Have you ever wondered why big trucks use diesel engines vs gas engines? I was curious and did a some research and this is what I discovered.
Why Are Diesel Engines Used In Trucks?
Diesel engines produce more torque at slow speeds which is an advantage when pulling heavy loads. Trucks and other bulky automobiles need a large amount of force to run at slow speed.
Gasoline (Petrol) burns way faster than diesel. The trucks’ engines need a higher torque at slow speed, so they need to be powered by diesel to achieve this.
It is an important requirement in any truck. Most trucks run on a diesel engine due to their heavy machinery. Diesel engines are durable and give more power to these trucks and other heavy automobiles.
Is Owning a Diesel Truck worth It?
Diesel trucks have a better value when it comes to reselling than the hybrid-powered or gas counterparts. It gives you a better advantage since you won’t lose a lot of money in depreciation as you would on a similar vehicle that uses a gas engine.
Are Diesel Trucks Hard to Maintain?
Diesel trucks are easier to maintain than other similar trucks that use gas engines. They require less maintenance since there is reduced wear and tear in the engine, and it has greater efficiency.
Tips for Maintaining a Diesel Engine:
- Regularly monitor your coolant
Coolants become acidic over time; hence, they need to be monitored from time to time. It can rot other parts of the vehicle if allowed to remain acidic. Perform regular acidity level tests and check-ups to know where you stand.
- Keep your engine clean
Always keep your engine clean to avoid compromising its performance and durability. The three areas that need cleaning the most are the diesel’s clean oil, clean air, and clean fuel. Your engine is prone to damage if you allow grime and dirt to accumulate in its components.
- Change your fuel filter
Replace your fuel filter during maintenance appointments. You should change it after every 10-16K miles. Most recent diesel types have a primary and a secondary fuel filter that should be replaced simultaneously for cleaning.
- Check your Air filters
The air filter needs to be inspected and changed when need be. Monitoring of these air filters depends on the climate and environment that you are using your truck in. Make sure your air filters are clean to be effective.
- Appropriate oil changes
You should change your diesel engine’s oil after about 4K miles. It should even be changed if you’re driving a truck or any other heavy vehicle.
The Average Life of a Diesel Engine
If well maintained, most vehicle experts suggest that it is possible to keep a diesel truck on the road for even up to 30 years. It lasts longer since it lubricates the engine parts when burnt and used as fuel by the truck.
Why Do Diesel Engines Have a Longer Lifespan?
- Their design
They are designed by gears that never lose timing and are easy to fix. Most diesel engines use their gear-driven oil and water pumps to reduce the potential failure of parts and components of your truck.
- The fuel used by the diesel engine
The engine uses light oil, which lubricates the engine, reducing wear and tear of its parts. It increases its lifespan as the parts remain in good shape even after long mileage.
- Diesel engines are great at self-cooling.
It reduces the chances of overheating. They have several thermostats and sensors. It means the truck will keep on running in case one fails since the others will prevent overheating of the engine.
- They have larger camshafts, cylinders, and crankshafts
They have larger bearing sizes. There is a lot of space in these engines that allow more free movement of oil. It allows for more lubrication and less wear of the engine’s components.
How Many Miles Can a Diesel Engine Last?
A diesel engine can go for an impressive 900,000-1,400,000 miles before needing overhaul or major work.
Are Diesel Engines Good for Everyday Driving?
Recent diesel engines have stopped emitting nitrogen oxide, and their carbon footprint is better than other fuels. It makes them suitable for many trips over long distances.
They have a higher torque, which creates more force behind the power. It is the reason why diesel trucks and vehicles have more capability than other cars.
Can Diesel Engines Use Alternative Fuels?
Unlike other engines, diesel engines can use renewable fuels such as biodiesel without major alterations. They can do this without affecting the manufacturer’s warranty.
Disadvantages Of Diesel Engines in Trucks.
Diesel engines in trucks can be noisy
Several sounds coming out of your car can scare you. However, not every sound should cause an alarm, as some are just normal. The engine of your truck might produce many sounds. Here are some of the noises your engine might be producing and what they indicate:
It is due to the mixture of fuel and air in the cylinder that is prematurely ignited by the engine’s compressor. It can damage the valves, connecting rods, and pistons inside the engine. You might hear this while trying to accelerate your truck.
- Diesel engine knocking
The engine’s injectors produce it. Usually, to reduce the sound, you need to lubricate the purge. However, if the noise does not stop after fifteen working minutes, you should have your engine checked.
- Diesel engine ticking noise
Normally, components like pistons, rods, valves, and pushrods cause noise. The sound might indicate several problems like ill-adjusted valves, rod knock, and low oil level.
- Timing chain meshing noise
It is vital to maintain it regularly. A bad timing chain produces a rattling noise when the engine is cold. When the engine is fully warmed up, it produces a toned-down noise.
How to Troubleshoot Diesel Engine Noise
It is important to diagnose the noises produced in your diesel engine truck. Here is what you should do whenever you hear one of the above noises.
- You might have used the wrong type of fuel if you hear a rattling noise. It can be fixed easily, or it can be something more complex such as a belt tensioner that needs force to maintain and create tension.
- Low oil level might cause the diesel engine’s ticking noise. It shows that the valve-train components are not well lubricated. A bad connecting rod or a faulty lifter could also cause this noise, causing the motor’s rebuilding.
- Diesel engine knocking- this is normal, and it has a simple remedy. Lack of lubrication in the injectors causes them to knock, and you can easily fix the problem by replacing them with new ones.
- Looseness of the engine’s components causes timing chain problems. You need to fix the problem as soon as you find out about it to avoid damage to the engine caused by tearing, which might incur a lot of money to fix.
The tiny particles in diesel can flare up respiratory illness and periodically worsen underlying asthma conditions when inhaled.
Diesel trucks emit a lot of nitrogen oxide gas, especially when temperatures are high polluting the environment. It is harmful because nitrogen oxide causes heart-related such as lung cancer.
Servicing diesel engine trucks might be quite expensive since they have heavy and complex machinery. They have higher oil filters and oil capacity, which are costly. However, you do not need to this regularly.
What Does the Diesel Particulate Filter Warning Light Mean?
It lights up when your truck is at risk of going onto limp mode due to the high soot level from diesel exhaust. Modern truck diesel engines have a particulate filter in the exhaust to combat exhaust emissions. It catches larger particles of soot coming from the diesel exhaust.
How Safe Is It to Drive While the Diesel Particular Filter Light of Your Truck is on?
Proceed driving normally on the highway for active regeneration when the light comes on. The light should go off provided that nothing is stopping regeneration from happening. Take your truck for inspection in case the light does not go off.
If you wait for too long, the engine will be forced into safe mode. It would be best if you stopped driving at this point until the problem has been fixed. It is not safe to continue driving even at low speed. The build-up of soot in the filter continues, and you will have to replace it completely.
Is It Safe to Clean Your Diesel Particulate Filter with Water?
It is not safe to clean your diesel particulate with water as this will only form a concrete-like substance once mixed with the soot in the filter. It might damage the diesel particulate filter completely.
Diesel engines in trucks are constantly under improvement. Most manufactures have started producing low-emission diesel engines for trucks, buses, and passenger vehicles.
They are manufacturing diesel vehicles that run quietly and don’t emit black smoke in the air. There has been a rise in the construction of gas stations that sell diesel making it reliable.
Diesel has many advantages over its gasoline (petrol) truck counterparts. If a truck is needed to haul or pull heavy loads like a boat trailer, camper or tiny house. You should be thinking about a diesel pickup truck as your tow vehicle!