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Do you drive a vehicle with a diesel engine near Jackson, Tennessee?

If you've also driven gas vehicles, you'll know that they perform rather differently. Have you ever thought about the differences between the two?

Not only is a diesel engine more powerful than a same-sized gas equivalent, but it's also 30-35 percent more fuel-efficient. A diesel engine is also less likely to need repair, with one caveat: You must properly-maintain it.

We're going to explain where to take more care, what you should do, and when. Read on!

How Does a Diesel Engine Work?

More than a million heavy-duty diesel engines are manufactured annually, so they're very popular. Truckers have known that diesel engines are more reliable for a long time, but what happens if you don't perform scheduled maintenance?

Whereas a badly looked-after gas engine might perform less efficiently, a neglected diesel engine is more likely to die! That's because diesel engines run much hotter than the gas counterparts, so not being diligent with a maintenance routine can cause far more damage.

To stop you from needing a diesel engine repair service, make sure you check the following parts regularly:

Diesel Engine Oil

Whether you've got a small diesel engine or a large one, these engines generate a lot of heat. Always make sure you are following the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) guide on how often to change the oil, and don't forget! 

Oil is the lubricant that prevents metal grinding on metal, so imagine the damage if oil was left out of the equation. Consult OEM instructions, though oil changes usually occur about once per 5k miles. Harsher operating conditions may increase this requirement.

The life of your oil is dependent on how much driving you do. Don't forget to change the oil filter at the correct intervals too, because these capture contaminants that cause wear and damage. If you aren't sure where the filters are located, consult the manual, or ask a service technician to show you.

Don't forget to keep an eye out on the ground for potential oil leaks.

Diesel Fuel

A diesel engine requires high-quality fuel. Why is this so important? Poor-quality fuel can degrade the injectors, causing damage that can be fatal to these sensitive components.

Even fixing the injectors is expensive, especially as there are four, and you'll likely have to repair or replace them all. What are the signs of damage to the fuel injectors? Very black or white exhaust fumes is a clue, as is engine-knocking.

It's important not to let your fuel tank get low, especially in winter. Diesel fuel additives are very beneficial, especially for the optimum performance of the fuel injectors. An additive that can demulsify water makes life easier for the fuel water separator.

Fuel additives also help prevent fuel gelling in winter, which can prevent you from starting your car.

Check Coolant

Because diesel engines run at a higher heat than gas engines, checking the coolant (antifreeze) is even more important. Always use the coolant that the OEM recommends, as you don't want to be mixing up chemicals in the cooling system!

Making sure your coolant levels are correct prevents the radiator from overheating. If this happens, engine parts (like cylinders) can warp and even be damaged beyond repair.

When your OEM service manual suggests a coolant or radiator exchange (typically 40-60k miles), make sure to do it. When you take the vehicle in for service, technicians pump cleaning fluid through the radiator and cooling system. Rust is removed, and new coolant fluid is added.

Orange or green leaks under the vehicle might indicate a coolant leak. Steam or maple syrup odor are also signs of trouble with the cooling system.

Check Air Filter

If you're wondering where the air filter is, it's beneath the hood, inside a cold air collection box. This box is rectangular and is near the front side of the engine compartment

Usually, the air filter needs to be changed at 12k mile intervals. If you notice weak acceleration or a loss of engine power, the air filter is something to check. 

Check Fuel Filter

A diesel engine comes with two fuel filters. The primary fuel filter sits between the engine and the fuel tank. The secondary fuel filter is located between the fuel injectors and the transfer pump.

Two filters are required because diesel fuel tends to absorb more water from tank condensation. This could lead to a stall, loss of power, or damage to fuel injectors. Replace both together, typically every 10-15k miles.

Clean the Engine

The longer life of a diesel engine means they should benefit from more cleaning. During winter storm events, you might want to make sure no road salt is left on the engine - this could cause corrosion.

Some vehicle owners dust-off their diesel engine bay with a leaf-blower on the lowest setting.

Always follow the OEM guidelines if you conduct a more thorough cleaning. Wait until the engine is cold before beginning, and ensure you wear eye protection and gloves. Some parts may be water-sensitive and will need covering with plastic to prevent damage.

A clean engine bay will make it easier for you to notice when leaks occur. 

Engine Tuning

Whether you have a Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Kia, or a Chevy diesel engine, a used vehicle will benefit from tuning. If you can't remember the last time you had one, it's time to schedule one.

A fine-tuned diesel engine performs better in regards to power and speed. You're also likely to get increased fuel efficiency.

Let the engine warm-up for a while before you start driving too hard. For your first 10 miles of the day, try and take it easy and avoid dramatic speed changes.

Lastly, to keep that engine in good shape, you need to respect the turbocharger. Repairing this component might break the bank and have you looking for a new diesel engine vehicle. When you're done driving, stop and let it cool off in neutral for 20 seconds to 2 minutes before shutting the engine down.

A whistling noise, power loss, and blue-tinged exhaust might mean you've blown it! If your engine oil usage ramps up, this might be another warning that your turbocharger has sustained damage.

Love That Diesel Engine

We've shown that a diesel engine can be more reliable than the gas equivalent, as long as you keep up with your routine maintenance. Don't sink more money into that used Silverado if the engine's been poorly maintained.

Are you asking: "Are there used cars for sale near me?" We are full-service car dealers in Jackson, TN. We also have used trucks for sale, and we keep you going with expert vehicle care.  

Contact us today to schedule service.


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