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How to take care of a diesel car

Added 14 February 2017 by

diesel car

It is commonly known that diesel vehicles are more economical; since diesel is also cheaper than petrol, you can make significant savings so long as you understand the specifics of this type of engine. Technically, diesel engines are far more complex than the petrol ones, which often makes them much more expensive to repair. Knowing how to take proper care of your diesel car will certainly help you make sure you will not need to make repairs too often.

What do you need to pay attention to, then?

To save the injectors, use quality fuel

If you ask a specialist how to take proper case of a diesel car, they will surely start with this very bit: do not make savings on fuel. Why so? Because the worse the fuel, the more negative impact it will have on the injectors; they are prone to damage and expensive to replace (this can cost you up to 2,500 PLN per injector). Even if you can repair them instead, this will costs a few hundred PLN per injector anyway. Remember that since there are 4 injectors in your car, you will most likely need to repair or replace all of them, and pay four times the price. Injector damage is reflected in the way your car behaves; the exhaust fumes will be very black or very white, and the car will seem to choke, or you will hear some knocking in the engine.

Protect the turbocharger

Turbocharger is yet another element of a diesel car that requires special attention and is very expensive to repair. The key to prolong its life and save over 1,000 PLN on repairs is to let it cool down after you’ve finished driving. Specialists advise that it is best to leave it running on neutral gear for 20 sec. up to 2 min. after you have stopped the car before you turn off the engine. For the first dozen kilometres make sure you try to drive smoothly and avoid sudden changes of speed. The condition of the turbocharger is also dependent on engine oil. You should replace the oil at least every 15,000 km or once per year.

How can you tell you will need to have the turbocharger replaced? You will hear whistling and notice loss of power, blueish exhaust fumes or increased engine oil consumption.

Do not lay rubber

Laying rubber can damage more than just the turbocharger. It can also force you to replace the dual mass flywheel (they are not only used in diesel cars anymore; you can often find them in petrol cars, too, since they help protect the gearbox from vibrations). Replacement of the dual mass flywheel often means that you need to replace the clutch as well. How much will this be? At least a 1,000 PLN, or a few times more.

Clean the diesel particulate filter

The DPF (dry filter), or FAP (wet filter) is there to remove soot from the exhaust gas. Particulate filters have been introduced in diesel cars to reduce emissions. If not cleaned properly, the filter can get damaged by ash build-up. This is very likely if you only drive the car in the city and do not achieve greater speeds when using faster roads outside. When you drive fast, the filter is able to clean itself. If your car has a FAP filter, make sure you put more fuel in the tank; the computer chooses the volume of the special liquid used for soot removal using the FAP filter based on the volume of fuel in the tank so it is best to not just fill it with a few litres when you’re at the station. If the filter does get damaged, you will need to pay a few thousand PLN. In Poland, you can also simply have the filter removed, too. While the solution is costly, it may still bring about savings, compared to replacement or regeneration of damaged filters.

Driving a diesel car in winter

The condition of your diesel car is dependent on the quality of Diesel used, and especially in winter it is very important that you fill it in with high quality fuel. You should also avoid leaving it in the cold for longer when there is little fuel in the tank; winter is the time you will want the tank to be full every time you leave the station. Before winter comes, make sure you replace the filter and check the condition of glowplugs, battery and alternator.

5 steps to protect your diesel engine

Instead of learning the advice of specialists by heart, you can sum it up to make it easier to follow; in fact, we have already done this for you. Try to memorise the five steps below:

1. Fuel type

Go to trustworthy fuel stations, choose good quality fuel and buy a lot of it instead of a few litres only. Make sure the tank is never empty and in winter, whenever you can, fill it up completely.

2. Engine oil

Replace engine oil at least once per year or 15,000 km driven. Stick to quality engine oils that are recommended for your car.

3. Easy start and easy driving

Take it easy when you’re starting the car; do not rush. Don’t lay rubber. Keep RPM in the middle; don’t goo too high or too low.

4. Time to cool down

Wait at least 20 seconds before you turn the engine off; it the drive was longer and more dynamic, give your car up to 2 minutes.

5. Filter replacement

Replace oil, fuel and air filters.

Amount of comments: 8

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  1. Deb Pearl

    We recently bought a new diesel car and we would love to know how to take better care of it, to keep it well. I didn’t know the turbocharger was a part that required special attention! If it is an expensive repair, then we should take care of it then! We will definitely keep in mind your tips about it! Thanks!

  2. Steele Honda

    I appreciate you mentioning that in the winter it is very important to fill in a diesel car with high-quality fuel. I’ve just bought a used diesel car, and as the winter is coming I will make sure to replace the filter and check the condition of glowplugs, battery, and alternator as advised here. I hope that I will find a reliable mechanic for this work so that I will not have to worry about my safety when driving.

  3. Oasge Svennigsen

    Like petrol cars diesel cars also need maintenance for gainning good performance. Using high quality of fuel eliminating the negative impact on the injector. Special attention should be pay to protect the turbo charger as it is very expensive to repair. Replacing the engine oil at least 15,000 kilometers or once in a year resulting to a well conditioned turbo charger. It is very much required to clean the diesel particulate filter to prolong the life of the car.

  4. Brandi young

    Thank you for sharing such an informative and useful blog about the maintenance of a diesel car and I admit the fact that the fuel tank should not left with little amount of diesel during winter season. During winter season, some region receives extreme cold temperature. Such temperature could freeze the water molecules present inside the fuel tank and could affects the overall operation of the vehicle. Hence, the fuel tank should be at least half filled to prevent the appearance of such situations.

  5. hiroshi bangladesh

    The write up of this blog is amazingly informative, By this, I have got to know how to take care of diesel car. I would like to know more about sports car in Bangladesh.

  6. Callaway Van Zeeberg

    Totally agree with the above mentioned tips. One thing I’d like to add which I feel is important, is that especially with turbocharged diesel motors… In the mornings (especially on cold winter mornings) before you leave your home, start your car and let the car idle for about five to eight minutes just to warm up the turbo and bring it to operating temperature. This engine idling time allows your engine oil also to warm up. There’s more engine wear on a cold motor if you just get in and drive.
    Don’t over-rev a cold turbo simply because you’re in a hurry or late for work. Diesel cars perform considerably more sluggishly on cold start-and-drives than petrol engines. Some or most diesel cars depend a lot on hydraulic pressure to perform as expected. When a diesel car is cold it will take a short while for the oil to warm up and provide the hydraulic pressure that is expected for performance.

    I drive a BMW 330d E46 2001 model that I bought in 2014 and I tell you it was the BEST thing that I’ve ever done. Very well looked after by the previous owner. Apart from my motor mechanics background on petrol engines, I did thorough research and followed tips exactly like the ones mentioned in this post above. I was able to pull off 1400km on a single tank of diesel (Johannesburg to Cape Town) at a cruising speed of 110 to 120km p/h. That’s an impressive feat for diesel motors

  7. shado

    thanx a lot for this informartive blog….i jus bought a used diesel car and i might say am loving it but i have little knowledge about diesel cars.i now know where to pay most attention to especially the turbo.will u say it is being proactive to take the car for imspection even though the is showing no warning signs..plz help as i wanna take care of this car