7 Important Diesel Engine Care Tips for Winter in Montana

As winter approaches in Montana, diesel engine maintenance becomes crucial for the smooth running of your diesel pickup or car. In Belgrade, Montana, we at Power Train Plus stand out as your go-to diesel shop, offering expert advice and services. Whether you’re in Bozeman, Belgrade, Manhattan, Three Forks, or any other nearby areas, preparing your diesel engine for the harsh Montana winters is essential. Here are eight important diesel engine care tips to keep your vehicle in top condition.

1. Keep Your Fuel Tank Full and Use Winter-Grade Fuel

The first step in winterizing your diesel engine is to use winter-grade fuel. This fuel has additives that prevent gelling in cold temperatures, ensuring your engine runs smoothly. Most of the fuel stations around the Gallatin Valley offer this fuel during the winter months.  Additionally, keeping your tank full minimizes the condensation that can lead to fuel line freeze-ups and gelling. As the area’s leading diesel mechanic shop in Bozeman, Montana, we at Power Train Plus emphasize the importance of this simple yet effective practice.

2. Regularly Change and Upgrade Your Fuel Filters

Fuel filters play a critical role in engine performance, especially in winter. Dirty or clogged filters can lead to decreased efficiency and potential damage. The major pain point for diesel engines in cold weather is the waxing or gelling of the actual fuel filter. If your fuel gels once, that filter is ruined and immediately needs to be replaced. Once it gels your fuel filter develops hardened wax crystals that will either completely clog your filter, or clog most of it, thus not allowing your engine to receive enough fuel. This will harm not only your entire fuel system such as pump and injectors by losing essential lubrication, but also your engine. Upgrading to a higher-grade filter and regularly changing it during winter months is a service offered at our diesel shop to ensure your engine’s longevity.

3. Use Anti-Gel Additives

In Montana’s freezing temperatures, diesel fuel can gel and clog the fuel lines. Anti-gel additives are a lifesaver, keeping the fuel fluid and your engine running smoothly. At Power Train Plus, we recommend and provide the best anti-gel products suitable for your diesel engine.

4. Battery Maintenance is Key

Cold weather can be harsh on your vehicle’s battery. Regular checks and maintenance of the battery are crucial in winter. This time of year, your batteries are not only relied on to start your engine but also to power your engine’s glow plugs or grid heater that are necessary to aid in starting in colder conditions. Our diesel mechanics in Bozeman, Montana are equipped to test and replace batteries, ensuring your vehicle starts reliably in the coldest conditions.

5. Don’t Forget the Engine Block Heater

An engine block heater warms the engine, making it easier to start in cold weather. It works by plugging into an external wall outlet and keeps the coolant warmed up. This in turn heats the entire engine block and oil. We advise using the heater overnight to reduce the strain on your engine during startup since the oil will be much more fluid, thus providing better lubrication at startup. It also puts less strain on the engine accessories, and you will have heat in the cab much sooner as well! Power Train Plus specializes in installing and maintaining these heaters, a must-have for Montana winters.

6. Inspect and Replace Your Glow Plugs and Relays

Glow plugs and grid heaters are essential for diesel engines, especially in cold weather. They heat the engine’s cylinders and air to facilitate starting. Regular inspections and if needed, replacement of glow plugs or the relays that power them can prevent starting issues in cold weather. If you notice poor starting when the weather begins to drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, faulty glow plugs and or glow plug/grid heater relays could be the culprit! 

7. Fuel Injector Maintenance or Replacement

When cold weather sets in, it can highlight the faulty fuel injectors in your diesel engine. This is especially true in hydraulically activated, electronically controlled, unit injectors (HEUI) which are found in Ford 7.3 and 6.0 litre pickups. It can still be seen in any of the other makes of pickups though. At Power Train Plus we can diagnose and recommend the replacement or rebuild of your diesel fuel injectors. The best time to do this is through proper maintenance and inspection, but if the need for them isn’t known until the temperatures drop, we can still help. 

8. Regular Professional Check-Ups

Regular professional maintenance is the best way to ensure your diesel engine survives the Montana winter. At Power Train Plus, our experienced diesel mechanics provide comprehensive winter check-ups and services. From changing engine oil and filters to inspecting heating systems, and engine components we cover everything to keep your diesel vehicle in peak condition.


Winter in Montana poses unique challenges for diesel engines. However, with the right care and maintenance, you can ensure your vehicle performs optimally. Power Train Plus and Power Train Performance in Belgrade, Montana, is your trusted partner for all diesel repair and maintenance needs. Our expert diesel mechanics are committed to providing the best service for residents in Bozeman and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to prepare your diesel engine for the winter season.

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