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Basic Maintenance on Diesel Cars

Updated on April 20, 2012
The electronics to a VW DSG tranny
The electronics to a VW DSG tranny
1.9L diesel engine
1.9L diesel engine

This hub is mostly for car owners of German diesel cars, since they are the main ones which have diesel cars on the market place.

There are lots of basic things a car owner should do as preventive maintenance and most owners know them, they really do not know the "why". Your diesel car needs to have their fuel filters changes more frequently than gas engines because the diesel fuel is sprayed at 1500 psi through a pin sized fuel injector. Diesel is dirtier fuel than gas and it can erode the ends of the injectors creating as small hole only a few thousandths of an inch deep. Bad gas could easily clog it. If your car shakes and starts hard, it could be this. It is far easier to replace your fuel filter and cheaper than a fuel injector because 15 fuel filters = the cost of one injector.

The simplest DIY changes is the air filter. Owners tend to minimize their importance, but think of it this way: Your car drinks a quart of air per cylinder per revolution or 2500 gallons a minute at 5200 rpm. If the air going in is not cleaned and allows .000001% dirt in, that is a cup of dirt in your engine. That dirt gets into your piston rings and cylinder walls that wear down. When it gets bad enough, your engine compression fails and the car limps or stops. Change them as often as you change the oil.

Of course, m ore major preventive maintenance is the timing belt. If it breaks, you are SOL. Stranded with major engine damage because diesel engines are interference engines, meaning, no tolerance. You will suffer bent valves, maybe piston damage, engine head damage. It may be cheaper to replace the engine than fix it. If you change the belt every 60,000 miles, you will not have to worry. If you wait until the recommended 90,000 miles, this could break between 75-90,000. Don't just change the belt, change the water pump, tensioners also. The tensioner is important. If the bearing fails, the tension is bad and may allow the engine to slip out of time creating damage with a thump noise.

For 2006+ models, use Stanadyne fuel conditioner to give the low sulfur diesel fuel more lubricant. The low sulfur diesel is good for the environment, but bad on your car's fuel injectors because of the low lubrication.

Diesel is a dirty fuel and your injectors can become clogged. You know this when starting is difficult, loss of power, poor gas mileage, excessive smoking. The best way to clean them is to buy Diesel Purge and follow the directions. Within 15 minutes, your injectors will be unclogged. If the symptoms continue, you at least know it is not because of the injectors.


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