Warning signs your diesel is water-contaminated

By Chad Christiansen, Product Quality and Additives Manager in Agriculture and Farming, CHS from the Cenexperts blog

filling a tractor with diesel fuel

Farmers have enough on their plates without needing to deal with water in their diesel. Despite their best efforts, though, sometimes accidents happen. Luckily, there are ways to remove water from diesel and methods to prevent water contamination from happening again.

How to spot water contamination

Farmers know their equipment well and will know when it’s not running correctly. If you think your diesel has been contaminated with water, some telltale signs to watch for include:

  • A loss of RPM and power in the machine
  • Rough starting or erratic idling
  • Trouble or a lag in acceleration when stepping on the pedal
  • Abnormal exhaust such as white smoke

When one or more of these signs occur, start with taking a sample from your fuel tank and let your equipment sit overnight. If there’s water in the sample, it will separate to the bottom. If the sample confirms there is water in the fuel, work with your fuel provider to pump the tank out and ensure all the water is removed. Keep in mind, it’s better to pump out too much than not enough to ensure the water is removed.

Issues caused by water contamination

Unfortunately, once water is in diesel there are a host of potential problems that farmers can encounter. One of the major issues is microbial growth. Microbes live in water and feed on diesel. After microbes die, they sink to the bottom of the fuel tank, which often leads to plugging or fuel filter distortion.

Another key concern stemming from water in fuel tanks is corrosion. Corrosion can’t be detected right away — it’s an issue that develops over time on metal parts when water contaminates diesel. If corrosion becomes extreme, it can affect how fuel is distributed and can even lead to fuel filter clogging.

Prevent future water contamination

The simplest way to protect your fuel tank from water contamination in the future is by using a high-quality fuel. Cenex® Ruby Fieldmaster® Premium Diesel Fuel is terminally injected with seven different additives, including demulsifiers that target and begin managing water from the start.

For more ways to avoid water in your fuel, contact your local Cenex Premium Diesel dealer to establish a regular bulk tank maintenance routine.

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