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PSA: Cold Start Season Is Here But Please Don’t Break Your Truck for Clout

Just this once, don't do it for the 'Gram.
Everything With Wheels via YouTube

The season is changing and there are telltale signs of colder temps everywhere you look. Sure, the leaves are different and there might be frost on the ground, but I’m really talking about cold start videos of diesel trucks popping up constantly on Instagram. I love a good exhaust clip as much as the next guy, but for the love of all that’s good and holy, please don’t break your truck for a few likes.

As soon as the Carhartt hoodies leave the coat rack, guys with straight-piped Power Strokes and Cummins begin competing for the gnarliest cold start. That’s well and good until the weather is properly freezing and goobers start abusing their trucks for the sake of internet clout. Whether it’s leaving the block heater unplugged overnight or ignoring the “wait to start” light on the dash, that’s a bad idea. And please, please don’t stomp the skinny pedal once it roars to life.

At best, your clip will end up in one of the many cold-start compilations that random channels upload to YouTube. At worst, you’ll deal with all kinds of problems, from a trashed high-pressure oil pump to cylinder wear. It’s hard on an engine to crank over and over with 15W-40 moving as slow as molasses to lubricate everything.

Folks who live in seriously cold parts of the world will tell you: The starts are wicked enough, even when you take the proper precautions. This video shared by the Alumiduty page shows a 6.7-liter Power Stroke clanging and clattering on start-up in Northern Alberta, Canada during the winter of 2018. The ambient temp was -36.4 degrees Fahrenheit and according to the dash, the oil temperature was right at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Mind you, this is with the block heater plugged in, according to the description.

Also, if your idea of “proper precautions” involves spraying a full can of starter fluid into the intake, think again. I mean, do what you have to do if there aren’t any other options, but just know that type of last resort can go wrong in a hurry. There’s a reason heavy equipment operators run through a lengthy checklist so the machine is ready to go the next day.

All this is to say, take care of your rig. No virtual pat on the back is worth a big shop bill. Leave the intentional destruction to pros like WhistlinDiesel and make sure your truck has what it needs to survive the winter—like anti-gel additive for your fuel, dangit.

Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: caleb@thedrive.com