At IAmDIESEL, we applaud the recent gains that diesel engines have made in global popularity. Long favoured in long-haul highway applications, agriculture, and “big ‘ol” pickup trucks, North American drivers are finally taking cues from Europe regarding diesel performance in all kinds of automotive applications.

If you’re used to gasoline engines, you’re probably attracted to the better gas mileage and durability of diesel engines. Recent technology developments have removed the “dirty” stigma attached to them, and many auto makers have made them available.

So you’ve chosen a diesel. Great! But before you head down the road, don’t forget to check the recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle. Here are some of the basic differences when compared with the gasoline engines you may be more familiar with:

1) Oil Changes
The recommended oil change frequency for diesels is higher than gasoline engines. There are extreme pressures and temperatures in a diesel engine, which can cause the oil to lose its viscosity (the property of “thickness” that protects internal engine parts) more quickly. Always ensure that you are using the recommended oil type. Diesel engine oils turn black right away, so colour isn’t an indicator that a change is required like it is with gas engines.

2) Filters
Oil filters should be changed every time you change the oil, as is the case with gasoline. Fuel filters will be scheduled for more frequent replacement, as diesel can contain more solids and corrosive particles than gasoline. Air filters have similar schedule changes than gasoline cars, but the room for laziness is less. Particles trapped in a diesel engines air filter can be sucked into the engine when it becomes clogged, and damage it.

3) Fuel Injection Systems
Diesel engines work differently than gasoline ones, especially in the area of fuel injection. Instead of being sprayed into the intake and then compressed and then ignited by a spark (like a gasoline engine) diesel injectors spray fuel into a cylinder full of air that’s already been compressed, igniting because the compression results in a high temperature. Diesel engines don’t have spark plugs that require changes, but the injectors will need to be protected by regular fuel filter changes, and periodically changed.

4) Exhaust Fluid
Many diesel engines require a urea exhaust fluid as a means of pollution control. Gas engines don’t.

5) Fuel Additives
Unlike gasoline, diesel fuel is also used to lubricate many of the components in the high pressure injection system. Many manufacturers recommend a fuel additive for increased lubrication such as Standyne’s “lubricity formula”.

These stricter maintenance requirements pay dividends. Whether you chose a diesel engine in a truck or a car, you’ll realize substantial savings at the pump, as well as increased engine longevity and higher resale value (on average).

IamDIESEL is the service branch of Western Turbo, Winnipeg’s premier diesel centre. Our professional technicians are the most knowledgeable in the business, with access to the best parts. Whatever diesel vehicle you own, we pride ourselves on being the best place to bring it for service.