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Reduce Engine Emissions with Smart Preheating

Posted by Cummins Expert on

Why cold starts and engine idling are costing you money, efficiency and killing your emissions.

If you think idling your engine is enough to warm it up, think again. Even if it’s 100 degrees and you’re parked on the equator, engines need to run at much higher temperatures to reduce emissions and run efficiently. So, what’s so wrong with running a “cold” engine?

Cold engines smoke, which equals higher emissions.

Most diesel engines want to operate at roughly 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit. So, an engine will still be considered “cold” if it’s not up to its ideal temperature. A smoking engine means higher particulate matter, which in turn means more soot and particulate deposits on your diesel particulate filter (DPF). And because a cold engine start emits un-combusted fuel, the soot and particulate matter are wetter and heavier, and can lead to overload, greatly reduced engine efficiency and more frequent filter cleanings. Ultimately, this means more money spent on repairs and maintenance. 

Say “no” to idling.

Excessive engine idling, even if you think it’s ‘warming’ the engine, isn’t an ideal scenario either. Similar to cold starts, engine idling doesn’t actually raise the engine temperature high enough, which, as we pointed out above, results in higher particulate matter clogging up the DPF. As the particulate emissions from the cooler engine increase, the diesel filter will eventually become overloaded.

Say “yes” to preheating.

Preheating the engine has many benefits, from lower engine wear and tear to better fuel efficiency to lower emissions. Heaters come in two options, electric and coolant operated. The electric option consumes much more energy because it’s attempting to warm the engine from the outside in, by penetrating the metal. This is less efficient, takes longer and wastes energy.

Coolant heaters, on the other hand, integrate with the engine’s own coolant system and circulate warmed coolant throughout, thus warming from the inside out. This method is much more efficient and has beneficial side effects such as warming the engine oil (which decreases pressure on gaskets and seals at startup). Warm fuel injectors and EGR valves are much less likely be soiled by carbon buildup blowing through the exhaust system.

The payoff? Lower emissions, downtime and repair costs.

The benefits of pre-heating your diesel engine the right way multiply over time, in that you’ll see reduced engine downtime, which dominoes nicely into less money spent on repairs and maintenance. Coolant heaters like the Webasto Thermo Top C use as little as one gallon of fuel in 10 hours and reduce particulate matter emissions by as much at 66% at start-up. Operation is quiet, so drivers won’t be disturbed while resting, and they’re CARB approved and EPA SmartWay verified. 

Get smart when it comes to keeping your engine running smoothly by preheating. You’ll save on fuel and money, reduce emissions and downtime, and extend the life of your DPFs and engine.

Check out Cummins’ full line of Webasto coolant heaters.

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