A significant number of Australian drivers decided to make the move from petrol to diesel some years ago with the aim of saving money on an annual basis. Many people feel that these diesel-engined vehicles are more efficient, even if there is not much difference between the cost of the alternative fuels at the pump any more. Yet those who are not used to the way diesel-engined vehicles run may be unaware of a particular component that could end up costing them a lot of money in certain circumstances if they're not careful. What do they need to understand about diesel service?
Filtering out the Soot
A diesel engine is very different to its petrol counterpart and in particular in the way that it generates power. This is because the combustion process of the diesel motor generates harmful particles that in the old days would simply be transmitted into the atmosphere. Environmentalists and engineers have designed a component to stop this happening and the so-called diesel particulate filter is fitted within the exhaust system of all diesel cars these days.
This filter is designed to capture the soot that is generated during combustion and to burn it off when it gets to a certain level. This residue will be heated and converted into ash before it is expelled, but the process does not always happen automatically. This is where a motorist could be caught out, as if the soot that enters the filter is not fully "regenerated" in this way, it will eventually cause the filter to fail, which is a very expensive component to replace.
How It Works
The vehicle's computer is designed to turn on the regenerator whenever the vehicle travels at motorway speed, or whenever it reaches a certain mileage threshold in other circumstances. This may be all well and good, but sometimes a vehicle is only driven on very short journeys (such as a work commute) and in this case the regeneration process may not have enough time to complete. This would generate a warning light on the dashboard, but some drivers are not aware what this is and may ignore it at their peril.
What You Should Do
If you only do very short journeys, which may not give your vehicle enough time to cycle through the regeneration process, then you should ensure that you take it in for a full service at frequent intervals. You may also find it beneficial to schedule a motorway run periodically so that you can ensure that the toxic soot is handled properly.