Whenever there is a comparison between diesel and petrol powertrains, it’s said that diesel is more economical as well as fuel efficient. However, in order to avail these benefits, one is required to maintain his/her diesel motor on a regular basis. If you don’t maintain your automobile, its components will wear away and eventually the performance will be affected.

In order to keep things going on in an efficient manner you are required to keep a check on your vehicle and make sure that it gets serviced at regular intervals. Realising the importance of this issue, we are here with some noteworthy diesel engine maintenance tips that will help you in availing the long term benefits of your diesel engine that will in turn increase the life span of your automobile.

Diesel Engine Maintenance Tips

Since this subject of diesel engine maintenance tips is quiet technical, we’d begin with the explanation of some basic terms associated with engines so that it’s easy for a layman to understand the topic properly. Let’s start with defining the diesel engine and some common terms related to it.

What is a Diesel Engine?

Cars with diesel engines have a systematic arrangement where the fuel injected in the combustion chamber is ignited by using the high temperature of a highly compressed gas.

It is also popular with the name compression engine or CI engine. These engines are usually fitted into heavy vehicles and are more powerful as compared to the other categories.

Diesel Engine

In India, people prefer diesel cars over petrol as the former is believed to offer value for money.

Basics of Engine Maintenance

Just like our body needs regular check-ups for ensuring the well being of our health, our car also needs a periodic monitoring. Though most of the things are to be handled by mechanics who have a proper know-how of automobiles, there are certain tasks that can be handled by individuals on a personal level.

Checking the Fluid Level

One can always check the fluid level of hi/her car as it’s really simple thing to do. As soon as you open the hood of the car, various reservoirs are there with markings on their caps. These reservoirs are filled with different fluids like coolant levels, water levels, screen wash levels, transmission fluid and other kinds of fluids. You just need to dip down your stick in each of them and make sure that all these are filled to the maximum level. Maintaining a calendar can be very useful in planning the tasks accordingly so that it can save up the last minute hassle.

Cooling System

Since diesel engines generate more heat as compared to other motors, it is very necessary to maintain the cooling system of your car. Don’t allow your diesel car to get over heated because if you do, and if there isn’t much coolant fluids or sufficient water for backup, your engine may get damaged.


Gaskets are sealing between two surfaces that are aimed at preventing any kind of leakage. There is a head gasket in the engine compartment that is located between the engine block and the cylinder head. It works upon sealing the cylinders, thereby ensuring maximum compression as well as avoiding the leakage of coolant as well as engine oil. You are required to tighten the bolts regularly and in case you notice that a gasket is leaking, you should replace it immediately. Once the gasket becomes weak, it gradually loses its hold and hence the overall performance of the vehicle is affected.

Glow Plugs

Petrol engines utilise several electrical components, ignition, and spark plugs to get started. On the pother hand, diesel engines are devoid of such parts and solely rely on glow plugs, which need to be maintained. In places with extremely cold weather, the cylinder block and head may absorb heat, thereby preventing ignition. In such a case, a glow plug is used that has a heating element at the tip, which heats up upon being electrified. Hence, it forms an essential part of diesel powertrain and requires to be maintained for the proper functioning of the car.

Maintenance Tips

  • Before unscrewing any bolts, plugs or nuts just make sure that the engine is completely supported.

  • In order to prevent accidents and maintain the performance of the engine, make sure that the fluids get sufficient time to cool down before they are drained.

  • There is an audible and visual warning system on the dash panel which will alert you regarding any engine damage before hand.

  • Each and every time you fill up the diesel tank, you can add a bottle of diesel treatment to the tank so as to ensure that the diesel doesn’t get mixed with impurities.

  • As mentioned above, diesel engine cars need regular monitoring and hence to ensure their longevity, you don’t only have to change the oil, but also keep replacing the air filters.

  • Be careful while selecting the oil filter because when the fuel doesn’t burn completely, it leads to the creation of sulphur residue and carbon. Choosing a good filter will eliminate the possibility of corrosive particles from the oil.

  • As gaskets work under harsh conditions for preventing any kind of leakage, and hence they require regular monitoring. One should keep a check on all the mounting bolts so that there isn’t any leakage that further leads to many other complications in the system.

  • In order to avoid the probability of a hazardous situation, make sure that you are not working on the engine while it’s running.

  • Since glow plugs form a crucial part of diesel engines, they also need to be inspected on a regular basis. Especially when you are living in a place with extremely cold whether, if there is any defect in this part, you may not be able to get your car started at all.

  • While you are working upon an engine, make sure that the tools are not kept on top of the battery as this could lead to short circuit as well as an explosion is also possible.

  • One must keep the gearbox in neutral. Don’t start the engine until and unless the handbrake is applied and the load has been removed.

  • It’s often seen that some drivers keep the engine running for a long time, particularly in winter so as to keep the car warm. However, this causes insufficient lubrication to the piston wall, which in turn leads to piston scoring. So it’s better to shut down the engine and plug it into a coolant heater.

Additional Tips to Maintain a Diesel Car

  • Make sure that your car is serviced as per the schedule, especially when it has become old.

  • Always ensure that your tank is filled with at least 10 litres of fuel on a continual basis. This will help in preventing the inside portions of the tank from rust.

  • If you don’t wish to drive your car for more than 5 days then you must disconnect the battery leads.

  • Always keep some deterrent in the form of caffeine powder or tobacco under the bonnet. This will keep the rats away from your vehicle.

  • Whenever you start the car, first reverse it a little bit. This ensures proper pumping of fuel and oil within the engine.

  • If your car is equipped with a 4WD setup, make sure that the 4WD mechanism is engaged by driving a little more rather than in a straight line.

  • In case you are not one of those people who drive their cars regularly, you should drive around at regular intervals for short distances. Don’t let the car stay in the garage for a long time.

  • Pumping the brakes and giving a superb turn to the steering wheel helps in circulation of the oil throughout the hydraulic pumps.

Advantages of Having a Diesel Engine over Other Fuels

Time and again we have stated that diesel engines are much superior than other categories of fuels.


If you are still not convinced and want some more valid reasons to opt for a diesel vehicle, mentioned below are some pointers, which might be helpful to you:

Fuel Efficiency

Most of the diesel engines are believed to be 30% more fuel efficient as compared to the gas engines. For example, the older versions of diesel powered Volkswagen cars deliver around 45-50 miles per gallon, but the latest TDI models have the efficiency to cross 60 mpg.


When compared to other fuel types, diesel engines are far more reliable. The life of a diesel engine can last upto 300-400k miles.


The diesel powered vehicles emit less amount of carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons than those cars fitted with gas engines under the hood.

Electrical Ignition

Unlike a gasoline powertrain, the diesel vehicles do not require any electrical parts like plugs, wires, distributor rotor that are prone to wear and tear with time. So, with a diesel car, you don’t have to worry about replacing these components regularly in order to maintain the performance of the automobile.

Final Words

So, these were some noteworthy pointers regarding diesel engine maintenance tips along with the explanation of all the basic terms that have to be kept in mind while maintaining the engine of an automobile so as to ensure a long life of your vehicle. Even though diesel engines are said to be more efficient than the rest of the categories, one can’t simply deny the fact that a regular monitoring at certain intervals is immensely significant for ensuring that the advantageous features of a diesel engine can be utilised.

We hope that these diesel engine maintenance tips were informative enough for you so as to get an idea about the whole concept. If you have any suggestions or feedback, don’t forget to add your valuable comments below.