Simple Maintenance for Diesel Engine Vehicles

Tips for Keeping your Diesel Engine Running Smooth

Does your vehicle have a diesel engine? If it does, are you aware that your vehicle maintenance schedule should be set based on whether you do more local driving, or long distance driving?

Make some time in your busy schedule to have basic maintenance tasks performed, as they will ultimately save you time and money. You can also rely on the expert technicians at A&M Auto Repair in Bellevue, Washington, for your preventative maintenance needs. Each vehicle receives a complimentary 59-point inspection to make sure it is optimized for the road ahead.

There are things you can do at home to further extend the performance and life of your diesel engine. We have outlined some of these below:

Keep Your Engine Clean

Whether you are driving across town or across the country, dust, road grime, and soot can make your engine compartment rather messy. Keeping your engine clean allows you and/or your service technician to notice any issues before they become major problems. For example, on a clean vehicle you can spot new oil leaks, broken hoses, coolant leaks, and more. In addition, dirty engine components, such as radiators and intercoolers, are going to affect your engine. So, take preventative measures to keep things clean.

Keep an Eye on Your Fluids

If not for engine oil, your vehicle would not be able to roll on, furiously notching up miles, and would die a natural death. Engine oil lubricates the moving parts of the engine, but it becomes acidic and contaminated over time and needs to be changed regularly. Lack of oil changes will minimize performance and engine life.

You should also keep an eye on engine coolant as it’s just as important as engine oil. Keeping your coolant topped off and balanced with the proper chemicals will prevent overheating, coolant freezing, and engine-damaging electrolysis in your cylinder liners. It’s true – improper coolant maintenance can lead to holes in your cylinder liners and allow coolant to dump into your cylinders!

Most diesel engines, German, American, or Asian will recommend oil changes prescribed by the vehicle manufacturer. We recommend engine oil and filter service every 12 months, or 5000 miles, whichever comes first. As a matter of fact, 90% of all major failures we see on diesel engines are due to a lack of oil changes, contaminated diesel fuel, or soot build up. So keep those fluids topped off and change them at regular intervals!

Change Filters Regularly

Just as your vehicle needs to be clean, your fluids need to be clean too, and your filters play an integral role in keeping your fluids clean. As such, this should be considered as part of your preventative maintenance program.

  • Fuel filters need to be replaced every other oil change in order to ensure good, clean fuel flow to your engine. Dirty fuel filters don’t bypass and will restrict or stop fuel flow to your engine. With reduced fuel flow, you will notice reduced engine performance and possibly damage the engine’s internal components. If you have completely clogged filters, you will likely have an engine that won’t start or run.
  • Oil filters ensure your oil is clean by removing particles that can cause engine wear and damage. Every time you change your engine oil, you need to change your oil filter.
  • A clean air filter ensures your engine is breathing clean air. Air filters need to be changed from time to time, and the frequency depends on the environment you are operating in. A dirty, clogged air filter will restrict air flow and degrade engine performance.
  • Diesel Particiculate Filters (DPF) are important to maintain as well. A&M Auto Repair in Bellevue, is one of the only facilities in the State of Washington to offer Diesel Particulate Filter Cleaning. This saves our customers a great deal of money in the event of DPF or Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) failure.

Change Your Oil Regularly

To keep your motor running smoothly, replace your oil on a consistent basis. It’s tough coming up with a hard and fast rule on engine oil change intervals. It depends on so many factors, such as engine idle time, number of engine cold starts, engine workload, and the list goes on and on.

Additionally, our staff would be happy to discuss all these factors and help you come up with the ideal oil change interval for your specific diesel engine.

It is also critical to utilize the proper oil for your vehicle. In case you don’t know which type to utilize, refer to your engine manual, or have a disel engine repair professional change your oil for you.

Your Exhaust System

The exhaust system is vital to the well-being of your vehicle. These exhaust systems are getting more and more complicated all the time, with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) and Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) systems all developed in the name of meeting emissions standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

You need to pay attention to your DPF regeneration, which happens when particulates in the filter heat up to combustion and are turned to ash and carbon dioxide. Regen can happen one of three ways: passive, active, or forced. If regen happens more and more frequently, you need to have a service technician look at your vehicle and determine the cause. In addition to regen, your DPF filter needs to be cleaned periodically to remove any ash left over from DFP regeneration.

Be sure to keep your DEF tank filled, as running out will cause fault codes and decreased engine performance. The DEF tank needs to be flushed periodically as DEF fluid will develop crystals. These crystals will damage the DEF injection system leading to costly repairs.

Check Your Radiator

The raditor’s purpose is to keep the engine cool by transferring heat from the engine to the air. Diesel engines produce a great deal of heat while in operation and a compromised radiator could reduce this heat transfer, and in the process, lead to overheating. Overheating can cause unsalvageable engine failure.

Proper upkeep of the cooliing component is essential! Normal coolant maintenance includes radiator cleaning, engine oil cooler flush, coolant testing, and at times a radiator replacement may be warranted. Complete coolant testing includes coolant freeze temperature and the strength of the chemical components that protect your engine and allow for efficient cooling. After testing, possible corrective actions may include adding coolant, treating the system with additives, or replacing the coolant.

Expert Diesel Service and Maintenance in Bellevue, WA

While diesel engines are different from a typical gasoline powered engine, the premise of proper maintenance remains the same. Taking the time to conduct proper, preventative maintenance will not only keep your diesel powered vehicle running at more optimal levels, it will also extend the life of your vehicle. The trained experts at A&M Auto Repair in Bellevue, Washington, can devise an maintenance plan for your vehicle to keep it running at peak performance. Call us today at 425-641-9455 to schedule an appointment!

Written by A&M Auto Repair Bellevue