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How to Get the Most out of Your Diesel Engine

How to Get the Most out of Your Diesel Engine

Diesel engines are sturdier, less dangerous, and more fuel efficient than their gas-powered counterparts. You'll get a lot more of mileage out of a well-maintained diesel engine before needing to take it to a reliable San Diego diesel truck repair service. But that's not where diesel's advantages end.

In this article, we'll look at how observing correct maintenance procedures can further improve the performance of your diesel truck. We'll touch on the importance of glow plugs, and why frequent oil changes are essential.

By learning the ins and outs of a basic diesel engine maintenance procedure, you'll gain a deeper understanding of your rig and maximize the benefits of using a diesel engine.

What does engine oil do and is it important?

Engine oil is a critical for both gasoline and diesel engines. Engine oil lubricates, protects, and cools the diesel engine's many moving parts, keeping them in good condition despite years or even decades of daily use.

However, oil gets dirty over time and can coagulate to form engine-clogging sludge. This not only damages the engine by increasing temperatures, but also lowers your truck's fuel economy. Because of this, you should follow a strict oil-changing schedule to avoid engine damage and losses due to lower fuel efficiency.

How often should you change engine oil?

Unless your vehicle's owner manual says otherwise, oil changes are normally done after every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. This can be difficult to keep track of if you're a car or a van owner, as these types of vehicles are mostly driven in populated areas without a strict driving schedule.

Truck owners, however, are usually professional drivers who know exactly how long and how far they will be driving on any given day. This enables them to easily calculate their daily mileage and plan out their oil replacements in advance.

If you're new to the trucking business and are still unsure about these things, you can always ask your fellow truckers how they do it. Trucker associations such as Women in Trucking offer a wealth of information that can make learning the ropes much easier for you.

How long should a diesel engine warm up?

One persistent myth about diesel engines is that, when starting them in cold weather, you should keep them idle for awhile to give them a chance to warm up. This actually hurts the engine and decreases its life, so it should be avoided.

What you generally want to do is minimize the number of revolutions an engine performs while cold. To do this, get your engine heated up as soon as possible. An idling engine takes a quarter of an hour or longer to fully warm up, whereas a moving engine can easily do so within five minutes.

Simply start your diesel truck and get it moving at a moderate speed. This will warm it up faster and minimize the number of cold, damaging revolutions your engine makes.

Is it bad to start a diesel in the cold?

Modern diesel engines are sturdy pieces of machinery that are built to withstand all sorts of difficult conditions. Starting a diesel engine in cold weather isn't going to do it harm. That being said, both diesel and gasoline engines have an easier time starting when it's warm, and a harder time doing so when it's cold.

This mostly comes down to the batteries. Battery capacity decreases as temperatures go down. A battery that has 100% of its power available at 80 degrees Fahrenheit will have only 46% of its power at -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Testing weak or old batteries under load before winter comes is advised if you want to avoid potential problems during busy times.

Accessories such as heaters, air conditioners, radios, and other amperage-hungry devices can put an extra strain on the batteries. If you're having issues starting your engine, turn these devices off to make it easier on the battery and try again.

How do you start a diesel when it's cold?

Starting your diesel truck in icy weather is no different than starting any other type of vehicle. Simply fire up the engine and begin moving at a medium speed to help it warm up as soon as possible. If the engine refuses to start on its own, there are a number of things you can do.

Block heaters or glow plugs help you start your truck in cold weather by warming the internal combustion chamber area until it's suitable for combustion. Using No. 1 diesel fuel during winter months is also a good idea, as it's more flammable than No. 2 and therefore combusts more easily.

Keep the fuel tank filled up to prevent condensation within the tank. Adding winter diesel fuel additive to the fuel will decrease the chance of gelling and improve starting. Don't forget to keep track of your glow plugs and regularly replace glow plugs that have gone bad.

Do diesel engines have better fuel economy?

They do. Diesel engines have more low-end torque and are more fuel-efficient than similarly sized gasoline-powered engines. In addition to this, diesel fuel contains on average 10-15% more energy than gasoline. What this means is that diesel trucks can easily travel about 20-35% farther per gallon than gasoline-using trucks can.

As an added benefit, modern diesel engines are no more harmful to the environment than other types of engines. This was made possible with the advent of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, advancements in engine technologies, and enhanced exhaust treatment.

The premier San Diego diesel truck engine repair service

Do you need to have your diesel truck checked, fixed, or improved? Here at PCE, we have been in the diesel engine repair and maintenance business for longer than four decades. Our phenomenal track record has even been recognized by the US Navy.

Our diesel and motor division is located near the Naval Base San Diego. We boast a crew of superbly trained mechanics who will gladly answer your questions and help you make the best possible decisions for your diesel truck. Call us today, or visit us directly at our premises.

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