Like any engine, you have to maintain your diesel engine to get the best performance and life out of it. Diesel engines are used in trucks for their power and torque, and in some cars for efficiency, but in every case, they need to be cared for the same way. Whether you do the work yourself or take you vehicle into a diesel mechanic, keep the service intervals and recommendations for the best performance from your diesel engine.
Air Filter Changes
Diesel engines are particularly dependent on good air flow into the engine. While gas engines struggle with poor airflow as well, diesels run differently and a dirty filter can really affect the way the engine runs. The diesel engine does not use a spark in the cylinder but instead used compression of the air and fuel to create combustion. If there is not enough air in the mix, the fuel mixture will be too rich and may not combust properly. The balance is critical so keeping the air filter clean will optimize this process.
Oil and Filter Changes
As is the case in any engine, oil and filter changes are an important part of maintaining your diesel engine. The oil is heavier in the diesel and, because of the way the engine operates, the oil typically gets dirty faster than in gas engines, but because it has a different viscosity and lower operating temperatures, the interval between oil changes might not be that much different than what you are used to with a gas engine. When it is time to change the oil, be sure to remove and replace the oil filter as well. The filter will hold a quart or more of dirty oil and if you do not change it, the dirty oil will mix with the fresh oil as soon as you start the engine, defeating the entire purpose of changing the oil in the first place. For the cost of a filter, it is not worth skipping.
Lubing the Chassis and Driveline
Almost every moving part under your car or truck has a zerk or grease fitting on it. Take the time to check and grease all the parts that can be while you are under the vehicle. The proper lubrication will keep the parts moving freely and reduce stress on them. In turn, it will help to reduce stress on the engine, transmission, and running gear and extend the life of the components.
Check and Maintain the Tire Pressure
This is not something that is often talked about when you discuss engine maintenance but believe it or not, it is important. Proper tire pressure will reduce the rolling resistance of the tires, wheels, and driveline, thereby reducing stress on the engine as you drive down the road. It also extends the life of the tires and the running gear. So if you are changing your oil and filter, check the tire pressures at the same time.
To learn more, contact a diesel mechanic.