- November 30, 2022
- Posted by: Wentworth
- Categories: Diesel, Vehicle Maintenance
Auto diesel engines have been around for a long time. That longevity proves just how reliable they are. Below is a quick outline of a few helpful car maintenance tips. Plus, I explain why diesel engines use glow plugs and a DPF filter but gasoline engines do not.
Auto Diesel Engines Maintenance Tips
As a diesel car enthusiast, I know how important it is to perform routine car maintenance. I recommend reading your owner’s manual to get familiar with your car’s service requirements. For the people who like to work on their own vehicle in their garage on the weekends, can use this easy list. It’s also okay if you prefer to bring your diesel car to a trusted diesel service center for the car maintenance items referenced below. Either way, your diesel car will thank you for it.
You should change your diesel engine oil every 5,000 miles or 6 months. However, if you drive your car in heavy traffic, or frequent short trips, you may need to change your oil more frequently. Cars equipped with turbochargers need clean oil for proper lubrication to reduce wear. Remember, dirty, contaminated oil is a common cause for turbo failure.
We all know that diesel engines’ run dirty’. They create a lot of soot and other particulates that can coat the engine and exhaust system. As diesel car lovers, we can easily help combat our dirty reality. Stick to the factory-recommended time & mileage intervals for filter maintenance & replacement.
Remember, your specific driving style, climate, and road conditions may fall outside of those generalized recommendations. Consult your service technician to help guide you toward a service schedule that fits your needs. Here is a list of filters that diesel engines need to stay clean to aid in performance and efficiency:
- Fuel Filters: Most diesel engines have 2 fuel filters. Be sure to replace them both at the same time.
- Oil Filters: You should replace the oil filter in your diesel car with every oil change.
- Air Filters: Clean air filters improve the performance of your diesel engine.
- Water Filter (or Water Separator): If your diesel car is equipped with a water separator, be sure to empty it when necessary.
- DPF Filter: A Diesel Particulate Filter is an exhaust component that traps and stores soot and ash. The DPF filter prevents harmful exhaust emissions and reduces black-colored smoke. Diesel engine manufacturers started equipping diesel vehicles with a DPF in 2007 to meet EPA emission standards. These particulates are regularly burned off to regenerate the filter. If the filter is clogged or the regeneration process is faulty, schedule a service to replace it.
Glow Plugs, Intake Heaters & Grid Heaters
It may sound like magic, but diesel engines operate without spark plugs. Diesel fuel combusts without a spark. This happens because the diesel engine creates a vast amount of pressure, which generates heat within the combustion chamber, and then the diesel fuel goes BOOM.
Of course, getting the right amount of heat may take a while if it’s cold outside. So, car manufacturers came up with various solutions: glow plugs, intake heaters, and grid heaters. Your car will only have one type, but which type depends on the make and model of your vehicle. Each of these little heating elements works a little differently, but their purpose is to heat the air in the combustion chamber to get the fuel to ignite.
Your vehicle may have a dash light that indicates ‘wait to start’ before turning the key all the way. This light will turn off when the heating element has heated enough air to start the car. You can crank the key at that point, and your engine should start and run smoothly.
It’s good to note that these heating components occasionally go bad and require maintenance or replacement.
Just like with gasoline-powered cars, your diesel-powered car battery needs regular attention. Now, depending on your specific vehicle, the battery may be oversized, or you may have 2 batteries hiding under the hood. The maintenance basically includes:
- Clean the battery connections, so they are free of corrosion.
- Be sure the cable connections are tight.
- If your battery is held down with a strap or in a box, make sure it is secured and doesn’t shift around.
- Use a battery warmer in cold weather to prolong its life.
- Service your battery with a recharge or refill the low cells with distilled water (if applicable).
- Be aware that diesel engines use a LOT of power to start, so if your batteries are 3 or more years old, look into replacing them.
Coolant (or Anti-freeze) is a fluid that is mixed with water. Coolant prevents corrosion and provides lubrication inside the engine compartment. It also protects the radiator and engine block from overheating or freezing. The coolant can become acidic and compromise the vehicle’s cooling system if not properly maintained. Coolant testing, refills, and flushes can be done at your local diesel service center.
Auto Diesel Engines Benefits
Even though electric vehicles seem like the new rage these days, our trusty diesel cars are still running circles around those new kids on the block. Let’s look at a few benefits of owning a diesel car.
Reliability & Longevity
Nothing comes close to the long history of reliability in diesel engines. Diesel engines routinely run longer than gas engines because they are designed with stronger parts. With regular maintenance, they work hard and run forever. I hear stories about diesel cars still running on the original engine at 500,000 miles and more! Did you see the one about Mercedes cars that passed one million miles? Crazy, right?
Diesel engines can be 20-35% more efficient (on average) than comparable gasoline engines. This efficiency is due to diesel fuel’s higher energy density over gasoline and the higher ratio of compression combustion vs. spark plug combustion. Diesel vs. electric vehicles are close when comparing mpg, but diesels really shine when it comes to sheer miles. Diesel cars are still the best bang for your buck for long-distance driving.