Understanding The Differences When Servicing Your Diesel Powered Vehicle

Cars and trucks all need routine maintenance and service periodically and it doesn't matter if they are powered by a gasoline engine or a diesel power plant. The difference is what needs to be serviced on these diesel engines. While there are some things these engines share, there are some things that are unique to the diesel as well. Here are some examples of what you need to consider when servicing your diesel-powered vehicle.  

Letting Your Diesel Breathe  

The diesel engine in your car or truck is an internal combustion engine. It creates power by igniting fuel inside the cylinders as the pistons move up and down in the cylinder bores. This is not very different from a gasoline engine but the diesel does not use a spark to ignite the fuel and air in the cylinders. Instead, it relies on compression of the fuel and air mixture. It is critical that the diesel engine gets the air it needs for this process to work so servicing the air cleaner is one of the most important things you can do to keep your engine running properly. Depending on the type of filter used in your vehicle, service intervals may vary but a good rule of thumb is to inspect it every time the engine oil is changed. In some cases, the filter can be cleaned and placed back in the vehicle other times, it has to be replaced with a new one.  

Keeping That Fuel Clean  

One of the biggest differences that diesel engines have is in the fuel system. These engines typically have a much larger fuel filter on them and because diesel fuel is so much dirtier than gasoline, the filter gets dirty very quickly. The fuel filter is also designed to remove water from the fuel before it gets into the engine and causes a problem. The fuel filter on a diesel engine is much larger than that of a gasoline-powered car. On a modern diesel, it may even look like a canister style oil filter but the filtration inside is designed differently so you have to use the right type of filter when changing it. The fuel filter will have a specified service interval that the manufacturer of the vehicle has set. Be sure to change it when it is recommended for best engine performance.  

Changing the Oil  

Like any other internal combustion engine, a diesel needs oil to lubricate the moving parts inside. Changing the oil regularly is important because the heat generated through friction of the moving internal parts will break down the viscosity (how well the oil lubricates) of the oil over time. Old oil starts to become thin and ineffective after so many running hours so be sure to change it as specified by the manufacturer. Changing the oil is without a doubt, the best way to keep your diesel engine running properly for many years.

Check with a company like Scotty's Automotive Center for more information.