Common Diesel Engine Problems You May Have (And Solutions To Fix Them)
If you own a diesel truck or car, you probably have it for two reasons: efficiency and power.
Diesel cars offer better fuel economy than their gasoline counterparts, while also offering more torque on tap for those who want to tow or the like. They are a great option if you regularly do many high-speed miles rather than many short trips.
And, if you always take care of your car’s diesel engine and have it serviced regularly, you may never experience any downtime or problems with your engine.
However, if you happen to experience problems with your car’s diesel engine, you risk losing both efficiency and power and experiencing serious downtime.
In this case, you want to quickly fix the problem with your diesel engine and fix it so you can get back up and running as soon as possible.
Common Diesel Engine Problems and Fixes
There are many different reasons why diesel engines have problems, and identifying the problem and resolving it quickly will reduce your downtime.
Some of the most common diesel engine problems you may encounter, and solutions to fix them to get you back on track sooner, include:
1. Faulty diesel injectors
The heart of your diesel engine is the fuel injection system. The system is necessary to pressurize and inject fuel into the compressed air of the combustion chamber. It atomizes the fuel and feeds it into the injectors, adjusting the amount and timing of the fuel.
Fuel injectors improve fuel efficiency, reduce the need for fuel system maintenance and reduce pollutants.
Your diesel fuel injection pump has an average life of 100,000 miles. The body and nozzles of the injector constitute a standard injector. If one of these two elements clogs or malfunctions, the functionality of the entire vehicle is compromised.
Your injectors are faulty if you notice any of the following symptoms in your diesel truck:
- You are having difficulty starting your car or experiencing a rough idle. If your diesel engine starts but won’t start unless you run it for a long time, your injectors are probably faulty.
- Your car misfires when you turn it on. There could be a lack of proper fuel injection or a fuel charge not igniting in one of the cylinders resulting in no combustion. A comprehensive diagnosis carried out by professionals will help identify the faulty combustion process.
- Fuel smell in the cabin. The smell of diesel in the cabin could indicate a leak. This shows an ugly injector that allows diesel to flow out of the nozzle.
- Dirty shows. Fuel combustion will be partial and uneven due to deposits in the injectors and blocked fuel filters, resulting in thick smoke emissions from your exhaust.
- Decreased fuel economy. Faulty injectors will burn more fuel, causing higher fuel burn and affecting your vehicle’s efficiency and performance.
If you notice any of the above issues with your car, be sure to take it to a professional to have it checked out immediately.
2. Problems with your engine oil
Since your car travels many miles, it is vulnerable to wear and tear. Engine oil is the lubricant that decreases wear when moving rooms and is the most prevalent problem associated with engine trouble.
Expect oil oxidation issues if your car or truck sits idle for an extended period of time or is stored between seasons.
Oil oxidation occurs when air enters the oil and forms bubbles, disrupting proper lubrication and resulting in a sluggish or damaged engine. Even if the oil is not technically impure, it should be changed after sitting too long.
Bad engine oil can also lead to hard starting and engine failure. If you use the wrong oil, air will gain access to the hydraulic system that assists the fuel injection pump, causing foaming that will lead to false fuel injection pressure.
Due to variations in humidity and other weather-related difficulties, it is essential to use the correct motor oil prescribed by the manufacturers for the different seasons of the year. You can use single-weight oil in the summer, but multi-weight oil will suffice in the winter to keep the engine running smoothly.
High oil levels usually indicate fluid leaks elsewhere in the engine. Your mechanic will find the source of the leak and make the necessary repairs. After that, the oil should be drained and replaced with proper quality diesel engine oil.
It’s also a good idea to swap out your oil filters. Low oil pressure can sometimes be caused by something as simple as clogged filters, so checking your pressure sensor is also essential.
3. Faulty glow plugs
A glow plug in a diesel engine is intended to help preheat and warm up the engine cylinders so that fuel combustion can take place efficiently. They are essential for warming up the engine cylinders during cold starts, which are notoriously difficult.
When glow plugs break or become damaged, it can affect vehicle performance and lead to engine failure.
When current is delivered to a glow plug, the electrode heats up and turns orange. If your glow plugs are faulty, you may experience the following issues with your car:
- Misfires in the engine or a drop in acceleration power. When your engine misfires, that’s usually the first clue that your glow plugs aren’t working properly. Faulty glow plugs will not provide the extra heat needed for diesel combustion, causing the engine to misfire. Misfires in the engine can cause loss of power, fuel mileage and acceleration.
- It is difficult to start. Unlike gasoline engines, which typically use a spark to ignite fuel, diesel engines typically use cylinder pressures to do so. If the glow plugs fail, the engine will have to work harder to ignite the fuel, which will cause hard starting.
- Smoke from the exhaust. Faulty glow plugs can impede the combustion process, causing engine smoke.
All diesel engines are equipped with glow plugs, which are essential for starting and running the engine. Have your diesel engine or car inspected by professionals if any of the symptoms listed above appear or if you are concerned that your glow plugs are malfunctioning.
The list above does not include anything that might go wrong with your diesel engine and cause you problems; it’s meant to give you an idea of what might be going on under the hood.
If you have any further questions or experience serious problems with your diesel engine, do not hesitate to contact your mechanic.