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Care of your Diesel- Filters and Injectors

Diesel is one of the least refined products that is created from a barrel of crude oil and therefore does not have a very long shelf-life. The sludge that forms coats the walls of the fuel tank, plug your fuel filters, adversely impact combustion efficiency, produce dark smoke from the exhaust, and impact performance. Maintaining clean fuel injectors and replacing fuel filters at the recommended intervals will help keep the engine running at peak power and performance, improves fuel mileage, and cuts down on harmful exhaust emissions.


Care of your Diesel- Filters and Injectors


Fuel contaminants such as dirt and water are often more problematic in diesel engines than in gasoline engines. Water can cause serious damage possibly leading to the corrosion of the fuel injectors and fuel pump; and dirt, even very fine particulate matter, can damage the injection pumps due to the close tolerances that the pumps and injectors are machined to. All diesel engines will have a fuel filter; new vehicles often will have two, and a water trap. The water trap often has a float connected to a warning light, which warns when there is too much water in the trap, and must be drained before damage to the engine can result. The fuel filter must be replaced much more often on a diesel engine than on a gasoline engine, changing the fuel filter every 2-4 oil changes is not an uncommon recommendation.

Problems can occur in diesel fuel injection systems even with a slight buildup of deposits. Diesel fuel injection services will break down these heavy deposits found in the fuel lines, injector pump, fuel injectors and combustion chambers. This can be done by one of three methods. The least effective method involves adding cleaner directly to the vehicle’s fuel tank. Second, the cleaning agent is pressurized and passed through the system. The last and most effective method for cleaning fuel injectors is to bring the vehicle to a mechanic. The mechanic will remove the fuel injectors, clean the injectors “off-car” with an injector cleaning machine, and, using the same machine, test the injectors to ensure that they’re functioning properly. Should defects be found in the injectors themselves, the mechanic can replace the injectors saving on labor costs down the road. In-fact as this method is already very labor intensive many mechanics will recommend replacing the injectors at this point anyhow because unlike gasoline injectors, diesel injectors can wear out.

As a side-note: Diesel models 2007 and newer are fitted with a diesel particulate filter in order to meet the required nitrogen oxide and particulate matter (soot) emissions standards. These filters are often self-cleaning and they can last at least 100,000 miles before they would need replacing. However, if you continually use diesel that has a high sulfur content, use engine oil that is not designed for 2007 or newer models, and fail to adhere to the manufacturers oil change schedule you not only risk the premature failure of the particulate filter but you could also void the vehicles warranty.

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