Regular maintenance is essential to ensuring the longevity of your diesel engine. If you have a diesel vehicle that you often use for transporting loads, then there are a few maintenance tips you can be following to ensure your vehicle remains effective. The typical maintenance tasks include changing the diesel oil, inspecting the filters, checking the engine’s coolant, draining the water separators, and taking care of your turbocharger.
Diesel Oil Changes
As diesel engines are high heat running motors, diesel oil changes are critical. By checking and changing the oil, the engines will continue to work efficiently and smoothly. If the oil is not replaced it will block the heat transfer and hamper the oil’s cooling function. Oil changes are recommended every 6 months or 10,000 km. However, if you use your vehicle for hard-driving and towing then it becomes necessary to change oil more frequently.
Inspect your Filters
Inspecting and replacing diesel fuel filters is crucial to the welfare of your vehicle. It is usually located within the engine bay. With today’s diesel fuels the filters need to be changed at certain intervals. It should be a priority to change the oil filter each time the oil is changed.
The air filter is one of the areas of a car that can accumulate the most dirt due to the engine. If you don’t keep it in good condition, you run the risk of poor performance and it increases your fuel consumption. Air filters need to be changed every 10,000 km to 15,000 km or every 12 to 18 months (depending on conditions).
Check Your Engine’s Coolant
Engine coolant maintenance is equally as important as an oil change, and more than 40% of diesel engine maintenance problems can be attributed to engine coolant negligence. An engine’s cooling system runs off coolant, which is a mixture of water and coolant additive. However, the coolant can often become acidic over time and can cause major problems. It is important to replace the coolant filter and top off the cooling system at every oil change, test the coolant twice a year, and replace the coolant every two years. Plus, make sure the coolant you are running in your engine meets the original equipment’s manufacturer specifications.
Draining the Water Separators
One of the important reasons to drain water and dirt from a diesel engine is that diesel fuel becomes contaminated easier than gasoline. This can cause corrosion in the fuel delivery system. To avoid this, many diesel cars install a water separator. This small filtering device is used to remove the water from the diesel fuel before it reaches the sensitive parts of the engine.
Save your Turbocharger from Failing
A lot of things happen in a matter of seconds when you turn on your car, and one of the most crucial ones is the flow of oil coming from the oil pump to the turbocharger. You should always allow your vehicle to start up and idle for a few minutes before departure. In this way, the engine oil has time to reach the turbocharger. So, the worst thing you could do to a cold engine is mashing the accelerator as soon as you start your car.
Today’s cars are constantly changing. Computers are slowly taking over while we just sit back and enjoy the ride. They are completely unrecognisable from cars just 15 years ago and have completely changed the industry and what it takes to look after them. But we haven’t stopped yet, cars will undoubtedly become autonomous in the not-too-distant future, rewriting the rule book all over again.
Computers in cars today
While they may not be driving us around, computers are already very much a part of our driving today. We may see the satnav, the parking sensors and the TVs in the back of the headrests for the kids but the real stuff is happening under the hood. Modern cars utilise what is known as an Engine Control Module (ECM) which is an electrical system that manages the main functions of the engine. The ECM is in charge of injecting the right amount of fuel to the pistons, cooling the engine to the right temperature and the right voltage, just to name a few features.
How is it changing the skills of repairers?
Because computers are an integral part of today’s engines, you cannot just simply be a mechanic anymore. Today, engine technicians must be trained to understand how computer systems like ECMs are programmed and how to re-code them. They must also know how to run diagnostic checks and diagnose issues regarding the entire electronic network that runs throughout the car, otherwise you will just have a very expensive driveway ornament.
Cars of the future
It’s no secret that the plan for the cars of the future will be to have self-driving capabilities. PwC predicts that by 2030, 15% of cars sold will be self-driving. But what will happen to those in the automotive industry? For one, without humans who are prone to making poor decisions and damaging the car, behind the wheel, there will be less accidents. Repairers such as panel beaters could face a huge loss in business as a result. However with any new technology, there are always new opportunities. The cars will still breakdown and someone will still need to fix them. New jobs markets will open requiring people with that knowledge. Also, until fully electrical engines are viable, engines will still have issues and still need modifications.
Technology is rapidly changing the automotive industry as we know it. It’s important we keep on top of the changes so that we don’t get left behind.