Diesel engines are more complex than their petrol counterparts. What are the basic diesel engines maintenance must-dos?

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    Can you make your question more specific? It is open-ended at the moment. – jzd Jul 18 '11 at 11:29
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    Also, what sort of Diesel engine are you referring to - maintenance on a modern electronic TDI is very different to a 1960s indirect-injection Land Rover engine, for example. – Nick C Jul 19 '11 at 12:22
  • Don't run them out of fuel, re-priming can be a nightmare. Especially if you're stuck on the side of the road without any tools. Don't ask how I know... :-) – Brian Knoblauch Jul 19 '11 at 15:14
  • Welcome to the site, please edit your question to make it more specific and I will be glad to reopen it. – Move More Comments Link To Top Jul 24 '11 at 18:49

Because diesel engines are so much simpler than petrol engines, servicing them is a lot easier. There's no spark plugs or timing to worry about, no mixture to set, none of it.

All you need to do is ensure that the fuel and air filters are clean, and change the oil and oil filter regularly. Timing belts are a little more complicated to do because they drive the injector pump as well as the camshaft, even on common-rail diesels.

One thing to watch out for is that old-style diesels don't self-prime, so you need to press the button on top of the filter until it won't depress.

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    if the filter doesn't have a button to press, you can easily prefill it yourself as you install it (mark4 vw TDI, for example) – Oren Mazor Jul 20 '11 at 18:39
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    Yes, and many of the common-rail diesels use an electric lift pump in the tank like petrol injection systems - so all you need to do is slacken the bleed screw on the filter head (T20 or T25 Torx, usually) until diesel bubbles out. Slacken, not remove ;-) – user822 Jul 21 '11 at 7:56

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