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At What Temp Does Diesel Freeze – How Low It Can Last?

by Jordan Harris
At What Temp Does Diesel Freeze

Have you ever wondered at what temp does diesel freeze? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be quite a lot to cover on this topic and we are going to learn all you need to know when it comes to the freezing temperatures of this type of fuel.

Doing the proper research on a specific topic is always a good thing. Everything has a freezing and boiling point and you need to make sure that you know both of these points when it comes to diesel fuel. Since you are running diesel equipment, knowing the facts is always really useful because you will be able to avoid some bad situations.

But more on that, we are going to cover later on in the article. What is important for you right now is to know that even though diesel machines are rather heavy-duty and able to withstand quite a lot.

In reality, they are really sensitive when it comes to fuel since they implement a system known as common rail diesel injection. This is a direct injection system that implements some really expensive injectors that are a pain to clean if they get clogged. But more on that, later on in the article.

First, we are going to cover what is diesel fuel and why it is so popular when it comes to heavy-duty applications. We will cover the pros and cons of running diesel. As well as whether diesel goes bad and also at what temp does diesel freeze. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

What Is Diesel Fuel

Now before we dive into more complex topics, such as at what temp does diesel freeze? Let’s first take a look at what is diesel fuel in general. We think that we need a good starting point when it comes to understanding more about diesel. And this chapter will be perfect if you want to introduce yourself to diesel fuel and how it works. So, let’s dive into it.

So, what is diesel fuel? Well, diesel fuel is a fuel that is specifically designed to work on diesel engines.

Diesel engines do not follow the same principles as gas engines. They do not have spark plugs to ignite the fuel since diesel does not ignite.

Diesel fuel is very thick in consistency and not very flammable. So, in order to ignite this type of fuel, you need to take a different approach. And that is compression.

Only high compression can ignite diesel and help the fuel release its energy. And when it comes to energy, diesel fuel has a lot of it.

Diesel is probably one of the most energy-dense types of fuel. It produces a ton of power for a fraction of fuel spent.

Unlike gasoline which bursts into flames under slight compression, diesel is much more resistant to compression and this helps the engine to create a lot of power in the process.

Diesel fuel is mostly produced from crude oil. But there are some alternatives like biodiesel that are derived from plants and animals. Usually from animal fat, vegetable oil, and soybean oil. There are many ways to produce diesel fuel from nature. But how a diesel engine works? More on that we are going to cover next before we dive into at what temp does diesel freeze.

How Diesel Engines Work

Now let’s move on and start learning how diesel engines actually work before we dive into understanding at what temp does diesel freeze. Why do we think that this is necessary? Well, mainly because knowing this stuff is really useful for understanding more about this technology and fuel in general. So, let’s cover this quickly.

So, how do diesel engines work? Well, unlike gasoline engines that rely on something to ignite the fuel and create an explosion. In diesel engines, this is quite different.

Diesel fuel is really dense and does not ignite quickly as gas would. So, a spark from the spark plug will not do much to detonate the diesel inside of the cylinder.

This is why a different approach had to be taken when it comes to diesel vehicles. And this approach includes using high compression to detonate the fuel. How does this work?

At What Temp Does Diesel Freeze

Well, the diesel fuel is injected into the cylinder at high pressure, so strong of a pressure that atomizes the diesel.

Then the piston moves up and compresses the fuel so much that it creates a ton of heat and at this point, the fuel had enough and decides to detonate.

Then this action moves the pistons up and down. Quite simpler than compared to gas-powered cars where you have a spark plug on each cylinder.

But this doesn’t mean that diesel engines have fewer problems than gas-powered engines. They are not perfect and still can have some problems. Especially with the turbo and injectors which often can fail and cause issues. But at what temp does diesel freeze? More on this, we are going to cover it in a bit.

Why Diesel Is So Popular

Now let’s take a look at why diesel is so popular fuel before we dive into the topic of what temp does diesel freeze. What makes diesel fuel so special and really popular for some applications?

Well, as we mentioned previously, diesel fuel is very energy dense. This means that diesel is able to release more energy from the same amount of liquid as gasoline. So, in a gallon of diesel, there is more energy than in a gallon of gasoline.

This helps in fuel efficiency since diesel engines are a lot more fuel efficient in comparison to gas-powered engines.

And the most important aspect is the low-end torque that diesel delivers. Low-end torque if you didn’t know is the torque from the bottom of the RPM range.

At What Temp Does Diesel Freeze

So, if a gas-powered engine gets a lot of torque on high RPM, then diesel engines get a lot of torque at the very low end of the RPM range.

This makes them perfect for heavy-duty applications like trucks, buses, ships, and locomotives. Every heavy-duty machinery uses diesel engines. There is no replacement for diesel power, that’s certain.

Diesel also has found its way into the automotive world. Especially in Europe where there are a lot of diesel passenger vehicles that are very fuel efficient and deliver excellent fuel economy.

Even though, there are some drawbacks when it comes to diesel engines from an ecological standpoint.

They create something known as NOx particles. These particles are really toxic and harmful to people and can be detrimental to our health. This is why the focus went on creating cleaner cars like electric vehicles. But at what temp does diesel freeze? More on that we are going to cover in a bit.

Does Diesel Have Octane Rating

Now before we dive into the topic at what temp does diesel freeze, let’s cover another very interesting topic and that is the octane rating of diesel. A ton of people are confused all the time and think that diesel has an octane rating. But is this actually the case?

Well, not quite. As you probably know, gasoline has octane ratings from 87 to 93. But what is an octane rating?

Well, octane rating in simple terms is the ability of the gasoline to resist compression. So, the higher octane rating gas has the ability to support stronger compression and not detonate prematurely as the lower octane gasoline.

This is why the 87 is considered a standard and the 93 is considered to be a premium gas and is rather more expensive than the basic.

If you have a car that is designed to run on high compression, then you should greatly benefit from the premium gas by getting more performance out of it. But does diesel has an octane rating?

Well, diesel does not have an octane rating. Diesel fuel does not follow these measurements and basically, you should never worry if you have put lower octane diesel in your truck.

But what diesel has is numbers. For example, diesel 1 and diesel 2. And more about these numbers, we are going to cover in the following chapters, where we are going to understand how these numbers work.

Once we cover this topic, we will move on and learn more about what temp does diesel freeze and learn more about the temperatures that should worry you when it comes to this aspect. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Diesel 1 VS 2

Another topic that we would like to discuss before we start discussing at what temp does diesel freeze is diesel 1 vs 2. You probably came across this situation at the pump and you are asking yourself this question. Which diesel is better? Let’s elaborate.

These two fuels basically differentiate in two aspects. And that is the volatility and the viscosity. Diesel 1 is much more volatile and has higher cetane ratings than diesel 2. So, this means that diesel 1 burns a lot faster than diesel 2.

And here we come to the second important topic which is viscosity. Viscosity is the thickness of the fuel. Diesel 1 is a lot thinner than diesel 2.

So, when it comes to winter months, diesel 1 will be better because this type of fuel does not get too thick like diesel 2 in really cold weather.

Diesel 1 also has some added additives. The additives help the engine work better and help extend the engine life.

Diesel 2 also has some pros like better fuel economy. As we noted previously, diesel 2 is less volatile, in other words, it burns a lot slower than diesel 1. So, with this type of fuel, you will squeeze more miles in comparison to diesel 1.

And also, when it comes to the prices, diesel 2 also has some advantages. Diesel 2 is far cheaper in comparison to diesel 1. So, you will get more miles from a full fuel tank in comparison to diesel 1.

When it comes to additives, you can always get some from the pump and pour them into the gas tank to make the fuel perform better. But at what temp does diesel freeze? More on this topic, in a bit.

Diesel Fuel Pros and Cons

Now before we discuss at what temp does diesel freeze, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of diesel fuel.

As with everything, so does diesel technology has its ups and downs. This is why we think that is really important to cover them in order for you to get a better perspective of what to expect when purchasing a diesel car or truck. So, let’s dive into the positives and negatives before we start discussing at what temp does diesel freeze.

At What Temp Does Diesel Freeze, Diesel Fuel Pros:

When it comes to the pros that diesel has, we can say that there are plenty of them. This is a rather energy-dense fuel.

So, this means that in diesel fuel there is a ton more energy per gallon in comparison to standard gasoline. Even though gasoline is much more flammable, it does not create the same level of power as diesel.

Another pro of diesel is that it has a higher viscosity than gasoline. This allows the fuel to lubricate the engine and this greatly affects the overall longevity of the engine itself. Even though diesel engines are made to be really tough, they still benefit from the fuel which helps them lubed and this greatly reduces the wear and tear capabilities of these specific engines.

Also, having more energy-dense fuel allows the engine to develop a lot of low-end torque that is available at the low end of the RPM range.

Having more torque is really useful when it comes to heavy-duty applications. So, in order for a truck to tow well, it needs to have a lot of torque produced from the engine.

And another positive of diesel fuel is that it can be harvested from natural sources. Biodiesel is produced from animal byproducts as well as from plants and even old vegetable oil. So, we can say that this is a sustainable fuel since it doesn’t have to be harvested from crude oil as gasoline has.

And the last pro is that it burns rather slowly which makes diesel fuel a lot more efficient. Even though, we cannot say that it is very clean. And more on that, we will cover next before we cover at what temp does diesel freeze.

At What Temp Does Diesel Freeze, Diesel Fuel Cons:

Now let’s cover the cons of running a diesel car or truck before we dive into the topic of at what temp does diesel freeze. Are there any cons to diesel fuel? Well, there are cons that really caused diesel not to be the fuel of choice when it comes to passenger cars.

The first con is that diesel cars tend to be more expensive to produce. These cars implement rather complex engines with turbine and common rail direct injection that makes them rather expensive to produce.

The second con of diesel fuel is that the fuel is rather expensive in comparison to alternatives like regular 87 octane gas or E85 fuel. So, people would rather opt for these fuels instead of diesel.

In addition to this servicing vehicles that are equipped with diesel engines is rather expensive. The injectors alone could cost you thousands of dollars to replace. Also, the turbine is rather expensive to replace as well.

But the biggest drawback of diesel is the emissions. Diesel fuel vehicles produce a ton of emissions more than standard gas. Diesel even though burns slowly, does not burn cleanly.

So, this greatly affects what comes from the exhaust. And the biggest deal breaker in this case with the diesel fuel is that it produces a ton of NOx particles. More precisely 11.5 times more than the standard gas-powered engine.

And keeping this diesel engine running clean requires a lot of expensive catalytic equipment. Namely, the EGR valve (to learn more, check out our explainer on what the EGR does in your car), and diesel particulate filters (DPF). All these components are rather expensive and even though they are mounted on the car, they actually not managing to fully destroy the NOx. But at what temp does diesel freeze? More on that, next.

At What Temp Does Diesel Freeze

Now let’s get to the point of this article, which is the diesel freezing point (for more context into how winter affects car fluids, check out our guide on does oil freeze), also known as the diesel gel point. Let’s elaborate.

When it comes to at what temp does diesel freeze, we can say that diesel does not freeze. This fuel does not have a freezing point. At least not here on planet Earth.

But what can happen when the temperatures get low at about 32 degrees is that the fuel will start to thicken up. It will start to resemble a gel.

And this thickening in the consistency of the diesel can cause a lot of problems when it comes to running diesel cars and trucks.

This is why if you are aware, diesel vehicles in winter require to be properly warmed up before they are used.

So, if you live in very cold environments, you might have a problem when it comes to the proper flow of diesel early in the morning since the lines could get clogged with this gel-like diesel. But what is good is that there are a lot of products out there that are anti-gel. And more about that we are going to discuss in the next chapter, where we will share the most highly recommended anti-gel solutions.

Diesel Fuel Additives For Winter

So, we figured out at what temp does diesel freeze and learned that this fuel does not freeze, it only gels up. And here we come to the important topic of how you can avoid this situation and prevent the diesel from gelling up. Luckily, there are a couple of additives that exist and you can purchase them on Amazon. So, let’s cover them really quickly.

The most popular solution out there with a ton of reviews is this Hot Shot’s diesel anti-gel solution. This solution as the manufacturer claims will prevent gelling and icing. Also, it will disperse moisture and increase the cetane rating of the fuel up to 7 points (so long as you don’t accidentally put gas in your car while it’s running).

This is rather good if you use diesel 2 to boost a bit the cetane rating. Now let’s move on to the next product. The second product on our list is this STA-BIL anti-gel additive. This is also a very popular additive on Amazon with a ton of positive ratings from customers. This additive will increase the anti-gel protection to up to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

At What Temp Does Diesel Freeze: In Conclusion…

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to at what temp does diesel freeze. First, we learned what is diesel fuel and its main characteristics.

In the second part of the article, we have covered the pros and cons of diesel fuel as well as at what temp does diesel freeze. As well as what you can do to prevent this by using certain additives.

F.A.Qs On At What Temp Does Diesel Freeze

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Does Diesel Go Bad

Diesel does not go bad easily as gasoline does. It can be stable for more than 12 months with no problem whatsoever. When it starts to go bad it usually gets thicker and this can clog up your filters.

How Long Does Diesel Last

Usually, diesel lasts for more than 12 months with no problems. After 12 months the fuel can get thicker and can end up damaging some of your filters. Even though I’ve seen a few years old diesel run in a car perfectly well.

How To Ungel Diesel Fuel

You can park the car in a temperature-controlled garage and it will ungel. Or if you don’t have this kind of garage, you can just get diesel additive specific for this purpose.

Does Gas Freeze

Gas does not freeze at all. So, you should not worry about your gasoline ending up freezing in the winter. At least not here on planet Earth. The first crystals only start to appear at -40 degrees Fahrenheit and will freeze at -100 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Temp Does Gas Freeze

Gasoline freezes at -100 degrees Fahrenheit. But considering that nowhere on this planet temperatures reach that low, you should not worry about your gas freezing any time soon.

Will A Little Gas Hurt A Diesel Engine

Gasoline does not affect diesel engines as diesel affects gasoline engines. Even if you do a mistake, it would not be catastrophic like pouring diesel into a gas engine. Although I would not recommend you make any of these two mistakes because they will result in expensive repair bills if there is too much of the wrong fuel inside the tank.

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