Diesel engines are impressively sturdy, but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible. Without the proper care, the components of your diesel engine can wear down, break, and even fail.
Reading about these common mistakes to avoid with a diesel engine can help you lengthen your engine’s lifespan and make sure everything is in proper, working order.
Neglecting To Warm Them Up
It’s best to warm up your vehicle before you use it.
By heating up your engine, you’re helping its components function in tip-top shape. If you drive your engine before it’s warm, warping and other damage can occur over time.
As a good rule of thumb, three to five minutes of warning time is ideal. Anything more than that, and you’re needlessly wasting fuel!
Foregoing Routine Maintenance
Performing routine maintenance checks on your vehicle is essential. The engine needs to be cleaned of debris such as dirt, bugs, and stray autumn leaves, and have its parts inspected for minor damage.
By regularly maintaining your vehicle, you reduce the likelihood of problems going unchecked. Prevention is best, they say. The earlier you notice and address minor issues, the less damage they’ll cause.
You can take your vehicle to a certified diesel mechanic or deal with smaller maintenance issues yourself. If you need help, this handy guide can help you get started.
Forgetting to Replace the Fluids
Fluids are essential to keeping your engine lubricated, which protects them from premature wear.
You should replace your fluids—including the oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and power steering fluid—on a regular basis.
The oil should be changed every 3,000 miles if you’re using standard oil, and every 5,000 to 6,000 if you’re using synthetic.
Other fluids, such as coolant and transmission fluids, should be flushed and swapped out every 60,000 or so miles.
Towing Too Much
Another common mistake to avoid with a diesel engine is towing more than your engine can handle.
Strong, reliable diesel engines are built for towing, but remember—they have a limit.
If you haul above the recommended towing rating, you’re putting your engine under extreme strain. This can impact your stopping power, which means you’ll have a difficult time safely maneuvering the roads.
To avoid wearing out your engine, stay below the maximum weight your vehicle can tow.
Not Changing the Filters
Your engine has two main filters: the air filter and the fuel filter.
For your engine to perform well, it’s recommended you replace your fuel filters— both the primary and secondary—every 10,000 miles.
You should inspect your air filters around every 12,000 miles. Make sure there isn’t any debris, dirt, and moisture trapped in the system. If the filters are dirty, you should replace them, but if they look clean, you might be able to stretch their use a little longer.