Diesel engines are often found on heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles because they're stronger and can pull more weight than standard petrol engines. However, diesel engines today are being used more and more often for a variety of vehicles, including lightweight sedans. If you're in the market for a new car or truck, and need to decide between a diesel or standard petrol engine, note a few questions you might have about diesels, and this can help you decide the best option for you.
Other than towing capacity, what are the advantages of diesel engines?
Diesel engines convert heat into power, so they require less fuel overall. You can then save quite a bit on your fuel consumption costs by switching to diesel. Diesel engines also produce less pollution than standard petrol engines; many people assume the opposite is true, since heavy-duty trucks may have exhaust pipes that produce a dark black smoke. However, that smoke is a combination of carbon and soot, which is why it's dark; overall, the pollution created and released by diesel engines is far less than standard petrol engines.
Do diesel engines fail in cold weather?
Diesel engines need heat to start and run, but this doesn't necessarily mean they will be harder to start in cold weather. Diesel engines are usually outfitted with what is called a glow plug, which produces heat. This small bit of heat is enough to allow the engine to turn over in cold weather. You may be advised to let the engine run and warm up for a few minutes longer than you would with a standard petrol engine, but this is usually the only difference between a diesel engine and a standard petrol engine when it comes to cold weather.
Do diesel engines need more maintenance?
Some vehicle owners mistakenly think that diesel engines need more maintenance than standard petrol engines, but any vehicle that is towing a heavy load needs more maintenance overall. That added weight puts more wear and tear on the engine, transmission, brakes, and other systems under the hood.
A diesel engine will need regular oil changes to ensure the oil is cooling the engine as it should, and because engine oil may break down under that added heat more quickly. Otherwise, a diesel engine may actually be more durable than a standard petrol engine, since it's actually built to manage those heavier vehicle and towing weights.