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Diesel Truck Care: Engine Maintenance Tips

Today’s vehicles are a big investment whether they’re diesel or gasoline-powered. The last thing you want is a huge repair bill because you failed to keep up with regular auto maintenance. Do you own a powerful diesel truck? As with any vehicle, diesel truck care is crucial. 

The good news? Diesel engines are a little less expensive than gas-powered vehicles when it comes to maintenance. Keep reading for some important engine maintenance tips to keep your truck performing well. 

Regular Oil and Oil Filter Changes

Gasoline-powered vehicles need regular oil and oil filter changes or you risk aging the engine prematurely. Regular oil and oil filter changes are more important with diesel truck maintenance. An oil-clogged engine causes harmful friction and heat that destroys the engine. 

Check your diesel truck’s maintenance manual to see what the recommended intervals are for an oil change. The intervals are somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. 

Change the Air Filter

Air filters in diesel trucks are much like the air filters in gas-powered vehicles. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations on when to switch out your air filters. The air filter’s location is usually in the cold-air collector box. 

The air filter is an important part of your truck’s system because it keeps dirt from reaching sensitive parts of the engine. Never try to clean and replace an air filter. Always opt for a new filter so you don’t risk dirt reaching parts of the engine that must remain clean.

Change the Fuel Filter

Regular diesel truck care also includes changing the two fuel filters. There’s a primary and secondary filter. Make it a habit to change both filters at the same time. 

The primary filter is between the engine and the fuel tank. The secondary fuel filter is close to the engine and helps with fuel cleaning. Both filters ensure that the fuel reaching your engine is free of contaminants. 

Are you unsure how to change the filters yourself? Let our qualified mechanics help. We’ll keep your truck in tip-top shape when you schedule regular diesel truck maintenance services.  

Consider Diesel Treatment

When you’re filling your truck’s tank, consider adding a diesel treatment. It’s an add-on that keeps fuel impurities from getting into your engine where they can cause damage.  

Fuel additives also work by removing carbon deposits in diesel fuel. This creates better combustion which equates to fewer carbon emissions. It’s worth the small price to keep your engine running well.

Check the Condition of the Glow Plugs

Fuel combustion is what starts the engine. Glow plugs help with the process, and there’s one glow plug per cylinder in your engine. Glow plugs are crucial for producing enough heat for the car to start. 

As you start the ignition, the glow plug heats up to about 1,300 degrees celsius regardless of the ambient temperature. The plugs stay heated for about three minutes while your engine completes combustion. 

Glow plugs are another important element in decreasing emissions to protect the environment. They’re especially important in the winter months if you live in a cold climate. If they’re not operating well, the engine may not start. 

Monitoring the Gaskets Is Important

A diesel engine’s cylinders are under extreme pressure – up to 2,700 pounds per square inch (psi). Head gaskets seal the cylinder heads to the engine block while offering a flexible surface between the two. Strong bolts are important for keeping the cylinder heads on the engine block but gaskets are also an important piece. 

A head gasket fix comes with a hefty price tag so don’t neglect this important piece of your diesel truck maintenance. 

Check the Radiator

The radiator in your truck keeps the engine cool. The radiator circulates coolant through the engine to pick up hot fluids. As the heated fluids flow back into the radiator, they’re cooled by the air blowing into the front grille onto the radiator.

This cooler air then circulates back through the engine. Diesel engines are hotter than gas-powered engines so diesel radiators are more prone to overheating than gas engines. An overheated radiator leads to engine failure if left too long. 

The radiator needs cleaning about every 40,000 to 60,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual for the specific instructions for your truck. Cleaning includes running a special cleaning fluid through the radiator and cooling system and filling the system with new antifreeze.  

Speaking of keeping the engine cool…

Check the Engine Coolant

The radiator is the car’s cooling system and liquid coolant – also called antifreeze – is the chemical that facilitates the cooling. It’s crucial to make sure your engine has enough coolant in the reservoir. 

It’s also important to flush the coolant completely and replace it about every 40,000 to 60,000 miles. This is because the acidity in coolant goes up over time and that can cause rot in the radiator and cooling system. Don’t let your coolant go beyond 60,000 miles without flushing and replacing it. 

Check the Exhaust System

Your diesel truck has a diesel particulate filter (DPF) usually made from ceramic. This is part of the exhaust after-treatment system. The filter traps soot and ash. 

It’s necessary for the filter to burn off the soot and ash in a filter regeneration process. This is what keeps the soot and ash from coming out as pollutants. 

Avoid running your truck with a low fuel level or with low-quality fuel. These two things can harm your DPF or even cause DPF failure. The DPF needs periodic cleaning. 

Regular Diesel Truck Care Extends the Life of Your Truck’s Engine

It’s important to get regular diesel truck care to extend the life of your truck’s engine. A diesel truck is a tough machine but it needs regular care like any other vehicle. Don’t stick yourself with a huge repair bill because you neglected your truck’s maintenance. 

Regular truck maintenance takes a little time and commitment but it’s well worth the effort to get years of great performance out of your diesel truck. 

Are you looking for competent, experienced mechanics to service your vehicle? Give us a call and schedule a maintenance appointment for your truck today!

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