Many drivers dream of having a diesel car. These vehicles hardly require any maintenance for a long time and are very fuel efficient. In the recent years, diesel particulate filters have been introduced to reduce emissions, which has discouraged a number of enthusiasts but the cars remain very popular anyway.
Diesel engines, especially the newer ones, are problematic, though, since their faults are costly to repair. Among the parts which are prone to damage are the injectors, turbocharger, dual mass flywheel and the particle filter. Of course, the market still offers a selection of more – and less – faultless diesel engines, so if you’re considering the purchase of a second-hand diesel car, it is good to learn the opinions of specialists first so you can make an informed decision.
The best diesel engines
- Citroen and Peugeot – 2.0 HDI
The 2.0 HDI is recommended in the 90 KM 8v version, manufactured from 1999 to 2008. This engine was used by Citroen, Peugeot, Ford, Suzuki and Volvo.
- Fiat – 1.9 JTD/JTDm
The 1.9 JTD has gathered a number of positive reviews from the experts. The 120 KM 8v is the most recommended of its versions; it is dynamic and economical. This 1.9 JTD engine can be found in Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, Opel (CDTI), Saab, Suzuki and Cadillac.
- BMW – 3.0d
The BMW 3.0d engine is like wine: the older, the better. This has nothing to do with its use, though; the first ones were simply made to last longer. The M57 series (which was the 1st one) are more durable as they have much less faulty parts than the next ones. You can find the 3.0d engine in BMW and Land Rover, among other brands.
- Volkswagen – 1.9 TDI
With some modifications, this engine has been available in the market for over 20 years. The only fault the specialists ever mention is the noise the engine makes when running; we believe this is the best recommendation an engine could get. The 1.9 TDI can be found in Audi, Seat, Skoda, VW and Ford, among others.
- Toyota 1.4D-4D
This engine has low fuel consumption and is relatively faultless. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find if you want to purchase a second-hand car. The 1.4D-4D engines were used by Toyota and Mini.
- Honda – 2.2 i-CTDi
Positive reviews of the 2.2 i-CTDi engine have made it so popular that it is difficult to buy it cheap even if the car is purchased second-hand. This is not surprising, though; experts consider the engine solid, durable and dynamic. The most serious fault is the cost of repairs; fortunately, you won’t need them too often. The cost comes from the origin of the engine; since it is Japanese, repairs mean that whenever you want original parts, you will need to import them.
- Volvo – 2.4 D
This engine, manufactured by Swedish engineers in 2001, may consume lost of fuel but it is very durable and has had some really good reviews. Still, some of its parts are not easy to find, which means that if you do need repairs, they will be costly.
The worst diesel engines
- Opel 3.0 CDTI (3.0 dCi, 3.0 TiD)
While the best feature of many diesel engines is their ability to make thousands of kilometres if only you maintain them properly, the engine of Opel 3.0 CDTI is known for becoming useless after as little as 200,000 km; it has Denso injectors which, until recently, used to be impossible to repair. Not only this; the engine would also have problems with gasket seals and cylinder bushings. This unit was used by Opel, Renault and Saab.
- Volkswagen – 2.0 TDI
This successor of the legendary 1.9 TDI is not half as good as one would expect, unfortunately. Especially its broken head can be a real pain for everyone who trusted this engine to last. The injection pump drive and turbochargers are faulty as well. These 2.0 TDI engines are used by VW and Audi.
- VM 2.5 TD
This engine is known for failures of cylinder heads and injection system as well as oil leaks. They can be found in Jeep and Chrysler.
- Audi 2.5 TDI V6
This engine required costly repairs or replacement of worn camshafts, injection pump and lubrication system. It was used in Audi, VW and Skoda.
What must be remembered is that statistic data and expert reviews such rankings are based on do not guarantee that the very car you purchase will be as good as you would expect. Before you make the purchase, make sure you visit a good mechanic who can professionally check the engine for typical faults with the use of specialised equipment. The more care you take before you buy the car, the more likely you will be to actually be satisfied with the purchase.