Your diesel truck, like most vehicles, requires regular and thorough maintenance. The term ‘maintenance’ encompasses a variety of different tasks: changing the oil, checking the fluids, and keeping an eye peeled for any unusual issues. But there’s one critical step to diesel engine maintenance that people tend to overlook: cleaning. An old piece of conventional wisdom claims you’re not supposed to clean a diesel engine, but this is far from true. When done correctly, cleaning your engine is a quick and easy process. Here are the simple steps to cleaning a diesel engine.
Steps for Cleaning a Diesel Engine
If you’ve ever cleaned a gasoline engine before, you’ll find that the steps for cleaning a diesel engine are similar. To start, you’ll want to manually remove any debris that’s been trapped under the hood and in the grill. You can do this with your hands, but it’s easier to use a brush. Once you’ve removed any debris, warm the engine. This gives the oil and grease time to loosen up, which will make the rest of the cleaning process easier. Leave your engine on for 5-10 minutes before shutting it off. The next simple step to cleaning a diesel engine isn’t just simple—it’s incredibly important. Most of the engine’s components are waterproof, but not all of them. Covering the alternator, power steering filter, air intake, sensors, any other vulnerable parts with plastic bags will keep them safe. You can secure these bags with rubber bands or easy-to-remove tape.
Next, you’ll want to apply your degreaser. No one enjoys washing cleaner off themselves. To avoid it dripping on you, apply the degreaser from the bottom up. Depending on how dirty the engine is, let the cleaner sit for 3-5 minutes. Once the waiting period is over, take a long-handled brush and scrub down the engine. Give extra attention to areas that are hard to reach or noticeably dirty. Finally, you’ll want to rinse it all off. Using a simple water stream from your hose is the recommended method. Using a high-pressure spray can damage your engine. With the engine fully rinsed, leave it to dry. You can let the heat from the engine evaporate any excess water, but if you want to avoid spotting, the rest of the job is better done manually.
Some Useful Tips
Maintaining your engine is important, and so is doing it right. When you’re cleaning, picking out the right kind of products, including the right kind of degreaser, can help you achieve a thorough and effective clean. It’s best to use a water-soluble or citrus-based degreaser, but if you’re pressed for time, diluted dish detergent will work just fine. Looking for organic, all-natural products? There are plenty on the shelves, but it’s advisable to steer clear. These products have the potential to damage high-strength steel, aluminum, and titanium. Due to the hydrogen embrittlement phenomenon, they can even damage your engine’s electrical connections. This is where hydrogen inside of the cleaner makes the material brittle over time. You’ll also want to avoid high-alkaline cleaner, which can lead to dangerous fumes and a build-up of condensation, bacteria, and fungi.