Diesel power plants give pickup trucks extra torque, fuel efficiency, and reliability over gasoline, all of which are important when hauling heavy loads and working long days. The differences from gas-powered engines that make diesel trucks such workhorses also mean they require different maintenance.
From complicated emissions systems to a lack of spark plugs, diesel motors operate very differently from gas. While it’s true that diesels tend to have more longevity than gas (thanks in part to stronger engine components needed to withstand high compression), they still need to be maintained at regular intervals.
If you are a new diesel owner, you might be wondering what services your truck needs to run like it should. We’re going to go over the most important regular services for diesel trucks.
Oil and Filter Changes
Just like gasoline engines, diesels require regular oil and oil filter changes to protect internal moving parts. However, the interval of oil changes varies. Newer diesels can, under ideal conditions, go as long as 7500 – 10,000 miles between oil services.
Typically, your truck will not be operating in “ideal conditions”. For example, cold weather, extreme heat, short driving distances, towing and hauling, stop-and-start driving, or exposure to dust and dirty air are not ideal conditions. For these trucks, an oil change every 5000 miles is advised. The same is true for older diesel trucks. When in doubt, more frequent oil changes are always advised.
Most modern diesels are turbocharged. Turbochargers generate massive amounts of heat, and can cause oil to break down more rapidly. This is especially true when the engine is shut off and the oil stops flowing. Some of it will sit inside the bearing housing of the turbo and “cook”, eventually leaking to the deposition of carbon deposits throughout the motor.
It’s important to take into consideration operating hours as well as mileage. If your truck spends a lot of time idling or powering auxiliary equipment, you should base oil changes off of engine hours. In these cases the mileage will not accurately reflect the condition of the engine oil.
Fuel Filter Change
Fuel injection in diesel engines happens under unbelievably high pressure. Depending on the engine, the injection pressure can be between 20,000 and 40,000 psi. In order to protect this system and its expensive components, the diesel fuel passes through a filter. The fuel filter keeps contaminants out of the injection pump and the injectors themselves.
Fuel filters on gasoline engines can easily go 100,000 miles between changes. On diesel engines, the filter(s) should be swapped out every 10,000-15,000 miles to ensure optimal performance.
For your diesel engine to operate at its best, it needs an unlimited supply of clean air. The engine air filter is responsible for removing any contaminants from the air before it enters the engine. If your truck spends a lot of time in dusty environments like construction sites or on dirt roads, the filter can become dirty pretty quickly, choking the engine and reducing its performance.
Similar to the fuel filter, you should plan on getting your engine air filter changed every 10,000 to 15,000 miles depending on the conditions your vehicle is used in.
Glow plugs (Not to be mistaken with spark plugs), provide heat to the combustion chamber, aiding in more efficient combustion and easier startup. Glow plugs typically have a very long life of 100,000 miles.
However, if they fail, you may not be able to get your diesel truck started. Luckily, they are not an expensive part and due to their longevity, they aren’t much of a concern.
Outside of the services above, the maintenance on your diesel will remain similar to any other vehicles. Regular coolant flushes, brake, and differential services are all critical to keeping your diesel truck running reliably.
Diesel Services at Scott’s U-Save
Whether you daily drive a diesel truck or manage a fleet of them, having a trustworthy and knowledgeable repair shop is essential. Scott’s U-Save is your go-to for diesel service in New Lenox and Steger Illinois, as well as Schererville Indiana. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!