The relative lowering of diesel vehicles’ prices in recent years, following the energy difficulties and the arrival on the market of « small diesel » with characteristics comparable to those of equivalent gasoline models, leads us to tackle the maintenance of this type of engine and to remind you of the precautions of use to take in order to make the most of a Diesel-powered car; this point is just as important as the maintenance itself.
The use and driving of a diesel-powered car
Starting a diesel engine differs from that of a gasoline-powered vehicle. When the engine is cold, you must turn the ignition key to the « preheat » position, and maintain this position until the preheating indicator goes out. The wait is approximately 25 to 60 seconds, depending on the ambient temperature and the type of preheating used. As soon as the warning light goes out, you can turn the key to the start position by depressing the accelerator pedal until the engine starts. Release the key.
Once the engine has started, let it run for a while, without packing it. If it freezes, you will facilitate starting by disengaging (gear lever in neutral). If the engine is hot, you can start without delay. If the engine does not start, repeat the operation using preheating. In both cases (cold engine and warm engine), do not start immediately while packing the engine.
Maintenance of a diesel engine
We will only mention in this chapter maintenance operations that differ from those of a gasoline car. It would be useless to go back to verify the levels (coolant, battery electrolyte level, brake fluid, etc.) that are similar to the two types of engine in all respects. Consult the manual for the oil changes and filter replacement frequencies, as well as the lubricant recommended by the manufacturer. These frequencies differ from those of a gasoline vehicle. At present, the oil change occurs every 5,000 km (from the second oil change), and not every 7,500 km, as is usually the case for a gasoline engine. Not so long ago, the periodicity of a diesel car was 2,500 km. As for the filter cartridge, it must be replaced every 5,000 or 10,000 km, depending on the manufacturer. Every 5,000 or 10,000 km (as advised by the manufacturer), clean the air filter. The work steps for a Citroën CX Diesel, for instance, are as follows: to remove the cartridge, remove three thumb screws, and remove the cover and cartridge after removing the nut on the wheel well. Clean the cartridge with gasoline, without soaking it, so as not to damage the seal. The cartridge should then be oiled with engine oil, drained, and replaced in the filter.
For further maintenance guides read the rest of our articles where we offer all the details you need to take care of your car engine!