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Cold clobbers semi-trucks on Madison highways

MADISON (WKOW) – The same fuel line problem appears to be responsible for leaving many semi-trucks stranded on Madison area highways.

Tow truck operators tell 27 News since temperatures plunged well below zero, they’ve been busy with semi’s on highway shoulders.

Operator Matthew Sellner of Bill’s Towing says the problem was often pinpointed to a failure to address the cold’s impact on diesel engines.

“What happens is diesel fuel, when it gets to a certain temperature, if it’s not mixed it will turn almost like a jelly and then it won’t flow through the filters and into the injector,” Sellner says.

Sellner and other tow truck operators say drivers from warm weather states seem to be less prepared when it comes to the diesel fuel mixture necessary to avoid fuel line failure.

“It’s been ninety percent of the calls,”  Sellner says.

The cold’s toll on cars and SUVs revolves around battery life.

Smart Motors auto repair shop manager Jim Ward says approximately a dozen batteries are replaced at his facility during a normal week.

“In this kind of situation that doubles to triples in terms of the battery failures,” Ward says.

Ward says there’s also been an increase in vehicle radio and navigation malfunctions, as electrical contacts separate enough in cold temperatures to disable operation.

To try assure battery performance during frigid conditions, auto experts recommend driving cars periodically for at least fifteen to twenty minutes, as opposed to starting a vehicle and having it idle.

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Tony Galli

Reporter, WKOW

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