Protecting your Diesel Truck Battery and Engine from the Cold

It’s that time of year when taking precautions now can save you a lot of headaches later. Cold is the enemy of diesel engines and batteries, so for a refresher on how to keep your truck from falling victim to frigid temps, check out this compilation of tips.

Temperature Impacts Battery Life

Excessive heat will wear down a battery after a few summers of drastic temperatures, but the cold will also negatively affect the capacity of a battery. The chart in this article offers a great illustration of this truth.

Your truck’s battery needs to maintain a full charge, which is between 12.6 and 12.8 volts but can go up to 13.2 volts depending on the battery type. When subjected to extreme cold, the voltage can dip below the recommended levels, which leads to something called “sulfation,” and diminishes the capacity and lifespan of the battery.

When sulfation is allowed to go on for weeks or months, the problem becomes permanent, which means you’re shelling out money for a new battery. The following are some ideas you can use to prevent that from happening, but also ensure that your truck will start with no problem even on the coldest of days and nights.

Block Heater

Not only will a block heater keep your battery from reaching a state of sulfation, but it will also keep your entire engine block warm, making it easier to start when the ambient temps reach the “frigid” stage. Most diesel truck owners will plug their block heaters in overnight, ensuring they will have zero problems starting their trucks in the morning.

Glow Plug Inspection

While it’s always smart to make a pre-winter list of items to take care of before that first frost hits, if you haven’t checked glow plugs and relay, now is the time to do it. Without these vital components that allow your diesel gas to combust and your engine to run, you’re not going anywhere.

Give the plugs and the relay a careful inspection, looking for signs of wear and tear. If you know it’s been a while since they were last replaced, it might be a good thing to have done at the shop sooner rather than later.

Test the Battery

Don’t gamble on an old battery – get it tested. Yes, some batteries seem to have some odd ability to last and last, but don’t count on an old battery to get you through a cold snap.

Fill Your Tank

Condensation is the enemy of any engine, and when you’re fuel tank isn’t topped off, you’re giving condensation a chance to form, which will introduce water into the fuel system. A full tank also provides better fuel pressure, which can help your engine fire up on a super cold day.

Need help winterizing your diesel truck? Gray Diesel has you covered. Make an appointment with us and we’ll get your diesel maintenance squared away so you’re not stuck without your truck on a cold winter day or night.