Performance, reliability, and safety are essential with heavy equipment both for business operations and the well-being of operators, so it takes extra care through the winter months to keep equipment running smoothly. Prepare for these seasonal changes by developing strategies you can train your team on to address the common problems diesel engines may have in cold weather. Taking that extra step to create a cold weather routine can make all the difference for maintaining up-time and smooth performance.
Three of the most common issues diesel engines encounter during winter are battery issues with cold starts, fuel systems issues, and increased wear and tear on engine components. There are routine steps as well as proactive measures that can be utilized to improve these areas and keep your productivity on track, so keep reading to learn more on what you can implement.
Maintain Diesel Engine Batteries
With cold weather, batteries in diesel engines in particular are challenged with cold start issues since they require a significant amount of electrical power to turn over the engine at startup. The cold temperatures slow down chemical reactions for the battery which is part of the cause of startup challenges. Use these strategies to avoid potential issues:
- Utilize a battery blanket or block heater. By insulating batteries or using a heater to pre-heat the engine block, the strain required for the engine to start can be reduced.
- Establish a regular schedule to clean and maintain the battery components, so the cold weather and moisture do not accelerate corrosion problems.
- Monitor systems by regularly checking output voltage to be proactive in identifying any potential issues with a weakening battery. Paying attention to other indicators like slow cranking or dimming lights are also good indicators to test the battery so it can be addressed before a larger failure.
Protect Diesel Engine Fuel Systems
As temperatures fluctuate, water forming in the equipment’s fuel tank can become a more prevalent issue due to condensation from the temperature changes. This can damage fuel systems, cause the engine to shut off, and even create other contamination issues. Consider these strategies:
- Maintain full fuel tanks to avoid the issue of space for water to accumulate in fuel lines and the tank. Have a reminder at the end of the workday to finish with refueling.
- Add fuel additives to help prevent fuel gelling and to improve overall performance.
- Leave space in the operators’ schedules to allow the engine adequate warm up time so fuel can come to the proper operating temperature.
Monitor and Upkeep Diesel Engine Parts in Cold Weather
Beyond the larger battery or fuel system issues, another common reason why equipment comes to a halt simply can be from basic issues with rubber, plastic, or other internal components breaking down from the additional wear and tear from harsh winter conditions. A proactive plan can help prevent these inconveniences from impacting your schedule.
- Before daily operations begin, have operators perform a visual inspection to identify any potential issues, so parts can be ordered in advance as needed.
- On a monthly basis, lubricate moving parts, especially those most sensitive to the cold weather.
- Have an end of day routine to remove any buildup from snow and ice, and cover any components that are susceptible to breakage. Cold weather makes plastics and hoses brittle, so proper insulation can help increase longevity.
Establish Your Plan for Success
With these strategies in mind, you may want to go through and identify your team’s most common challenges when it comes to equipment during the winter months. Create the daily, weekly, and monthly routines that are needed. This investment of time is worthwhile to establish the rhythms to maintain diesel engines in cold weather and keep your equipment operational.
As you perform the visual inspections, address battery issues, and maintain fuel systems, ACTParts is here to support your needs. With an experienced team to provide guidance on parts, you will receive reliable support to address all your questions. Explore more of our catalog of offerings here, or contact us with questions.