How To Keep Your Diesel Fuel Filter From Clogging

Posted on: 11 December 2015

If you have a work truck or a specialized vehicle that runs on diesel fuel, then you may find yourself with some fuel filter issues at some point. Diesel fuel filters help to remove dirt and other foreign debris from the fuel before it is burned to create power for the vehicle. Fuel filters need to be changed on occasion, and experts indicate that a replacement should be completed every two years or after you drive about 24,000 miles. However, if you find that the filter needs to be replaced much more often, then keep reading to learn about a few tips to keep the diesel fuel filter from clogging.

Prevent Waxing

Diesel fuel will start to thicken and gel when it becomes too cold. This often allows the paraffin within the fuel to harden and clog up the fuel filter. While most purchased fuels have additives to help keep the diesel from gelling when it becomes too cold, additives can break down over time and leave your fuel susceptible to the effects of the cold outdoor temperatures. If your diesel supplier has few customers or if the gas station where you buy your fuel does not go through the diesel very quickly, then this is likely the case. You can help to prevent the depletion of anti-gel additives by adding your own additive to the fuel tank every time you fill up. You can look for these additives at your local auto supply store. Most products will be labeled as cold weather or freeze protection additives for diesel fuel.

Along with adding additives to your fuel, you should think about adding a fuel heater to your truck as well. You can purchase a fuel heater kit to place a small heater inside the fuel tank. You also can purchase a heat belt that can be fitted around your fuel tank if you have an external supply tank attached to the bed of your truck. These products will keep the fuel warm, so it does not have an opportunity to gel. 

Reducing Water Accumulation Issues

Wax is not the only thing that can build up in your fuel tank and fuel lines when the weather turns cold. Water can also freeze and clog your fuel filter. Water also will allow microbes like bacteria and fungi to grow and further clog your filter. Water can get into your fuel tank in a number of ways. Condensation is one of the main ways that water will build up. Condensation forms as the temperature of the fuel inside the tank and the outside temperatures fluctuate. The heat caused by your vehicle through the exhaust and the heat off the asphalt can cause condensation to build too. Condensation is likely when cold fuel is placed in a relatively warm fuel tank. This condensation can build over time and cause a good deal of water to form in your fuel tank. Water can enter when you release the fuel cap to add diesel to the tank too, and the fuel itself may be contaminated with water.

Water in your fuel tank may freeze on your fuel filter, but you are likely to notice the car jerking and sputtering when you drive first. Also, your vehicle may not turn over right away on cold days due to the freezing of the water in the fuel lines. If you notice these issues, then consider adding a fluid to the fuel tank that helps to mix the water with the diesel fuel. This will allow the water to burn off as it passes through the fuel injectors. The type of fluid or additive to find is called an emulsifier. Add the fluid every several months to make sure that water is removed as soon as it starts to build up. For more information, contact a business such as Williams Oil Filter Service Co.