As you complete your harvest-season tasks, take necessary steps to minimize fuel-related problems when the temperature dips below freezing.

Cold weather can be an issue for users of both No. 2 diesel and biodiesel, and problems associated with tank maintenance can add to the difficulty.

Many farmers like to use biodiesel blends of 20 percent or greater during the summer months. While not impossible to use higher blends in the winter, it does require a high degree of fuel management and a vigilant tank-maintenance program. It is highly recommended the average diesel consumer reduce their biodiesel blend to 5 percent during the winter months.

High water concentration in fuel can lead to water-logged fuel filters. When the temperature of the filter gets below 32 degrees, the water freezes and blocks the flow of fuel through the filter.

Paraffin is a naturally occurring component of diesel fuel. When the temperature of fuel is at or below its cloud point, paraffin material can collect on the bottom of the tank. Wax anti-settling agent (WASA) additives can be used to keep paraffins from collecting at the bottom of the tank where they can cause filter plugging.

A few key points to keep in mind include:

• Before colder weather sets in, check tanks for water.

• Always install a dispenser filter on a storage tank to keep contaminants from reaching the vehicle tanks.

• In the winter, install a new dispenser filter, 30 micron or higher to handle the increased viscosity of the fuel.

• Check hoses, fill/vapor caps and gaskets for leaks.

• Transition to a lower-percentage biodiesel blend in winter months.

• Use an appropriate additive package and/or use No. 1 diesel to ensure operability.

• Fill your tank after harvest season. Fuel tanks should always be kept as full as possible to reduce fuel degradation from exposure to oxygen.

• If you have any fuel-related questions or need help troubleshooting a fuel-related problem, contact the Diesel Helpline at 800-929-3437.

Soybean oil continues to be the primary feedstock for U.S. biodiesel manufacturing. The soy checkoff partners with the National Biodiesel Board on biodiesel promotion and research, including proper handling procedures.