There are more than 3,370,000 diesel trucks in the United States, making up about 43 percent of all commercial trucks in the country and about one percent of non-commercial light trucks. If you are in that one percent who owns a diesel truck for non-commercial reasons, you know what a useful vehicle it is for carrying loads, pulling, and pushing.
To get the most out of your truck, you rely on a healthy engine. A diesel truck engine is powerful and durable, but they do require maintenance to work efficiently.
If you want to be able to use your diesel truck for years to come and avoid expensive repairs, there are some engine pro care tips to remember. Read on to learn what they are.
1. Get Regular Oil Changes
Any vehicle requires oil changes, but it is particularly important to have a regular oil change schedule for a diesel engine. Without undertaking oil changes, the oil becomes thick and dirty, clogging your engine and causing damage when heat and friction are applied.
You want to time the oil changes based on the distance you have traveled and not on the amount of time that has passed between the last change. People who drive their truck every day or who use it for heavy towing can quickly build up the miles and the truck will need more frequent oil changes.
For most diesel trucks, you want to change the oil once you have driven between 2,000 and 5,000 miles to avoid a damaged engine. There are other factors to consider, like the age of the truck and the specific vehicle.
2. Maintain Fluid Levels
Your engine and transmission require different types of fluids to work at their best. The truck needs engine coolant, window washer fluid, and more, depending on the type of truck.
Monitoring the engine coolant is one of the diesel engine tips that mechanics recommend remembering. Coolant becomes more acidic over time. If it continues to acidify, it can begin to eat into other parts of the truck’s cooling system like the radiator.
You can have experts test the acidity levels and create a schedule to check and flush the coolant.
When you do this, check the radiator. The truck keeps cool by transferring heat from the engine into the air via the radiator. If the radiator is damaged, it can lead to overheating, damaging the diesel engine.
You want to undertake complete coolant testing regularly. It involves testing coolant freezing temperature and the strength of the components.
If you are taking a long trip, always check the oil and coolant levels to avoid the engine seizing up mid-way.
3. Clean Truck Engine Frequently
The engine itself will need cleaning. As the engine runs, it builds up gunk and collects debris, which can damage it, shorten the truck’s lifespan, and reduce fuel efficiency.
If you live in an area where it snows, road salt can collect in the engine and speed up rust and corrosion. Have the engine cleaned after each winter.
A factor of having a clean diesel truck engine is to use clean diesel fuel. Clean fuel promotes energy efficiency and high performance.
4. Change Filters
Your diesel truck has many different filters, including your fuel filter, air filter, oil filter, and more. You want to keep track of all of these to know when they need to be replaced.
Depending on your truck, you want to schedule filter changes every 10,000 or so miles. Older diesel vehicles may require more frequent changes.
If your truck is newer, the engine may have two fuel filters, a primary and a secondary, and you want to change both of these at the same time.
If you drive in dusty and dry locations, the air filters also need frequent changing. The air filter is usually under the hood in a diesel vehicle and it can choke your engine if it is not clean. A choked engine will use up more fuel to get the acceleration and power you ask of it.
You want to change the air filter every 12,000 miles but if you notice weaker acceleration, increased engine wear, or decreased engine power, you want to have a professional check it for you.
5. Monitor Exhaust System
The exhaust system on your truck affects the engine and the entire truck’s function. There are different types of exhaust systems, including diesel particulate filters (DPF) and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) systems.
Pay attention to the DPF regeneration. It happens when particles in the filter heat up to combustion levels and become ash and carbon dioxide.
If you notice that DPF regeneration is happening more frequently, you want to take the truck to a mechanic for help. Remember that your DPF filter needs cleaning to remove ash from the regeneration.
The DEF tank also has to be full, since running out of diesel exhaust fluid can cause fault codes and make the engine’s performance decrease.
Keep Your Diesel Truck at Its Best
Having a truck engine that is working correctly will extend the life of your diesel truck, saving you the stress of costly repairs. Monitoring the truck’s fluid levels, cleaning the engine, as well as changing filters can make a difference.
To ensure that your diesel truck is running as it needs to, you can turn to mechanics for guidance. If you need diesel truck maintenance or want to learn more about how to prevent engine trouble, you can turn to us. Contact us right now to learn more!