Diesel engines are built to last for many thousands of miles and, with some timely help from their proud owners, can provide a lifetime of service. It’s not that uncommon for the odometer on some diesel trucks to turn over the one-million mile mark when properly maintained. In this feature, we’ll discuss some basic maintenance steps you can take to keep your diesel truck on the road for the long haul.

For starters, you need look no further than your owner’s manual for a list of recommended maintenance items. These typically include fluid and filter replacements – frequency requirements, grade of motor oil prescribed by the manufacturer, etc. Due to the high pressures under which diesel engines operate, compared to their gas-powered cousins, it’s also important to stay on top of your engine coolant. If necessary, install a coolant warning indicator on your dashboard.

Your diesel truck’s suspension, drivetrain and steering system require periodic lubrication, which should be done using high quality grease. This also provides a good opportunity to check systems for leaks or damage as well. Keep an eye out too for excessive smoke, decreased oil pressure or reduced engine power, as these are common signs of mechanical problems.

A good wash-down will help keep your truck free of corrosion, along with an application of a good body wax once or twice a year.
Remember to always use recommended replacement parts, and to keep some spares handy that you know you’ll be replacing more frequently. Of course, good maintenance records are essential. You’ll be able to track any trends or potential problems with them, and if you need work done by someone other than yourself or your usual mechanic, they will serve as a maintenance and repair guide also.