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Common Diesel Engine Problems and How To Solve Them

Home » Blog » Common Diesel Engine Problems and How To Solve Them

Apr 3, 2023 | News

The power of diesel engines makes them ideal for heavy transport and tractor work but also susceptible to damage. Knowing some of the possible problems these engines can experience can facilitate the regular maintenance they need. Modern equipment, like Jaltest scan tools and diagnostic terminals, have also made identifying and solving problems easier. 


Bearing Failure

Engine bearings require freedom of movement to function correctly. A combination of lubrication and materials provides the bearings with the necessary freedom. If the materials are incorrect or inadequate, the bearings can break down, constricting part movement within the engine. If the lubricant degrades, the bearings can begin to grind down and break. David’s Heavy Duty Tool Sales can help with a variety of bearing maintenance tools.


Incorrect Fueling

More common among inexperienced diesel operators, using gasoline instead of diesel fuel can cause severe damage to engine components. Gas fuel can render a diesel engine completely useless. Because this type of problem is only caused by user error, the solution is simply to use care when fueling your diesel vehicles. This applies especially if using unmarked fuel, such as in emergencies. Double-check that any fuel used in your vehicles is diesel fuel, and you won’t need to worry about this problem.


Oil Oxidation

Similar to other vehicles, diesel engines require significant lubrication to run properly. While oil changes are a common part of vehicle maintenance, diesel oil has an additional requirement. It needs to be kept free of air. When diesel oil oxidizes, it thickens, and instead of lubricating, it can clog the workings of the engine. This can result in engine damage as components grind against one another.

To combat this, it may be enough to perform both regular oil changes and oil tests. If there is an issue with oxygen entering the oil chamber, it needs to be repaired or the oil will be contaminated.



Engine overheating is the kind of problem that needs prompt attention, as it can lead to damage of many parts. Various other problems, including those listed above, can lead to engine overheating. Friction from poor lubrication or failed bearings or incorrect fuel can put high stress on the engine, leading to overheating. It could also be the result of pistons or cylinder head expansion. Solving engine overheating is one of the trickier maintenance tasks because of these varied causes, but there are methods:


Systematic Maintenance

This process is simple but time-consuming, requiring the completion of a thorough checklist of maintenance tasks for each engine part. Performing entire engine checkups regularly can be beneficial.


Jaltest Scan Tool Checkup

A faster way to identify engine problems is with a Jaltest scan tool. These diagnostic tools connect to vehicle systems and can provide complete dealer-level functionality. They are also designed to be compatible with a wide range of diesel vehicles and equipment.


Prompt Maintenance

Regardless of your approach to addressing problems with your diesel engines, prioritize the necessary maintenance in your schedule. Unaddressed problems are likely to lead to more problems, compounding costs in both time and money.

With the diagnostic and repair equipment from David’s Heavy Duty Tool Sales, promptly handling maintenance can be made much easier. Browse our selection of Jaltest scan tools and other maintenance equipment so that you’ll have what you need when repairs crop up.