How you can make your diesel engine last a long time

Diesel engines can last for the life of your car or boat, with regular and cost effective maintenance.

Changing the Oil Regularly

Changing the engine oil on a regular basis is important in order to make your diesel engine last a long time.

This is because when the engine is running, the oil forms a very small ‘cushion’ between the moving metal engine components.

This ‘cushion’ of oil greatly reduces friction inside the engine.

Friction is the enemy of engine longevity, as it causes premature wear , and failure of the engine components, such as bearings.

Over time, the engine oil in a diesel engine will become contaminated with carbon and microscopic pieces of metal.

The oil will also lose efficiency due to the hard work it has to do, under extreme heat conditions.

Therefore oil should be changed regularly, and never later than the manufacturers service schedule.

The make your diesel engine last a long time, I would recommend that ideally you change your oil more regularly than the manufacturers service schedule.

The reason for this, is that manufacturers may extend the service times, in order to make the vehicle more attractive to buyers.

This often happens with engines fitted to road vehicles, such as cars especially.

Under ideal conditions such as long motorway driving, the oil may well be ok to leave in longer, but many cars sit in traffic jams, or only make short journeys.

Short journeys are especially bad for vehicles, as the diesel engine does not have time to warm up to its correct operating temperature.

Because the engine has not warmed up, the oil will not be working at maximum efficiency, and increased wear can result.

Engine sludge can also occur in engines, regularly only driven short distances.

I personally change my diesel engine oil every 6000 miles, on a vehicle that is supposed to only need changes every 12,000. I start to feel a difference in smoothness at around 6000 – 7000 Miles, and that tells me its ideally due a change.

As most of my driving is long distance motorway, I would probably change it at 5000 Miles, if I did a lot of town driving.

For tips on changing the oil in a diesel engine, check out this link to my page on oil changes.

Fuel Filters

Another important way to ensure your diesel engine lasts a long time, is to regularly change the engine fuel filter.

Your marine diesel may well have two fuel filters fitted, to filter different size particles, however you road vehicle is likely to have one filter.

Fuel can be contaminated with dirt, microscopic organisms and even water, therefore filtering of the fuel is important.

In a diesel engine the fuel will enter the engine via the injectors.

These injectors have a single, or multiple very small holes at their ends, to allow the fuel to pass through.

If dirt is pumped through the injector, via the fuel, the injector can become blocked.

A blocked injector will result in poor running of the engine, and injector replacement, which is quite costly.

Hard Engine Use When Cold

As previously mentioned, the oil and the engine need time to warm up to there normal operating temperature.

Therefore running an engine at high RPM before the engine has warmed up, can reduce the life of the engine.

This is because of increased friction , caused by the oil not being up to optimal temperature.

High Revving

Diesel engines don’t need to be revved as high as petrol engines, to achieve maximum power and torque.

Keeping engine speed down will help extend the life of the engine.

Components such as the alternator will also benefit from keeping the engine revs down.

This is because they will spin slower, which puts less stress on bearings, belts and other components.