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8 Common Ways of Harming a Diesel Engine

Diesel engines are tough and more fuel-efficient than those that run on gasoline.

However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need some care and attention from time to time.

If you are pushing your engine hard on the daily and driving in some tough conditions, it may be time for a service.

Here are some of the ways you could be harming your diesel engine every day without even realizing it.

1. Clogging Your Fuel Filter

Allowing your fuel filter to clog will create a lot of heat in your engine and cause damage. If you let the fuel filter clog you could have to replace the injection system. That will cost you a lot.

If the fuel flow becomes obstructed by a clog, it will not be able to keep itself cool. This, in turn, will build up pressure and cause the filter to fail. This releases contamination into the injection system causing damage throughout the engine.

Speak with your local diesel repair shop to find out when you need to change your fuel filter and avoid unnecessary clogging.

2. Not Changing Your Air Filters

Your air filters are also prone to clogging up if not cared for properly. You need to inspect and replace them regularly.

Not doing so will lead to dirt and contaminants clogging your engine’s air intake. This will then allow dirt and dust particles to get into your engine and damage it.

Your car’s manual should guide you as to how often you need to replace the air filter. You can also remove them and take them to a shop if you want to check with an expert. Just don’t leave it too long.

3. Air Leaks in Fuel Injector Nozzles

Air leaking from a nozzle in your fuel injector can create serious problems for your engine. Contaminants in your fuel line will cause problems, but air leaks could be even more serious if they allow air to enter the engine.

Commonly this happens between the filter inlet and the engine lift pump. Here the pump requires a vacuum to move the fuel through the filter into the engine. A clogged filter will raise the pressure causing leaks through loose connections.

If left untreated, these can shut the engine down completely as fuel will not be able to reach the engine. You may notice your RPMs suddenly shooting up as your engine begins to shut down.

4. Not Changing Your Oil

Ideally, you should be looking to change the oil in your diesel engine every 5,000 miles. If you are using your engine for tough jobs like towing or driving in tough terrain, you may need to change it more often.

Wear and tear on your engine will allow tiny particles of metal to enter your oil. Silica can also get into your engine system and pass through filters. If it combines with carbon, it will form a diamond-hard substance that is highly abrasive and causes damage to your engine.

Change your oil regularly as required to make sure these contaminants are being removed from your engine.

5. Towing Too Heavy

People buy diesel vehicles because they are tough and many use them to tow heavy loads. However, if you exceed your vehicle’s payload or towing capacity, you are asking to damage your engine.

This is tied to regular oil changes as heavy work increases the number of wear contaminants you will find in your oil. Diesel truck repairs can be expensive and mostly avoided with the right maintenance.

Check your vehicle’s manual for a guide on what your diesel engine can tow, and do not exceed this. Speak to experts about the axel weight limits for both the front and rear of your truck.

6. Too Many Short Start-Stop Trips

Many diesel engine problems occur in the first few minutes of starting the engine. If you are making lots of short trips in your truck, you may not be allowing it enough time to really warm-up.

The ignition can do a lot of damage to pickup diesel engines, so you may want to consider a pre-lube system. This will ensure oil reaches the engine parts that need lubricating before the ignition does the damage.

7. Not Cleaning a Dirty Diesel Engine

A clean engine is a healthy engine. One of the most common diesel truck problems is letting dust, dirt, and grime build-up on your engine. This will make it easy for contaminants to get into your system and cause damage.

As mentioned above, make sure the three main systems, oil, air, and fuel, are kept clean and inspected. The lifespan of your truck will be reduced if you do not perform regular cleaning maintenance.

8. Not Changing Your Coolant

Water in the radiator is a no-no these days. Modern vehicles have modern requirements, and you need to make sure you are meeting them to keep your diesel engine in good shape.

A faulty radiator will quickly lead to a build-up of too much heat in the engine and cause it to fail. Replacing an entire cooling system can be very expensive, so far better to keep it well maintained in the first place.

Buying testing strips can help you keep on top of your coolant’s chemistry, or the liquid can be checked by a licensed professional. A full engine service should pick up on any adjustments that need to be made to your coolant.

Avoid diesel engine problems like erosion and cavitation by keeping it nice and cool with the right mix of coolant.

Maintain Your Diesel Engine

It is more important that you keep on top of the maintenance of your diesel engine than bear the cost of expensive repairs.

Taking the time to clean, learn about, and inspect your engine will keep it in excellent shape and out of harm’s way for many years to come.

If you are looking to service your diesel engine or vehicle, then please check out our services page to find out how we can help.