If you own a big rig, you know that unless you care for its diesel engine you will spend more time in the shop and less on the road. If you are a new truck owner and have limited experience with diesel engines, here are some basic maintenance tips to help keep you rolling longer and with fewer troubles.
— Don’t forget to warm up
Unlike conventional engines, diesels require a little TLC before they are up and ready to go. You should idle your engine for a full five minutes before hitting the accelerator. If you don’t, you run the risk of having the engine seize up. At the very least, not warming up will cause your parts to wear out much faster. It is especially important to follow this principle in extremely cold weather since the oils in the engine tends to thicken under these conditions. This viscosity in the transmission fluid especially will be harmful to the engine if it is run before the oils are sufficiently heated and free to flow properly.
— Do not allow overheating
Trying to go up steep hills too fast is one of the main causes of diesel engine overheating. Of course, such practices should be avoided as much as possible; but if your engine does overheat, save it from further damage by taking care of it in the following ways: Do not turn off the engine right away; rather, pull over to the side of the road and allow your truck to idle for a full 5 minutes before turning it off. Do not do anything with the engine until the steam has cleared and the radiator cap is cool to the touch. Refill with antifreeze and check the temperature periodically to avoid further problems.
Diesel engines are great, but they can be temperamental creatures: be sure to care for them properly to ensure a long and happy relationship between you and your rig.