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Dispelling the Myths of Diesel Engine Servicing

Dispelling the Myths of Diesel Engine Servicing

There's a number of negative assumptions about diesel engine maintenance and repair that have little to do with reality. Performing effective diesel truck repair in San Diego isn't any more difficult than servicing an equivalent gas-powered vehicle. In fact, keeping a diesel in good health is cheaper in the long run.

In this article, we will explain why diesels are not more expensive to maintain than gasoline engines, and how diesel interacts with low temperatures. Read on to learn how to troubleshoot a diesel engine and why the myths surrounding diesel repair and maintenance are just that: myths.

Are diesel engines more expensive to maintain?

Diesels require certain types of low-cost maintenance more often than equivalent gasoline engines do. These include changing the lubricating oil, replacing the air filters, and putting in a new fuel filter. Luckily, diesel engines are designed to make doing these simple replacements as quick and as straightforward as possible.

On the other hand, diesel engine fuel efficiency is 25-30% better than that of gasoline-based engines. Because they have to withstand stronger compression, diesel engines are built to be sturdier than their gas-powered counterparts. This means that they break down less often and almost never need expensive repairs.

In other words, diesel engine trucks will actually cost less to keep going in the long run. This makes them the superior choice regardless of whether you're brand new to the trucking business, or a longstanding member of the Western States Trucking Association.

Does changing oil improve performance?

Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. It protects and lubricates your diesel engine, and it keeps various components such as pistons and exhaust valves running smoothly. The problem is, it gets dirty after awhile and can result in sludge buildup.

Without proper viscosity, oil loses its ability to flow properly through the engine. This results in the engine running hotter and with less efficiency. Because of that, you should make a habit of replacing engine oil in your truck on regular basis.

Exactly how much regular oil changes can improve your diesel truck performance is impossible to determine for sure, as it depends on the truck's model, age, and condition. Still, there's no doubt that regular maintenance has a greatly beneficial effect on a diesel engine's health.

How often should you change the oil in a diesel engine?

The frequency of oil changes depends entirely on mileage, that is, how much you actually drive. While this can vary a lot with vans and passenger cars, professional truckers usually adhere to a driving schedule that makes it easy to calculate the median daily mileage.

Once you know how much ground, on average, your diesel truck covers in a day, it's time to open your owner's manual. For most vehicles, oil needs to be changed every 5-10,000 miles, but different trucks have different maintenance schedules. That's why it's best to consult the manual for your particular truck model.

In case you don't have an owners manual or can't access it for some other reason, you can always pay a visit to your local dealership's parts department. They will be able to supply you with a new owner's manual.

Do diesel engines need tune ups?

Because diesel engines don't use spark plugs, they do not require regular and expensive ignition tune-ups in the same way that gas-powered engines do. As long as the owner changes the oil, exhaust fluid, and filters regularly, the diesel engine won't need any extra tune-ups.

That being said, like all machines with moving parts, diesels suffer from wear and tear and eventually need repairs. Some of the signs that your diesel truck needs to be looked at by a mechanic include colored smoke, strange engine sounds, and difficulty starting.

Colored smoke, especially if it's black, indicates the engine is getting too much fuel but not enough air. Blue smoke is a sign of a leaking turbocharger seal that causes engine oil to burn. Starting problems can be caused by dead batteries, burned out glow plugs, and bad fuel lines.

Diesel engines in low temperatures

There's a rumor that diesel engines have trouble starting when temperatures are really low, such as in the -40 degrees Fahrenheit range. This can theoretically occur due to diesel's tendency to lose viscosity and turn gelatinous in extremely cold temperatures, preventing ignition.

Today, state-of-the-art glow plugs make this a non-issue by heating up the battery, which in turn warms the diesel fuel and makes it ready for use. It bears mentioning that this is only one of the many reasons why it's important to take care of your glow plugs.

Gasoline's resistance to cold isn't necessarily an advantage. Because it's far more flammable than diesel, it's also a lot less safe to handle and is more likely to result in injury to the user. Diesel's lesser volatility and higher efficiency is what makes it the go-to choice for San Diego truckers.

Diesel truck maintenance procedure basics

When it comes to diesel engines, keeping up with routine maintenance is crucial if you want to get the most out of your vehicles. Luckily, diesel trucks are deliberately designed in a way that makes their systems easy to access and service.

The top 3 things to look out for are oil and air/fluid filters. These must be changed at certain mileage-based intervals, as explained above. You should also take care to bleed the fuel system and empty the water separators. Consult your vehicle's owner's manual and follow the routine maintenance instructions.

The most dependable diesel truck engine repair in San Diego

Are you an experienced diesel truck driver looking to get top-of-the-line repair and maintenance for your beloved rig? Or are you a gas-powered trucker interested in making the jump to diesel? Whatever your particular situation, PCE is your go-to service for all things related to diesel engine repair.

Throughout our 40+ years in this business, we have approached each case with utmost respect and professionalism. Our expertise has even been recognized by the US Navy. Feel free to visit our motor and diesel division near Logan Heights, or to contact us via phone or fax if you have any further questions.

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San Diego, CA 92113
Phone: (619) 235-0961
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Diesel & Motor Division
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San Diego, CA 92113
Phone: (619) 235-0961
Fax: (619) 687-0038 
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Aiea, HI 96701-3281
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Everett, WA 98201-1300
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