Common Problems with Diesel Trucks 101

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Diesel trucks are a great investment, as they are reliable, sturdy and cost-effective to run and maintain. With that being said, there are some common problems that people find that can affect their engines, potentially putting the whole truck at risk. This guide will look at some of the most common problems, so you can be aware of them well ahead of time and look for signs that your diesel truck may be in need of some TLC.

This post originated on Diesel Performance Specialist.

Oxidized Oil

If you do not use your diesel truck frequently and end it ends up sitting in one place for prolonged periods of time, your oil is likely to oxidize. Oil oxidization occurs when air permeates into the oil, which in effect develops pockets of air in the oil. These pockets of air can have a major impact on your engine, as the oil will not lubricate properly. If your diesel truck has been sat for some time, be sure to change the oil before use to prevent any irreversible damage to your engine. If you live in a highly humid area or somewhere that experiences a lot of rain, you will also need to be mindful of your oil as water helps speed up the oxidization process. Again, changing your oil frequently will help maintain your engine. You will sometimes notice that a diesel truck that has been sat too long or has experienced too much precipitation or humidity may make knocking noises as you run it. Diesel trucks are typically much more loud than traditional vehicles, but that knocking or ‘thunking’ sound you hear means you need to get your vehicle checked out ASAP!  

Hard Starting

While it is normal that you may have to add some power to your crank to get your truck running, if you begin to notice that you really have trouble getting your diesel truck started, it could be an issue related to low compression or the delivery of fuel mechanism. One of the biggest causes of hard starting is an incorrect viscosity weigh when oil is added to assist with lubrication. Do bear in mind that the viscosity weight of diesel is much higher than that of gasoline, therefore replacing oil in a diesel truck requires a bit more consideration.

Black Exhaust

You will find that diesel trucks are notoriously known for spewing out smelly, black exhaust smoke, and while it is true, they produce more smoke than cars and other vehicles that run on gasoline, smelly, black exhaust is a sure-fire indicator of a problem. The root cause of this is an imbalance that occurs between air and fuel. Unlike oxidization, in which there is too much air, black exhaust occurs where there is too little. There are a few components of your truck that may be the cause of this, such as a faulty injector, EGR valve, injector pump or the air filter.

Defective Components

Those who live in very cold areas will notice that they struggle more with their diesel trucks as the cold can affect the glow plugs which power the fuel and air through heating elements like coils. If you are finding you cannot start your truck when it is very cold, it could be due to a glow plug that has burnt up and won’t ignite the fuel and air mixture any longer.

Another common component that can cause bigger problems if it is defective is the lead-acid storage battery; this battery aids in the starting of the truck, so if it is not working or begins experiencing issues, you will also notice your truck is hard and sometimes impossible to start. Time to get it checked out!

A really important thing to remember when it comes to diesel trucks is that diesel can easily become contaminated and highly dangerous for your engine. A sign that you may have used contaminated diesel is when your truck begins to backfire or misfire.

Regularly maintaining and servicing your diesel truck will help ensure these problems are less likely to occur or catch them in their early stages to prevent major damage. Not only do we offer a wide range of services, but we can change your diesel oil for just $99, which includes up to 12 quarts of oil and a 45-point courtesy check on most trucks. Contact us for more information!

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