Looking to invest in a diesel vehicle? They’re great caravanning companions as they often pack sufficient grunt to accelerate under load. But if you’ve never owned one before, it’s important to understand they require specific care.
Fuel efficiency and emissions control add complexity to these high-pressure systems. Thankfully, a few useful habits and some considered modifications will help keep your tow tug ticking on your Aussie adventures.
SERVICING AND DIESEL ENGINE CARE
Modern common-rail diesel engines comprise increasingly sophisticated systems that operate under pressure.
Therefore, you can expect a tighter service schedule compared to a petrol equivalent.
Opting for a manufacturer’s preferred oils and lubricants will help keep these high-performing engines in tip top shape. And if you don’t already have one, find yourself a good diesel mechanic who’s familiar with towing.
HIT THE HIGHWAY, UNHITCHED!
Over time, stop-start driving (exclusively) can affect the emissions filter fitted to your diesel’s exhaust system. That’s because these Diesel Particulate Filters require heat from sustained driving to ‘passively’ self clean.
Many modern diesels mimic driving conditions to bring on this process if they sense excessive residue where safe. Low fuel, low oil, slow speeds and towing, however, can prevent these ‘active’ cleaning processes from happening.
Packing a picnic once a month for a half hour cruise at speed should help depending on your daily driving habits. But refer to your vehicle’s driver manual first for specific advice.
FIT AN EXTRA FUEL FILTER KIT
Engines hate water, common-rail diesels especially. It simply hasn’t the viscosity to move through engine components, and can cause pistons to jam.
All vehicles are fitted with fuel filters to trap water and contaminants, but fitting an extra fuel filter kit designed for modern diesels add an extra line of defence against contaminated fuel.
Fuel additives can also help prevent organic contaminants flourishing in your tank. Chat with your local diesel mechanic for advice.
CONSIDER A SNORKEL FOR YOUR DIESEL VEHICLE
Do you plan to head off road? Fitting a snorkel is a good idea especially if you’re rocking a diesel. This handy aftermarket modification optimises air intake and helps protect diesel engines in two ways. Firstly, they minimise dust ingress and, secondly, prevent water entering the engine in a water crossing.
Like any component that forms part of an air-intake system, you’ll need periodically check that its clear of debris, especially after travelling through dusty conditions.