Regular diesel engine maintenance is absolutely imperative if you want a diesel engine to last, and every diesel owner will probably encounter some pitfalls and problems. Although diesel engines require no ignition tune-ups and tend to last longer without major repairs than gasoline engines, they do require regular low-cost maintenance
Diesel engines are high heat engines, and it’s true! If your diesel vehicle is performing a variety of tasks, like pushing, pulling or carrying loads then you should be aware of how to remain productive. You can always take your diesel-powered vehicle to the professional technicians, but it doesn’t hurt for you to be aware of day-to-day maintenance needs.
Diesel Engine Maintenance Tips
Monitor Your Coolant
Your diesel engine’s coolant is one of its most important maintenance needs. Coolant should continually be monitored because it will become more acidic over time. If it’s allowed to remain acidic it can rot out other parts in the vehicle’s cooling system like the radiator. Take the time to have the coolant checked and flushed on an appropriate schedule. Acidity levels can even be tested to let you know where you stand.
Mixing coolants is one of the worse things you can do to any engine. This can create a chemical reaction and leave your cooling system looking like you were trying to make a milkshake. This will leave you with new set of issues all the way down to needing an entirely new engine.
Another thing people think of doing is adding water. While if you are stranded on the side of the road and this is all you have by all means do it, but once you get where you need to go you have to switch it back out for the recommended coolant. Plain water does not disperse heat as an actual coolant can, so over time this can lead to bigger problems as well. Not to mention your engine block could crack and freeze in those cold winter months.
Keep It Clean
Keeping your diesel engine clean is very important for its preservation. The easiest way to damage your diesel’s components is to allow dirt and grime to exist freely. The performance will be compromised when the cleanliness of your diesel is overlooked, and the road-life will be shortened. The three areas that cleanliness is most vital is in the diesel’s clean fuel, clean oil, and clean air.
Fuel Filter Changes
Fuel filters should be replaced on a routine maintenance schedule, approximately every 10-15K miles. Most newer diesel engines will have two fuel filters, a primary and a secondary. They should both be replaced at the same time for optimal cleaning, and this should be done at approximately 15K miles.
Fuel has been going between ULSD and biodiesel. These are the two main fuels you will see at any truck stop or fuel station. No matter what one is readily available near you a diesel fuel additive is always necessary. Diesel fuel additives will keep those injectors flowing at full capacity, with a nice even spray pattern.
You also want to find a fuel additive that demulsifies water. A lot of additives on the market will try and burn the water out through the injection system, but why? Why make it harder for your diesel vehicle that has a fuel water separator for a reason? The fuel water separator is made to take the water out of diesel fuel, so find yourself an additive that removes water and makes that systems job that much easier.
Another thing diesel fuel additives are great for is fuel gelling. In the cold months no one wants to go out to their vehicle for it not to start, so why not have a sense of security by using a fuel additive to eliminate this headache.
Air Filters should be inspected and replaced as needed. Depending on the climate and environment that you’re driving in, the air filters may need to be closely monitored. Protect your engine by making sure the air filters remain clean and effective.
Your diesel engine’s oil changes should be every 5K miles or so. It may need to on a shorter interval depending on how you’re using your diesel engine. If your diesel engine is used for hard-driving and towing then it becomes necessary to change oil more frequently.
Oil additives are also great for turbochargers and oil systems in diesel vehicles due to the amount of heat these engines create. Oil additives will help keep lubrication at peak levels and help these intricate parts stay running for a long time.
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