Getting To Grips With Essential Car Maintenance
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Getting To Grips With Essential Car Maintenance

When I got my first car twenty years ago, I was clueless when it came to maintaining it and keeping it in a roadworthy condition. As a result, I had to pay for costly repairs that could have been avoided if the car had been looked after better. I learned my lesson and started reading everything I could about basic car maintenance. I started this blog to share what I've learned in the hopes it will save other new drivers making costly mistakes. I blog about a variety of topics, such as troubleshooting uneven tyre wear, the benefits of regular servicing and maintaining your car during the winter months. I hope you find my blog useful.


Getting To Grips With Essential Car Maintenance

Winterising Your Car's Diesel Engine: Some Common Diesel Engine Issues and How to Overcome Them

Reginald Fox

One of the biggest decisions you will need to make when purchasing a car is whether you should go for a vehicle with a gasoline or diesel engine. While the engine's general makeup is virtually the same for both car diesels and gasolines, cars with diesel engines generally attract higher prices than gasolines. This is because car diesels are generally cheaper to use over the long term. But before you can rush to buy a diesel car, you should first get acquainted with some challenges you may encounter when using the car. Here is a look at some issues many diesel car owners encounter during winter and how they can be kept in check to ensure maximum service from a diesel car.

Diesel fuel contamination

During harsh winters, several diesel car owners complain about problems with water content in diesel fuel, and this usually results in repairs costing up to lots of dollars. So what's the story behind it all? The fuel properties of diesel fuel are very much different from those of petrol. Diesel fuel is generally less refined, and this makes it denser, less volatile and more viscous than gasoline. These physical properties usually result in it being called 'diesel oil'. In extremely cold weather, diesel fuel can start to freeze up slightly. This situation can be further exacerbated by the fact that diesel can trap small amounts of water that may also freeze. Any freezing can clog fuel lines and injectors and prevent the proper flow of air and fuel. This, in turn, hampers the proper functioning of the engine. To help minimise the problem with water content in the diesel tank, you can use manufacturer-recommended winter additives in the fuel tank.

Difficulty starting a diesel

Like with gasoline engines, diesel engines are started by the turning of an electric starter motor, which starts the compression-ignition cycle. However, starting diesel engines in extremely low winter temperatures can be a stressful affair because the compressed air might not easily achieve the temperatures needed to ignite the fuel. If you are sure that the problem is not with your battery, turn off all accessories such as radios and air conditioners that may be using up much-needed electrical energy. Also, install glow plugs fitted on the engine for harsh winter starts. These small electric heaters will heat up the internal combustion chamber to achieve the temperatures needed for combustion to occur.