7 Tips To Reduce Downtime and Extend Life Of New Zealand Diesel Vehicles And Equipment
Heavy and light diesel internal combustion engines continue to be used for a broad range of vehicles and equipment, be it vehicles to transport goods or people or construction and agricultural equipment. With improved technology, emission standards, torque, horsepower, fuel economy and efficiency considerations, diesel engines have become more complex. Needless to say, maintenance is now even more important for New Zealand businesses and diesel vehicle and equipment owners.
Below are few of our tips to extend the life and reliability of your diesel vehicle and equipment:
- Implement and log a maintenance schedule
Most businesses keep a track of repairs, manufacturer prescribed servicing at the workshop and most oil changes. However preventive maintenance performed by the driver / user is typically not recorded for vehicles and equipment. Maintaining such a log can be invaluable to extending lifespan and improving fuel efficiency. It also contributes to the vehicle or equipment’s resale value.
Preventive maintenance includes inspection of body, cabin, tyres, wheels, engine, pneumatics, brakes, oils, filters, etc including regular tune-ups and oil change. Drivers can contribute to the vehicle maintenance by checking and filling fluids, engine cleaning, checking and replacing filters, monitoring the exhaust, tyre pressure check and more.
- Clean the engine.
Heavy diesel vehicles tend to be used across long distances or in tough conditions with a higher propensity for dust and dirt to collect on the engine. It is important to regularly remove the dirt from the engine to get the best performance and life from the engine. It is handy to have a toothbrush, sponge and degreaser to clean the engine. If you are unsure on which parts to cover before using a wet sponge or the degreaser, it is best to use only the toothbrush to remove the dirt trapped under the hood and in the grill.
It is a good practice to check the tyre pressure when fuelling up the vehicle. Simultaneously the tyres should be checked for embedded stones or small objects and to ensure the tyre is good to continue driving with. The tyre tread should also be checked on a regular basis.
If your vehicle has tracks, it is equally important to keep them clean.
- Air filters
As diesel engines takes in more air than a petrol engine does, it requires the air filter to remove more dust and dirt from the air before it enters the engine. This is particularly true for work sites. Compared to a clean filter, a dirty air filter can lead the engine to use more fuel to get the required power and acceleration. Hence, it is important to check the air filter often.
- Cooling system
An overheated diesel engine is a bad situation to be in and hence it is important to check and replace the coolant and coolant filter periodically. Most heavy diesel engines use a wet-sleeve design whereby the coolant come into direct contact with the cast iron liners surrounding the cylinders in which the pistons operate. The combustion process causes the liners to vibrate vigorously and prone to damage if the right type of coolant is not in use.
- Fill up the tank
It’s something we all know……best not to wait till the tank is almost empty to fill up the tank. The reason is not just to avoid the risk of running out of fuel, but also to prevent condensation from building up inside the engine, which can potentially damage the fuel injection system. The ideal situation is to not let the fuel level fall below the half-empty mark.
- Choose a reliable heavy diesel workshop
It is important to choose a reliable and experienced heavy diesel mechanic shop to work with. They should not only have experienced and qualified staff, but also have a machine shop with specialist tools for the repair or maintenance job you need.