When temperatures dip in the fall, many farmers know to blend down their fuel to a #1 for better cold-weather performance. However, with spring just around the corner, it’s time for producers to start de-winterizing their diesel for maximum efficiency as temperatures rise and strenuous work begins.
“Owners and operators should now start assessing how to get their equipment ready for summer,” says Steve Hinds, refined fuels business development manager at CHS. “They can do that by blending back to a #2 diesel, changing their filters, draining off any tank water and testing their fuel.”
Here are four tips to make sure your fuel system is prepared for planting season, according to Hinds.
1. BLEND BACK UP TO A #2 DIESEL.
During colder months, a #1 diesel is important to ensure equipment can still start and run in low temperatures. “When it starts to warm up, it’s equally as important to blend back up to a #2 to ensure optimal efficiency,” says Hinds.
Number 1 diesel has a lower viscosity, which means it doesn’t gel as quickly in extreme winter situations. However, lower viscosity also means that in high temperatures, equipment may not run as efficiently when carrying heavy loads.
To blend back up to a #2 diesel, owners and operators can use the same process they use for blending down, only reversed. However, there are special considerations to be aware of. “The spring has a tendency to go back and forth quite a bit with cold snaps,” says Hinds. “When blending back to a #2 diesel, remember temperatures will fluctuate, and blend accordingly.”
2. CLEAN OR CHANGE YOUR FILTERS.
“Filters are the most important part of any fuel system,” says Hinds. Colder temperatures often make engines work harder, which means more soot and debris could be present after winter — ultimately leading to issues like plugged injectors and potentially even downtime.
3. DRAIN ANY WATER.
During winter, condensation from temperature changes can lead to water buildup in the fuel tank. This is especially true for diesel in a bulk storage tank as opposed to fuel being actively used in a piece of equipment.
“Water accelerates fuel breakdown, damages filters and can lead to engine damage, possibly total engine failure,” says Hinds. “It’s vital to get water out of bulk storage before using the fuel.”
4. TAKE A FUEL SAMPLE AND GET IT TESTED.
Finally, spring is a key time to assess how well fuel is performing overall. Fuel tests can verify the quality of the diesel being used, which can in turn ensure top performance all year long. “Industry standards can be mismarked and used in misleading ways, so it’s important to confirm you are getting what you pay for,” says Hinds.
No matter the time of year, using a premium diesel like Cenex® Roadmaster XL® or Cenex Ruby Fieldmaster® keeps fuel and exhaust systems clean, increasing power and efficiency — all thanks to a more complete additive package for a more complete burn. Every gallon of Cenex Premium Diesel fuel contains a tailored blend of seven additives that are terminally injected to ensure the highest standards of quality and performance.
To get a fuel test, reach out to your local Cenex dealer, who can also help with questions regarding filter changes, blending up and draining excess water. For other tips and insights from Hinds, be sure to check out the Cenexperts® blog.