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.