Why Do You Plug In Diesel Trucks?

Winter time is here and along with the beautiful snow comes frigid temperatures, temperatures low enough to do damage to vehicles or create a problem when starting them up.  Diesel engines have a harder time starting in the cold than gasoline engines, because Diesel fuel has a different composition.  Diesel fuel will gel when sprayed into the combustion chamber if not properly heated.

The cord that you may notice from Diesel vehicles is called a block heater.  The block heater keeps the combustion chamber and glow plugs at a temperature that is conducive to igniting the fuel.  Otherwise the gelled diesel fuel will cause the engine not to start or cause damage to the cylinder heads.

Typically the need for smaller diesel vehicles to be plugged in is lower than massive diesel engines like those found in garbage trucks.  Additives are already in the Diesel fuel during the winter months, which treat the Diesel fuel to keep it from gelling.  Larger vehicles typically need that extra layer of protection, by being plugged in, for reliability and to protect the investment.

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2 thoughts on “Why Do You Plug In Diesel Trucks?

  1. Todd Longanacre

    I recently purchased my 1st diesel pickup truck; an old 1999 F250 with the 7.3 liter powerstroke. At what temperatures should I start worrying about plugging it in at night (how cold should it be before I need to be concerned)?

    Also, how much electricity will this utilize; is it an extreme amount that will be noticeable in my monthy electric bill?


    1. dale

      I have a 05 powerstroke with the same engine as yours, the heather id a 1500 watt heater, its the same as having 15 one hundred watts light bulbs burning at the same time, so I only plug mine in when it gets really cold, the first winter I had my diesel I had it plugged in when it got below freezing and I about shit my drawers because my electric bill doubled


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