pouring oil into car

Cummins Care: 7 Tips for Diesel Maintenance

Diesel engines can deliver up to 30% better fuel economy compared to gas engines. But, are you enjoying this benefit from your Cummins diesel engine?

There are a few reasons you may not be getting great mileage with your vehicle. One reason for low engine performance is poor diesel maintenance.

We’ve gathered seven tips to help you keep your Cummins diesel engine running at peak performance.

Keep reading to learn more.

1. Add Additives  

There are two types of additives to include in your regular engine maintenance schedule:

Oil Additives 

Adding oil additives is essential to keep diesel engines in great shape. Due to the amount of heat diesel engines create, it’s important to keep the engine well-lubricated.

Oil additives lubricate the inside parts of your engine. This reduces friction and heat in the engine, which in turn reduces wear and tear.

Fuel Additives

No matter what type of diesel fuel you are using, it’s important to use fuel additives which help the injectors work at peak capacity.

Fuel additives also prevent the buildup of sludge in the engine along with other deposits, prolonging the life of the engine.

2. Warm Up Engine

There are a couple of ways to ensure you’re getting the maximum life and performance out of your induction system.

The most important way is to let the engine run for a few minutes after starting it up. Driving your car on a cold engine is just about the worst thing you could do to it.

Instead, allow enough time for the oil to reach all the nooks and crannies in the engine, including the turbocharger. Turbochargers play a critical role in making your diesel engine run more efficiently so make sure they have oil when you start driving.

Just five minutes is enough time to properly warm the engine before driving.

3. Change the Oil Frequently 

Another vital part of diesel maintenance is changing the oil.

The frequency will depend on:

  • How often you drive your vehicle
  • Driving conditions
  • The age of the vehicle
  • The condition of the engine
  • The type of oil being used
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Most manufacturers recommend an oil change after 4,000 hours if mineral oil is used and 8,000 hours if synthetic oil with synthetic oil.

Check your oil at least once a week. If the color and viscosity in the oil have changed, it might be time for an oil change.

4. Check the Coolant

As we mentioned before, diesel engines generate a lot of heat. Coolants prevent your car from overheating by cooling off your engine internally.

A special chemical component in coolants allows them to reduce the high temperatures. Make sure to use a good quality coolant recommended by the car’s manufacturer.

Avoid using water as a coolant. Water doesn’t disperse heat like coolants. Use water only if you are stuck in the middle of the road and it’s the only way to get your vehicle to the repair shop.

Constantly monitoring the coolant levels in your engine will protect it. If you run out, you may find yourself having to replace the whole engine, so don’t miss this maintenance step.

5. Change the Filters 

Changing the air and oil filter is another great way to keep your diesel engine at peak performance.

Air Filter 

Changing the air filter will prolong the life expectancy of your vehicle. Air filters help by trapping damaging dirt, debris, and small particles so they can’t damage the engine.

A dirty filter, on the other hand, won’t hold all these particles in place. This results in internal damage to parts such as cylinders and pistons.

Changing the air filter for a diesel engine car shouldn’t be a big deal. Most cars have them located near the top front or to the side of the engine by the throttle body.

Oil Filter 

The oil filter is another important part of your engine’s system operation. It helps by removing the grime and grit from the oil. 

As you can imagine, if you don’t change the oil filter regularly, this will translate to a damaging accumulation of grime and grit in your engine.

How often you should change this varies depending on who you ask. However, most experts will recommend changing the filter every 3,000 miles or every three months, whichever comes first. 

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6. Limit A/C Usage 

Limiting the use of air conditioning while driving will increase fuel efficiency and limit wear and tear on your engine.

Running the air can reduce fuel economy by one to four mpg, depending on the type of vehicle you are driving. When the engine has to work harder, it wears down faster.

This also translates into spending extra money. So, we recommend only using air conditioning when necessary. If the temperature outside is pleasant, just roll the windows down. 

Your engine works even harder to run the AC when your car is hot. Whenever possible, park your car in the shade or use a sun visor to keep it from getting too warm.

When you do use the AC, keep all the windows up. This can also keep it from working too hard and can help your engine stay in great shape.

7. Set Up a Maintenance Schedule

Setting up a maintenance schedule is another important way you can keep your diesel vehicle in tip-top shape. 

A maintenance schedule will help you will keep track of when you need to do things like checking the oil, changing a filter, or even having your tires rotated. Put reminders in your phone so you don’t forget.

Each type of diesel engine will require a different maintenance schedule. We recommend checking 6.7 Cummins programmer reviews to get a better idea of how to schedule maintenance on your vehicle.

Want to Learn More About Diesel Maintenance?

Now you have seven tips you can use to save some cash and keep your Cummins engine diesel running as smoothly as the day it rolled off the assembly line.

If you want to learn more about diesel maintenance or if you are looking for information about a certain car issue, check out our blog.

We have a ton of information to help you fix your car yourself, including one on how to improve diesel engine performance.