A diesel engine is a very unique piece of equipment. It's not like the typical gasoline-powered automobile that you can just hop into and drive whenever the mood strikes. No, a diesel engine is a lot more complex than that, and there are some things that you simply have to know before going on any road trip in a car with a diesel engine underneath the hood, or operating heavy-duty diesel equipment. In this article by JD Diagnostics & Diesel Repair, written in partnership with Dieselmatic, we share some information about a few tips to keep your diesel engine running smoothly for as long as possible.
First off, let's talk about diesels themselves. In case you didn't know, diesel engines are special types of internal combustion engines – which means they work by burning fuel inside of them – but what makes them different from other types of engines is that instead of using spark plugs or an electric current to ignite their fuel mixture as gasoline engines usually do, diesel engines use high compression to ignite the mixture in their cylinders. This difference comes with benefits and drawbacks, but if you know what they are, then you can make sure that your diesel engine stays in good condition for as long as possible.
Diesel engines typically have more torque than gasoline-powered engines, which means that they're able to produce more power at low speeds because the diesel fuel contains a lot of energy that doesn't get used up until it is needed by the vehicle or equipment that's operating under its power. This also means that diesels aren't very good at producing speed very quickly, so when revving your engine during gear changes to try and "match RPMs" before changing, this is usually a fruitless endeavor with diesel engines.
1.) Change Your Oil
If there's anything that will ruin a diesel engine almost immediately, it's not changing the oil. If an owner doesn't change their oil every three months or so, they'll usually suffer from a lot of wear and tear on their engine. Diesel engines aren't the type to suffer from low oil, though – in fact, if you add a quart or two before your next oil change is due, that won't damage your engine at all. Still, keeping it topped off every few months will keep everything running smoothly for as long as possible.
2.) Get Regular Fluid Levels Checked
Another thing that diesel owners should do when they get a check-up is to have their fluid levels checked. This includes checking the coolant/antifreeze level in their radiator along with making sure that there's enough power steering fluid in the system and enough brake fluid to stop the vehicle when necessary. The reason diesel engines can be so difficult to start when they're cold is that there's a lot of pressure involved in the system, and if any one of these fluids runs low or completely disappears, then you'll have some problems starting up your vehicle until it's refilled.
3.) Check the Oil Filter
To keep your diesel engine running as smoothly as possible, you also need to make sure that the oil filter is clean and free from debris at all times. If you don't do this and things start getting clogged up, your car or truck will lose power and eventually won't run at all unless you get everything cleaned out and replaced with new parts. Even though filters may seem like small components that take care of themselves once installed, they're definitely not- keeping them clean is key to keeping your engine in good working order.
4.) Get a Diagnostic Test
Make sure that when you get any diesel repairs done to your vehicle or equipment, they come with diagnostics tests so that the technicians are able to see if there are any clogs in your filters or other parts of the system. Having someone check all of these components out at once will ensure that you don't have to keep paying for more maintenance work for things that could have been addressed during your last visit to the repair shop.
5.) Use the Right Fuel
Using diesel fuel in a gasoline vehicle is definitely possible, but it won't make your engine run any better. In fact, it will usually clog up your filters and might even damage the pump on your car or truck. Diesel engines need diesel fuel to operate at peak efficiency; if there's no filter separating the two types of fuels, then you'll end up with some major problems that can cost a lot of money to fix. Using the right fuel is especially important if you own a diesel vehicle that has an emission system- using the wrong kind of fuel might cause damage to the engine that will lead to it being unable to pass inspection.
6.) Flush Out Old Fuel
When you buy a new car or truck, chances are good that the dealer will have flushed out all of the old gasoline left in its tank before handing it over so that there's no bad gas in your tank when you get behind the wheel for your test drive. Diesel engines need to be treated with more TLC than their gasoline counterparts, though, so make sure that any shop doing repairs on either part of your diesel vehicle flushes out any old diesel residue from previous owners as well as new fuel that you just bought.
7.) Add Fuel Stabilizer Before Storage
This may seem like common sense for those who don't know much about diesel engines, but diesel vehicles are prone to problems when they're running low on diesel fuel as well as when they have a clogged fuel filter. Keeping fresh diesel in your tank and making sure that you frequently change out your fuel filters will keep them from getting clogged up-but to really protect yourself from seeing any long-term problems with your diesel vehicle, make sure that you add a stabilizer once the tank is full before putting it into storage for a while.
Diesel engines are slightly more difficult to maintain than gasoline engines, but if you follow these seven diesel engine maintenance tips then your truck or car will stay in great running condition for much longer. For more information on how to keep your diesel car or truck running smoothly for as long as possible, we encourage you to get in touch with our team at JD Diagnostics & Diesel Repair in Abbotsford, BC, Canada.
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