What if we freeze gasoline

Where is the freezing point for diesel and gasoline? - Enlightenment

In winter, when temperatures drop below freezing, many car owners fear that the fuel in their tanks will freeze. If this is the case and diesel or petrol are no longer liquid, the car can no longer be used. It either has to be brought into a heated hall where the fuel can thaw, or the driver has to wait until the outside temperature has risen so much that the fuel is liquid again. But where is the freezing point for diesel and gasoline? Is the fear of such a catastrophe justified? We provide you with the answers in this text.

When do diesel and gasoline freeze?

The temperatures are becoming more and more extreme here in Central Europe. In addition to dry and hot summers, this is particularly evident in winters. Time and again, new low temperatures are reached, which in some cases restrict motorists. If you have to park your car outdoors, you run the risk of freezing over. Of course, the cold doesn't stop at the liquids either. The freezing point of windshield washer fluid can be lowered with appropriate additives.

Is that also necessary for fuels? Petrol and diesel are not quite as sensitive as water. The freezing point of gasoline is -45 degrees Celsius, that of conventional diesel is -22 degrees Celsius. But for owners of diesel cars, the restrictions can start earlier. Diesel starts to sulphate or flocculate from just a few single-digit minus degrees. This means that the fuel becomes thicker, clogged the filter and paralyzes the car.

How can you prevent diesel and gasoline from freezing?

In our part of the world, as a gasoline owner, you don't have to worry that the fuel will cause problems due to low temperatures. Temperatures as low as this are not even reached at the top, especially not over a longer period of time.

Diesel freezes is also rarely the case. It is much more common for the aforementioned flocculation to occur. You can protect yourself from it by refueling at the appropriate time of year. Because as soon as the temperatures drop, filling stations first introduce a transition diesel and later a winter diesel. They have the ideal properties for low temperatures.

These diesel variants are available for the different seasons:

  • Summer diesel: can be used up to 0 degrees Celsius
  • Transitional diesel: usable down to -10 degrees Celsius
  • Winter diesel: usable down to -20 degrees Celsius
  • Polar diesel: Usable down to -40 degrees Celsius

When can I buy winter fuels?

The rule of thumb is: From the beginning of October, many petrol station operators will slowly switch to winter fuel. From mid-November, only winter fuel can then be sold. This is stipulated by the legislator so that consumers can always refer to the applicable jurisprudence in the event of problems.

Infrequent drivers, who may even be able to get by on one tank of fuel for several weeks or months, should find out in the critical phase whether the gas station has already switched to winter diesel. If this is not the case, only one thing helps: do not fill the tank completely, but only as far as you need. In winter, however, you should avoid this, as a low tank filling promotes the formation of condensation water that freezes from 0 degrees Celsius.

You should also refrain from diluting diesel with gasoline in order to achieve better low-temperature properties. This used to be common practice and, according to ADAC, should only be used for vehicles built before 1997 that have been expressly approved by the manufacturer.

By the way, the reverse is far less dramatic: if you use winter diesel at higher temperatures in summer, there is no danger to the car.