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The need for summer grade and winter grade fuels.

The need for summer grade and winter grade fuels.

The need for summer grade and winter grade fuels.

Winter Tractor

Red diesel, also known as gas oil, 35-second oil, or tractor diesel, is for use in off-road vehicles or machinery only. Gas oil is available in two grades, winter and summer grade, both of which have different properties. 

Summer grade fuel has a lower volatility than winter grade fuel. The volatility is an indication of how easily a liquid (or solid) will change into a vapour and is measured by Reid Vapour Pressure (RVP) - the higher the RVP, the more volatile the gasoline. 

Winter fuel can be used all year round but it would not be cost-effective to do so. Whereas summer fuel is only suitable for use during warmer months as it has a limited resistance to cold temperatures. 

Problems caused by using the wrong grade of fuel

The cold and wet months of winter can lead to operative problems for diesel engines. These problems can include issues with stopping or starting the engine or even engine failure. If summer grade fuel is still present in an engine when temperatures drop below -4°c this can cause further problems such as the formation of wax crystals and condensation within the fuel. 

Paraffins are present in all diesel fuels as they increase effective combustion. The paraffins are supposed to be in a liquid form where they will dissolve into the diesel. When the temperature drops though, the paraffins in summer grade fuel will solidify and begin to form crystals. These crystals can cause blockages in the fuel filter and lead the engine to fail from fuel starvation. 

How to protect your fuel from cold weather

To avoid encountering problems caused by colder conditions there are some preventative steps you can try. When storing fuel tanks and engines, store in a warm, dry place away from the elements and any contaminants. 

Its also important not to mix winter grade and summer grade fuels together. Doing this could cause the winter fuel to lose its properties and lower its resistance to cold temperatures. There are also additives that can be used to help fuel deal with extreme conditions. Additives such as Anti Wax can help to prevent the formation of wax crystals, but note that it won’t dissolve crystals that are already present. 

When preparing for winter, it is always advisable to plan ahead to avoid getting caught out by fuel waxing and other common cold-weather problems. 


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