Today’s diesel engines are generally seen as durable, efficient, and clean. But if you drive a diesel-fueled car, SUV, or truck, you can improve its lifespan and performance even more by keeping up with the same sort of essential services that keep standard gas vehicles running.
Just like gas vehicles, diesel vehicles need regular oil changes to keep the engine properly lubricated, cleaned, and cooled. Diesel engines sometimes require special oil, so check your owner’s manual to determine your vehicle’s specific needs. And if you do a lot of heavy-duty driving, hauling, or towing in your diesel truck or SUV, you may need to get oil changes more frequently to counteract the extra stress, heat, and contamination your oil is exposed to.
A clean air filter clears out dust and dirt from the air that flows into your diesel engine, helping the vehicle last longer and operate at full power and efficiency. Over time, though, the air filter will get so dirty that it’s no longer effective. Before this happens, it’s a good idea to have the filter replaced with a new one.
The fuel filter is a crucial part that helps your fuel stay clean and allows the engine to use it more effectively. While gas vehicles only have one fuel filter, diesel vehicles usually have two – mainly because diesel fuel is more water-absorbent and needs a higher level of filtration to get rid of these extra particles.
Many modern diesel vehicles come equipped with a unique system – a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system – that’s designed specifically to control diesel-specific emissions. This system filters the vehicle’s exhaust gases and exposes them to a special diesel exhaust fluid that transforms them into nitrogen and water to reduce pollution. In order for this system to work well, you’ll need to fill a special tank in the vehicle with diesel exhaust fluid. This fluid should usually be refilled whenever you get an oil change, so make sure that’s part of your service.
Coolant helps your engine operate at a safe temperature instead of overheating, which is especially important for diesel engines because they use hot, highly compressed air to ignite the fuel. Over time, your vehicle’s coolant can break down and become acidic, potentially harming the radiator system and other components. To avoid this problem, make sure to keep your vehicle’s coolant topped up and follow the schedule in your owner’s manual for radiator flushes, coolant replacement, and other key service milestones.
Diesel vehicles are a special class, which is no surprise to the folks who drive them. If you know, you know. But it’s important to keep up with the unique services that keep them running. Taking care of basic maintenance can prolong your diesel vehicle’s life, help it run more reliably and efficiently, and ensure peak performance on the highway or the worksite.
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