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Are You Making These Wrong Assumptions About Diesel Engines?

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Diesel engines are often considered the workhorse of the automotive world, as diesel power provides an engine with more torque, or the force needed to make an object spin. In turn, a vehicle can pull heavier weights without the transmission or tyres slipping or dragging when it has a diesel engine under the hood. However, while diesel engines are very powerful, some car and truck buyers avoid them simply because they have a few wrong assumptions about the engines and how they work. Note a few of those common misconceptions here, so you can choose a diesel-powered vehicle with confidence.

Cold weather

Diesel engines need heat to start, which is why some people might assume that they struggle to start or to run when it's cold out and that driving a diesel engine in cold weather puts added wear and tear on all its parts. However, diesel engines are typically outfitted with what are called glow plugs, which provide heat to the engine so it can get started in cold weather.

Also, revving the engine while it's still cold is what puts wear and tear on its parts. Letting the engine heat up sufficiently on its own before driving will avoid sputtering and unnecessary wear.


Because diesel engines are meant for power and not speed, you might assume that they are actually slow and sluggish. It is true that a diesel engine may not offer you the same acceleration as a lightweight petrol-powered vehicle, but a diesel engine doesn't necessary lag during acceleration. You can also have a diesel engine outfitted with a turbo charger for even better acceleration and faster speed.

Note, too, that many heavy vehicles carrying large loads will naturally be slower simply due to their weight and not because of an underpowered diesel engine. It can also be safer to accelerate more slowly and drive at slower speeds when you're hauling a large payload, but the diesel engine itself isn't slowing you down in these cases.

Fuel consumption

Don't assume that diesel engines consume more fuel than their standard gasoline counterparts; in truth, diesel engines get better gas mileage since they use the heat of the engine for power. It's also good to remember that the quality of the fuel filters and condition of a vehicle's exhaust system will also affect its fuel economy, not just the type of engine under the hood. Owners should of course still take their vehicle in for diesel service if they notice issues with fuel usage, but a well-maintained diesel engine may actually get better fuel economy than a standard petrol car with leaks in the exhaust, a malfunctioning oxygen sensor and the like.