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Basic Diesel Engine Maintenance Checklist

Compare gas engine vs. diesel and you’ll find the latter tends to offer superior long term durability on Chicago roads, but you should still commit to basic diesel engine maintenance to avoid any potential problems in the future. Luckily, most new and used diesel trucks are designed to let you perform regular diesel maintenance tasks yourself.

Changing the Lubricating Oil

Lubricating oil keeps parts moving smoothly, draws away heat, and prevents carbon deposits developing. Check your owner’s manual for the proper type of engine oil, then check your dipstick every few weeks to make sure you aren’t running low. At set intervals, you’ll need to have all your engine oil replaced.

Changing the Air Filter

Air filter setups are mostly the same with diesels as they are with gas-powered vehicles. Once you pop the hood, you’ll find them located within the cold air collector box. Check your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals, then switch out air filters accordingly.

Changing the Fuel Filter

Diesel engines have two fuel filters. There’s a primary filter between the fuel tank and the engine and a secondary filter near the engine to provide a final cleaning. Both should be easy to change — you simply unscrew the old filter, moisten the new one’s gasket, then screw it into place. Just make sure you bleed air bubbles out of the fuel system to get a new supply of fuel circulating.

Bleeding the Fuel System

Air in the fuel can cause starting problems, and air can get in when you change the filters or run out of fuel. You’ll then need to bleed the engine by opening the fuel supply valve and using the manual fuel pump. Pump until you get clear fuel with no bubbles.

Draining the Water Separators

Diesel fuel gets contaminated with water more easily than gasoline, so diesel vehicles usually feature a water separator located on or near the fuel filter. They’re self-cleaning, but most need to be drained manually. Simply open the drain valve and empty the water from the collection chamber.
Power Stroke Diesel Engine

Visit Badger Truck & Auto Group in Milwaukee for Diesel Maintenance

Drivers from Madison, Green Bay, and beyond turn to our service center for diesel engine care tips. Schedule servicing today or feel free to contact us directly for further advice.


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