Winter’s long nights and cold, wet weather bring a host of fuel-related challenges including diesel gelling, contamination and damage to your tanks and equipment, such as cracked tanks, clogged filters and burst pipework.

To help you avoid these troublesome problems our experts have compiled their top tips that you can use to protect your fuel and prevent unplanned downtime.


When fuel is left in storage during the winter, it runs a much higher risk of contamination. Therefore, it’s important that you have a specialist take samples from the top, middle and bottom of the tank and test it at a laboratory to identify any potential issues that could be raised from your fuel.

We also recommend that you check for signs of fuel contamination yourself every fortnight. You can do this by looking for any signs of water in the fuel which will transpire as a cloudy appearance or an unusual smell coming from the tank.

If you’d like to find out more about fuel testing you can see how our service works here.

2. Switch to winter grade diesel

In cold temperatures, summer grade diesel can begin to gel due to it containing paraffin wax – an important component that improves lubrication. However, as the temperature falls, the paraffin wax begins to solidify and turns into a cloudy sludge leading to diesel fuel gelling. This can start to clog fuel filters and lines, stopping fuel from flowing and rendering your engine useless. This is known as fuel starvation.

But not all diesel is made the same. Winter grade diesel contains additives that give it a greater resistance to gelling during the cold weather. While summer grade diesel can resist gelling at temperatures greater than -4OC, winter grade diesel can withstand temperatures as cold as -12OC making it far more suitable for the cold months.

If you’d like to find out more about the differences between the 2 grades of diesel, you can read our guide for more information. Or speak to an expert today by calling 0330 123 3773

3. Protect your Fuel Tanks and Pipework

As the weather turns colder and wetter, plastic tanks and pipes are at a higher risk of bursting or cracking. While plastic tanks provide a whole host of benefits, we recommend taking extra care during the winter to protect them from the elements. This can include locating your tank in a sheltered area, checking for any signs of bulging or cracking and installing a fence or wall around it to help protect against any physical damage.

4. Check your bunds (secondary containment)

We recommend checking the integrity of your bund at the start of winter, as changes in temperature can cause the bund lining to crack. A bund is a containment around a tank where hazardous materials are stored and must be of sufficient size to contain any leak (110%). Therefore, if it becomes damaged or cracked, harmful materials can escape and enter the environment, damaging local habitats, voiding insurance and resulting in huge clean-up costs to rectify.

5. Inspect your separators

While separators are essential to prevent pollution, they can pose a flood risk and contaminate the local environment if left unchecked. That’s because over the summer, dust and silt can accumulate, eventually blocking your separator filters.

Therefore, we recommend inspecting your separators at the start of winter to prevent any issues and protect your fuel. If you’d like to find out more, you can speak to one of our experts today by calling 0330 123 3773.

6. Ensure draining is running freely

On top of your fuel tanks and pipework, it’s important to ensure drainage is running freely onsite. Looking for a buildup of leaves or debris during the autumn will help avoid water overflowing. You can reduce your risk of disruption to your operations by contacting a specialist to examine your site.

7. Speak to a fuel expert

If you’re unsure about any areas of your winter fuel needs, why not speak to a fuel expert? At Speedy Fuels, we have over 60 years of experience in the industry and pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop for fuel supplies and maintenance services. Our team of engineers are on hand to offer the services that you need to protect your business from unplanned downtime this winter.

To speak to one of our friendly fuel experts, simply call us today on 0330 123 3773.

Our knowledge and experience could be the difference between smooth business operations and an unexpected cost eating deep into your business.