engine running smoothly in cold weather conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes Diesel Fuel Gelling?

Diesel fuel gelling is caused by the formation of paraffin crystals, also known as wax, in cold temperatures. These crystals can clog fuel filters and prevent the flow of diesel fuel through the engine. This phenomenon occurs when the temperature drops below the cloud point, which is typically around 32°F (0°C) for most diesel fuels.

What are the Symptoms of Diesel Fuel Gelling?

The most common symptom of diesel fuel gelling is difficulty starting the engine or the engine not starting at all. This is because the paraffin crystals have clogged the fuel filter and are preventing fuel from reaching the engine. Other symptoms include reduced power, stalling, and rough running. In severe cases, diesel fuel gelling can lead to engine damage.

How Can I Prevent Diesel Fuel Gelling?

One way to prevent diesel fuel gelling is by using a winter blend diesel fuel. This type of fuel contains additives that lower the cloud point and prevent wax from forming in cold temperatures. Another option is to use an anti-gel additive, which can be added directly to the fuel tank. It works by breaking up the paraffin crystals and preventing them from clogging the fuel filter.

 Using a Winter Blend Diesel Fuel

What Should I Do If My Diesel Fuel Gels?

If you suspect that your diesel fuel has gelled, do not try to start the engine. This could cause further damage. Instead, let the vehicle warm up in a heated garage or use an external heat source such as a space heater or heated blankets to warm up the fuel tank. Once the fuel has thawed, add an anti-gel additive and change the fuel filter if necessary.


All in all, knowing how to fix diesel gelling is essential for ensuring the proper functioning of your diesel engine, especially in cold temperatures. Taking preventative measures and knowing what to do in case of gelling can save you from costly repairs and downtime.

Remember to always use a winter blend fuel or add an anti-gel additive to prevent diesel fuel gelling. Stay informed and prepared, and your diesel engine will thank you. So, be aware of the temperature and take necessary precautions to avoid diesel fuel gelling. Stay safe on the road!

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