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  • Writer's picturejianmei huang

Diesel Engine Maintenance: Essential Tips for Optimal Performance

Updated: Feb 29

What is the maintenance of a diesel car?

What do these types of engines need to keep up?

What parts and components should you pay special attention to?

You have a lot of questions about the maintenance of diesel engines.

Here is the comprehensive guide that you need.

A diesel car stands out mainly for its low consumption, its low operating costs, and its reliability when it comes to accumulating kilometers. However, they are also known for requiring somewhat more exhaustive maintenance given the increasing complexity of their mechanics.


However, to travel the greatest possible mileage with your diesel vehicle, you must consider a series of elements that are key in the maintenance of a diesel car. We show you everything you need to know to keep a diesel engine up to date.

Maintenance of a diesel car


We start with the basics: the oil and the oil filter. These elements are essential for any combustion engine, so you must make the changes always respecting the time intervals and kilometers recommended by the manufacturer. Use brand-approved oils.

Air Filter

Its replacement is almost as important as the oil and its corresponding filter. This component is responsible for cleaning the air that reaches the interior of the engine of impurities, allowing it to 'breathe' better.  It's not just about removing impurities from the air; it's about ensuring that only clean, debris-free air enters the engine. It's advisable to inspect the air filter at regular intervals.


Engine Peripherals

Glow plugs or heaters are also an important part of diesel car maintenance. These glow plugs are responsible for heating the combustion chamber, and facilitating cold starting. They heat the combustion chamber, compensating for the absence of a spark plug in diesel engines. This heating is crucial for the initial ignition process.  However, over time, these plugs can wear out or become less effective


Diesel engines run on compression, so there is no spark to make starting easier. Once the engine starts, the exhaust gases recirculate through the system and pass through the EGR valve, a part that requires certain maintenance to prevent carbon buildup.


Regular checks and timely replacements ensure that your engine starts efficiently, even in cold weather.



It is another of the important parts that must be checked and taken care of in a diesel car. It is responsible for generating that extra power and torque that characterizes this type of engine.  However, it's sensitive to abrupt temperature changes. After a long drive, it's advisable to let the engine idle for a short period before shutting it off. This cooldown period helps prevent the turbocharger from overheating and oil coking, which can lead to damage. It is advisable to let the temperature drop, so you should not stop the engine suddenly.



The flowmeter, responsible for measuring the volume of air entering the engine, is crucial for ensuring the correct air-to-fuel ratio. A malfunctioning flowmeter can lead to various problems, including excessive smoke emission, rough idling, and a noticeable drop in power. It is important to keep it in good condition and check it periodically to detect any anomalies, such as excessive smoke, rough idling, or lack of power.


Belt and Water Pump

You also can't overlook the timing belt and water pump. They are basic components of the operation of any internal combustion engine, including diesel engines. Also, pay special attention to the accessory strap.


The timing belt is responsible for synchronizing the camshaft and valves with the movement of the pistons, while the water pump is essential for cooling the engine. Lastly, the accessory belt powers components such as the alternator to recharge the battery.

Don't overlook

Other essential elements in the maintenance of a diesel car are the brakes (pads, discs, and fluid), and the cooling system.

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In summary, each component of a diesel engine plays a vital role in its overall performance and efficiency. Regular maintenance of the air filter, glow plugs, turbocharger, and flowmeter, along with attention to the EGR valve and other engine peripherals, is essential. By dedicating time to these key aspects, you can ensure that your diesel engine runs smoothly, efficiently, and reliably for years to come.


What are the key maintenance tasks for a diesel engine? 

Essential maintenance for a diesel engine includes changing the oil and filter, replacing the air filter, maintaining glow plugs and the turbocharger, checking the flowmeter, and monitoring the timing belt and water pump.


Why should a diesel engine idle after a long drive?

Idling after a long drive allows the turbocharger to cool down gradually, preventing damage from overheating and oil coking.


What does a flow meter do, and how do you know if it's faulty?

The flow meter measures air entering the engine to ensure a proper air-to-fuel ratio. Signs of a faulty flow meter include excessive smoke, rough idling, and reduced power.

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