Photo by Harley-Davidson
More than four in 10 commercial trucks in the US now run on near-zero-emissions diesel engines. Since these engines’ introduction in 2007, they have saved the US 12 billion gallons of diesel.
Best of all, diesel-powered vehicles run longer and farther than gas ones.
So, it’s no wonder that many of today’s light-duty vehicles, such as SUVs and pick-ups, now also rely on diesel. In fact, over half a million diesel-powered vehicles now get sold in the US each year since 2018.
As durable as these engines are, they’d still need diesel engine repair services at some point. After all, most of these machines power bigger vehicles, so they need to support heavier loads. Over time, all that weight they transport can take a toll on engine life and performance.
To that end, we came up with this guide detailing the most common problems with diesel engines. Read on to discover what they are and when you should get your trusty workhorse serviced and fixed.
Poor Fuel Economy
One of diesel fuel’s primary advantages over gas is that it boasts 10% to 15% more energy. As a result, diesel engines can go 20% to 35% farther per fuel gallon than gas engines. That’s why diesel-powered vehicles are far more fuel-efficient than their gas counterparts.
The thing is that impressive fuel economy can “drain away” due to bad fuel injectors. Damaged or worn out injectors can leak extra diesel into the chamber. Most of the time, a cracked or brittle O-ring gasket seal is to blame for leaky injectors.
Either way, faulty injectors (or their components) allow fuel to mix with the engine oil. This results in oil thinning, reducing the diesel fuel’s power and energy. If this happens, you may find yourself topping up your diesel tank more often than usual.
Do note that oil thinning can also damage engine bearings and scorch cylinder walls. These are among the worst things that can happen, as they can result in explosions inside the engine. They can destroy many engine components, leading to very pricey repairs.
So, don’t wait for these to happen! If your ride guzzles too much fuel, it’s time to bring it in for diesel truck repairs.
Red Check Engine Light Comes On
If your check engine light turns red or blinks non-stop, it’s often a sign of severe engine misfire. This can occur if unburned fuel seeps into your ride’s exhaust system. This calls for prompt diesel engine repairs, as it can damage the catalytic converter.
Severe engine misfires can also lead to your ride’s interiors smelling like diesel. It can also trigger your vehicle to generate excessive exhaust fumes.
Your diesel vehicle oil light may also turn on alongside the check engine light. This is often an indication of filthy or leaking oil. These can trigger your vehicle’s on-board diagnostic (OBD) system, activating the engine light.
If you experience any of these symptoms, bring your ride in for diesel services as soon as possible. The last thing you want is for your misfiring engine to break down completely.
The process of air and fuel compression allows engines, whether gas or diesel, to “fire up” and start. In gas-powered engines, spark plugs create the spark needed to ignite the air/fuel mixture. Diesel engines don’t have such plugs, so the compression itself ignites the diesel oil.
So, low compression won’t give the diesel engine enough pressure to trigger combustion. If it’s having combustion troubles, then the engine won’t fire up and start correctly.
In many cases, faulty combustion chamber components are to blame for low compression. These include parts like valves, cylinder liners, pistons, and rings. If any of these get damaged or worn out, you’re likely to experience hard starts.
As there are too many potential culprits behind hard starts, it can be difficult to trace the root cause. The best approach is to get in touch with a specialist in diesel engine repair services.
If your exhaust pipe belches out a lot of black smoke, it’s likely due to bad fuel combustion. This may happen if the diesel fuel only goes through partial burning. It may also be due to the combustion not breaking down carbon molecules properly.
Damaged injectors and clogged engine filters are some of the top causes of black smoke. This may also happen due to incorrect injector timing or if you have a damaged injection pump.
In any case, black smoke from exhausts contains high levels of carbon particles. These are huge contributors to environmental smog and air pollution. That should be enough reason for you to have your diesel engine checked as soon as possible.
Malfunctioning injectors can also make your diesel engine generate white smoke. As with black smoke, white smoke often occurs due to incorrect combustion. Unburned and unused diesel fuel can get into the exhaust system.
Sometimes, white smoke can also appear if you start your ride in freezing conditions. If it’s quick to dissipate, then you may only have had frozen soot deposits that burned away upon start-up. To prevent this, consider investing in glow plugs that help boost fuel combustion.
While blue smoke is the “rarest” of all diesel smoke colors, it often indicates burning oil. Your engine may be making its own oil combust due to an oil leak or overflowing oil chamber. Such oil issues may also result from worn cylinders.
If you’ve already seen blue smoke out of your ride several times, take it in for inspection. Otherwise, your engine is at a high risk of complete failure.
Keep Your Engine Roaring With Prompt Diesel Engine Repair Services
As you can see, there are many issues that call for speedy diesel engine repair services. You don’t want to delay getting these repairs, as they can lead to a complete engine failure. Remember: diesel engines can last for several decades, so long as well-maintained.
So, make the most out of your diesel vehicle by having it inspected and fixed promptly!
If you need any diesel engine or diesel truck service in or near Rocklin, CA, our team of experts here at DPS can help. Ring us up now so we can help you keep your engine roaring longer.