Diesel Engine Maintenance: What Every Man Needs to Know

Diesel engines are the best in terms of power, durability, and fuel economy. Other than that, it has a better engine life and offers a better resale value for vehicle owners. This engine does not have any spark plugs, either, meaning it is much easier to start during the winter. 

Though diesel engines are highly prominent in the vehicle industry,  they require regular maintenance. As a professional driver, you must watch for coolant leaks, oil leaks, engine overheating, battery levels, and much more. 

It is also important to check for clogs in the diesel fuel injection system. Diesel fuel injectors supply fuel in the internal combustion engine, so any interruption in the system will pile on a lot more costs in terms of repair. 

Diesel Engine Components

Before you decide to go for diesel engine maintenance, it is best to know about the different diesel engine components. A diesel engine has six main components. They are:

1. Engine Blocks

Engine blocks are constructed with plates and castings. These are welded both horizontally and vertically to increase the strength of the crankshaft, cylinder liners, and heads.

2. Cylinder Liners

It is a kind of bore where the back and forth motion of the engine piston operates. It is constructed with strong materials to handle tremendous pressure and high temperatures. 

3. Bedplate

The bedplate is the foundation of diesel engines and is constructed with metal plates. Bedplates are so strong and durable that they can support the crankshaft and the whole engine.

4. Piston

The piston compresses the air/fuel mixture so that the engine converts fuel energy to mechanical energy. Then, the power produced is transmitted to the crankshaft.

5. Valves

This component is responsible for the diesel engine’s smooth functioning. They regulate the air/fuel mixture inside of the cylinder and exhaust gas from the system. Valves are usually located on the cylinder head.

6. Valve Guides

A valve guide is a cylinder-shaped metal piece. These guides conduct heat from the combustion process and pass it into the cylinder head.  

Diesel Engine Maintenance Guide

Maintaining a diesel engine not only increases the engine’s lifespan but also adds more smoothness to your driving. Try these five basic maintenance checks to ensure the diesel engine’s effectiveness.  

1. Clean the Engine Regularly

An accumulation of dirt, dust, or grime can surely hurt engine components  and is directly correlated with your vehicle’s performance.

2. Change Fuel Filters 

All diesel engines have two fuel filters. Replacing both fuel filters after 20,000 kilometers of driving is highly recommended. Some people also believe that after 15,000 kilometers, fuel filters do not work efficiently. If possible you can change filters after every 15,000 kilometers of driving. 

3. Replace Air Filters

How often you should replace air filters completely depends on the environment and conditions you are driving in. Besides, it is standard to change air filters every two to three months. For high pollution cities, you may need to change air filters every month.

4. Check coolant

Coolants are chemical substances that are mixed with water and protect radiators from freezing or overheating. Using coolant over a long period of time can erode your radiator due to the coolant turning acidic over time. Experts say to change your coolant after every 30,000 miles for a smoother car engine. 

5. Change Oil

Changing your oil frequently keeps your diesel engine sound. In general, the oil needs to be replaced after every 8000 kilometers of driving. 

Diesel Engine Service Checklist

Both the petrol engine and diesel engine require servicing for the best engine conditions. Let’s find some of the basic service checks for a diesel engine.

1. Draining Of Water Trap 

It is always possible for a fuel filter to trap water, which can cause misfiring. Therefore, draining the trapped water is super important.

2. Replace the Fuel Filter

In every diesel engine, there should be at least one fuel filter fitted on the fuel supply line. This filter is disposable and must be replaced after 15000 to 20000 kilometers of driving. The fuel entering the engine must be clean enough to support engine durability.

3. Bleeding of the Fuel System

When a new fuel filter is installed, air can get into the fuel system. This can hamper your overall engine performance. Bleeding is a technique used to remove this unwanted air from the fuel system. Along with the engine’s self-bleeding mechanism, you should try manual bleeding for complete air removal from the system.

4. Adjust Idling Speed

The engine speed can run either too fast or too slow compared to the standard. To adjust the idle speed, you can adjust the screw on top of a fuel injector pump. 

5. Replace Air and Oil Filter

You must replace air and oil filters at regular intervals for better engine performance. Make sure you keep both the oil and air filters clean for smooth engine operation.

Diesel Engine Oil

A diesel engine uses diesel oil to lubricate its engine. Diesel engines take in more carbon rather than tar and moisture absorbance of petrol engines. In order to withstand more extreme conditions, diesel engine oil contains more anti-additives and dispersants. 

There are two types of diesel engine oil to use in your vehicle:

1. Synthetic Oil

Synthetic diesel oil lowers the exhaust gas temperature and overall heat production, which maximizes diesel engine efficiency. Furthermore, it burns fuel at a relatively low temperature so you can drive for a long time without your engine radiating extra heat. 

2. High Viscosity Oil

Because of high viscosity, this variant produces more heat in bearings, cylinders, and gear sets. Also, high viscosity oil influences oil consumption. Before you go for a high viscosity oil, it is better to look at its viscosity grade. Make sure it is compatible with your diesel engine. 

Diesel Injector Cleaner

Diesel injectors supply fuel into the engine to produce combustion. If there is any dirt or clog in the injectors then combustion is inefficient. In extreme cases, the engine may not run at all. Cleaning the diesel injector is important. It has a good number of benefits. That includes:

1. It eliminates engine stutter.

2. It improves emission value.

3. This increases the fuel cetane number.

4. It restores the throttle response. 

5. Prevents corrosion. 

Final Verdict

Maintaining diesel engines is not rocket science. All you need is to be more vigilant and caring about your engine. Your maintenance will decide its efficiency and service. It is better to care about your vehicle early than to regret it tomorrow.