5 Common Problems in Diesel Cars & Trucks

How to Handle and Fix the Unavoidable Side Effects of Owning a Diesel Vehicle

Common Problems in Diesel Trucks

Your Dodge Ram may have trouble starting in extreme heat or cold, and it might have nothing to do with the battery.

When you bought your car or truck, you didn’t hesitate investing in a diesel vehicle because it gave you the power and fuel efficiency you needed. Aside from being a cost effective, environmentally-friendly choice for those who want a form of transportation, diesel cars and trucks come with their own set of baggage. Sure, diesel cars are all the rage in Germany, but Germans and diesel owners worldwide struggle with the most common problems diesel vehicle owners face on a yearly basis:

  1. White smoke coming from under the hood
  2. Black smoke
  3. It won't accelerate
  4. Diesel car won't stop running
  5. It won't start in extreme heat or cold

Diesel cars and trucks can be expensive toys to take care of. From oil changes, tire revolving, tune-ups, and broken parts, you can rack up a pretty hefty maintenance bill by the end of any given year.

Instead of taking your vehicle to a shop, imagine how much money you could save making your own diagnosis and repair. Sure, not everyone is a certified auto repair expert, but the auto repair business makes a lot of its money off of people taking their vehicles in simply because they don’t know WHY something is happening.

Instead of relying on professionals every time something goes wrong with your diesel car, save money by taking time to understand what could be causing any of your truck’s symptoms beforehand. If you can narrow it down to a broken part, Sturtevant Auto can help you find the right used part for your diesel vehicle to invest in, so you’re not spending hundreds on new parts you may not even need.

Most Popular Cars with Diesel Engines

Diesel engines are becoming more and more popular with newer auto designs. Though most diesel-powered cars yield better gas mileage and increased acceleration, there are still several problems relating to diesel engines.

Some of the more popular cars built with diesel engines include: 

  • Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTEC
  • VW Beetle TDI
  • Mazda CX-5
  • BMW 328d
  • VW Passat TDI

Sturtevant Auto provides used auto parts for cars with all types of engines, including diesel. Don’t go spending a fortune on a replacement diesel engine – call our Milwaukee-area auto salvage today and ask what diesel engines we have in stock!

1.  White Smoke Coming from Under the Hood

If you own a diesel car or truck and have seen white smoke protruding from the hood of your vehicle:

  1. You shouldn’t keep driving like nothing’s wrong
  2. No, you don’t necessarily need to run to the nearest auto repair shop

A diesel-blowing white smoke isn’t compromised, it simply needs to be checked out. The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off your car. White smoke in diesels is a sign your fuel isn’t being completely burned. This is often the result of air being present in your fuel line, causing your injector pump pressures to be low. Sometimes, getting the white smoke to stop being produced is to simply restart your car. If the white smoke rises again, you may be dealing with a worn engine.

This shouldn’t be cause for complete concern. Yes, you may need to consider a replacement engine for your vehicle, but it doesn’t mean you’ll have to be broke or deeper in debt than you may already be.

If you own a diesel with a high-kilometer engine and it’s been worn down, you are not out of options. Sturtevant Auto boasts an impressive junkyard full of used auto parts waiting to be plucked, refurbished, and installed in your car or truck at a much cheaper price than what you’ll be buying a new engine for. If you have white smoke coming from under your diesel car or truck’s hood, your engine may be at the end of its life.

2.  The Cause of Black Smoke in Diesel Vehicles

Even if you don’t own a diesel truck or car, we’ve all seen the black smoke pouring out of someone’s exhaust pipe. Usually, you can avoid this side effect of owning a diesel vehicle by not putting more fuel in your tank than you’re supposed to.

If you don’t think you’re overfilling your fuel tank, the root cause may be a nozzle or needle in need of replacing. Most often, when fuel nozzles and needles wear down, it’s because of corrosion, caused by high-sulfur diesel fuels—just another extra cost to consider when buying diesel over regular gasoline vehicles.

But what to do when you’re suspicious your fuel nozzle or needle has worn down? Do you take it to an expert auto repair place interested in charging you as much as possible for the small repair? No, the solution comes in two words: Sturtevant Auto.

As one of the most reputable junk yards in the state, Sturtevant Auto has all the used parts you need to get your diesel car or truck up and running again in no time. To get your truck or car back to normal operation, consider visiting our pick-and-pull junkyard in Sturtevant, WI today to see if we have the nozzles or needles you need to bring your vehicle back to its normal state.

Diesel Car Won't Accelerate

Fixing a problem with not accelerating could be a simple fix like a clogged filter or catalytic converter.

3.   When a Diesel Car or Truck Won’t Accelerate

You pull your diesel vehicle up to the on-ramp and start making your way onto the highway when your worst nightmare comes true: your truck isn’t accelerating.

Should you pull over to the side ashamed of what you’ve let your vehicle become, or do you stubbornly drive on, slowing down traffic and getting dark looks and gestures from cars speeding around you? Are there only two dramatic choices in situations like these, or do you have better options?

Prevention is one of the most important words you can learn as the owner of any type of vehicle. To avoid intense, high-pressure situations where you cannot accelerate your car, you need to understand how to take care of what you’re driving first.

Diesel vehicles are not complicated, but they’re not simple either. Do you know what a “catalytic converter” is? Does the term “transmission” sound familiar? What about the “butterfly valve”? It’s understandable if you don’t know every last thing about the working parts of your car.

When a diesel truck isn’t accelerating, it can be caused by several components. It can be the result of a fuel filter simply needing to be changed or a catalytic converter being clogged. But if your diesel isn’t overheating, chances are your transmission has gone sour. If this is the case, Sturtevant Auto’s salvage yard can make finding a replacement transmission (or transmission parts) an easy and inexpensive venture—you may not even have to buy a new car!

4.  If Your Diesel Won’t Stop Running After You Turn it Off

Whether it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday, it is never a convenient time for any diesel vehicle to fail to start.

But, what if your car or truck won’t stop running?

You’ve turned the key, the lights turn off, but your car is still running. Gas engines are shut on and off based on the electrical charge they’re being given. Diesel engines are a bit different. When you own a diesel truck or car, they rely on compression and heat to ignite your fuel. This means, that just because you turn off your car’s ignition doesn’t necessarily mean your diesel engine will comply.

In most diesel cars and trucks, a pipe is responsible for getting the air intake to vent a crankcase mechanism. If your engine is worn down, gases can leak past the sides of the pistons into this crankcase, carrying a mist of oil into the air intake. When this happens, your diesel engine will run on this mist, continuing to increase revolutions as this oil is taken in. With each revolution, more “mist oil” is produced, creating a cycle of fuel burning even though your vehicle is turned off.

The only way to stop your engine from running at this point is to find a way to get the oil out of the engine before your engine runs too fast it destroys itself.

Diesel Engine Won't Start in the Cold

A worn-down engine could lead to low compression and trouble starting in extreme cold (or heat).

5.   Diesel Engines Refusing to Start in the Heat or Cold

Whether it’s 90 degrees and humid or 20 degrees and snowing, extreme temperatures can put extra pressure and tension on your diesel vehicle.

But how can you begin to know where a problem is originating from? Say you’re in the dead of summer, you turn your truck on, you drive it, you shut it off and everything seems fine—until you try turning it on again. It could take close to an hour before your diesel starts again, but why?

It's "Heat Soak"

If you’re facing a situation similar to this, your starter solenoid might be experiencing something called “heat soak”. It occurs when starts to get too hot to function properly. This explains why, if you’re running your car in extreme heat, it needs time to cool down after it’s been turned off before it can work properly again.

Diesel Truck won't Start in the Cold

Now let’s say it’s January and well below the freezing point. You’ve tried everything: starting fluid, replacing your fuel filter, even having your pump checked out, but your diesel still refuses to start. In a situation like this, you might be dealing with bad or low compression as the result of a worn-down engine. It may also be the result of a dying battery, but if you’re not entirely sure, the best thing you can do is call a professional.

Milwaukee-area Junkyard Carries Most Auto Manufacturer Parts

Sturtevant Auto provides used parts for most auto manufacturer makes and models. Since more manufacturers are releasing diesel-powered vehicles, the need for a variety of model parts is becoming more important. From Chevrolet to VW, we have a wide auto selection to choose from.

Get High-Quality Used Parts from Our Pick and Pull Junkyard

You may not need a new engine or battery for your diesel vehicle, but you won’t know until you have a professional give it a look. If you’re in a position where a replacement part is needed, don’t stress out about having to buy a new car or needing to invest in a new part for your old vehicle. Sturtevant Auto’s salvage yard has many different kinds of used parts available for your diesel to help make repairs and replacements as affordable and quick as possible.

Contact our junkyard near Milwaukee for availability of used auto parts and junk cars for sale!