How Often Should I Service My Diesel Truck?
If you are new to diesel vehicles, you are probably wondering whether or not they have different service requirements than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Due to the substantial differences in the way diesel engines operate, you will not only need to service your truck at different intervals but different components as well.
If this sounds complicated, don’t worry. We are going to go over everything you need to know about diesel truck maintenance so you can keep your truck running reliably for years to come.
How is Diesel Different?
The biggest difference between gasoline and diesel engines is how combustion occurs. Gasoline engines utilize a spark plug to touch off the mixture of air and fuel compressed in the cylinder. Diesel engines do not have spark plugs, instead relying on high compression to ignite the air/fuel mixture.
Diesel engine operation is a dirty business. Diesel exhaust contains lots of particulates and soot, and modern diesel engines use complex emissions control systems to reduce the number of harmful pollutants exiting the tailpipe. The emissions control systems are exposed to a lot of deposits and high temperatures and will run into problems if they are not properly cared for.
Diesel Maintenance Checklist
Outside of oil changes, your diesel truck requires service/maintenance at least once a year or every 10,000 miles.
When compared to gasoline engines, diesel engines typically have a longer oil change interval. With that said, it depends on how you use your truck and its age. Modern diesel trucks can go as long as 10,000 miles or one year between changes under regular, light-duty use.
Older trucks and vehicles that are used for heavy towing or idle for extended periods require much more frequent oil changes, ranging from every 3000 to 5000 miles.
Other factors that impact oil change intervals are the type of oil you use and the climate your truck is operating in.
Changing the engine air filter is usually required every 10,000 or so miles, but if you operate your truck in a very dusty environment, changing it more often is beneficial. A dirty or clogged air filter can prevent the engine from getting the fresh air it needs and can result in reduced power output.
Change or Replace Other Fluids
Oil isn’t the only essential fluid. Be sure to have your coolant, transmission fluid, and brake fluid changed on your truck. This is especially important if you tow heavy loads. Your brakes and transmission will be working extra hard.
When compared to gasoline, diesel fuel is filthy. It requires substantial filtration before entering the engine, and as a result, the fuel filters do not last nearly as long as they do on gasoline engines. A gas-powered truck may need to have its fuel filter changed every 100,000 miles or more. Diesel engines on the other hand need to have the fuel filter changed every 10,000-15,000 miles.
Signs It’s Time for Service
The goal of regular maintenance is to prevent issues, and you should never wait until a problem comes up to get your diesel truck serviced. However, there may be times when you notice a change in how your truck is running before you bring it in. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s time to bring your truck in for service ASAP. Many of these symptoms can be traced back to a lack of regular maintenance.
- Sluggish acceleration or responsiveness
- Low on power
- Stalling or rough running
- New smells or sounds
- Smoke coming from the tailpipe
How Often Do I Need to Service My Diesel?
As you can see, diesel engines require different and more frequent services than gasoline motors. A big factor in determining how often you need to service your truck is how you use it. Like we said before, trucks that are used for hauling heavy loads, idle frequently, drive long distances, or operate in dusty climates will require much more frequent service.
As a rule, a diesel truck should never go more than one year or 10,000 miles without service. Heavy-use vehicles should be serviced more often, between 3000 and 7500 miles. If you are unsure, speak with your service advisor about the needs of your truck.
Diesel Service at Borst Automotive
With locations in Tucson, Mesa, and Phoenix, Borst Automotive is your destination for diesel service or repair. Our expert technicians have the skill and experience to keep your truck running as it should. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!