Auto Repair Training 101: A Guide to Diesel Engines

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Diesel engines power just an estimated 3% of the total vehicles on the road. As a result, many drivers know very little about diesel-powered vehicles, and how much they differ from cars that boast gasoline engines.

However, diesel engines are particularly popular in professional service and industrial vehicles, and having some understanding of how they work is vital for professionals in auto repair careers. For instance, fixed operations specialists, who often work in auto parts stores and repair shops, will need to advise customers about the unique upkeep and maintenance requirements of diesel engines, and provide estimates for parts and repair jobs.

If you’re interested in pursuing an auto repair career, read on to find out all about how diesel engines work.

Diesel Engine Basics for Students Enrolled in Auto Repair Programs

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Students pursuing auto repair training will learn that unlike gasoline engines, diesel ignition systems don’t have sparkplugs. Instead, diesel vehicles rely on a compression ignition (CI) system, in which air is pumped into a compact cylinder and compressed, causing it to heat to a high temperature. A fine mist of fuel is then injected into the cylinder, causing the air to ignite. This process repeats while the engine is running to produce a steady flow of energy.

Built to Last: Auto Repair Advantages of Diesel over Gasoline Engines

The design of a diesel engine is simpler than a gasoline engine, with fewer parts to maintain or replace. Diesel engines also carry turbochargers as standard. Turbochargers are turbine-powered air compression systems that boost power, and they are only available on some gasoline models.

The heavy use of air compression also makes diesel engines much more fuel- efficient, and they tend to get better mileage than gasoline models. The extreme pressure of this super-heated air system also requires diesel engines to be built with heavy duty components, which means they typically last longer. As a result, they are generally a good choice for commercial vehicles, such as trucks, construction vehicles and buses, which need to be able to withstand heavy day-to-day usage for long periods of time.

Diesel Engine Maintenance for Auto Repair Training Students

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While diesel engines typically require less maintenance than gasoline engines, students enrolled in auto repair programs need to be mindful of the best practices of diesel upkeep. The components of a diesel engine are typically more expensive than a gasoline system, so while they break down less often, customers are left with hefty repair bills when they do.

Technicians, as well as fixed operations specialists working in parts stores and repair shops, need be sure to advise customers to change the oil regularly, as well as the air and fuel filters. With proper care, it’s not uncommon for a diesel engine to go up to 750,000 miles between overhauls.

The Future of Auto Repair: New Developments in Diesel

Diesel engines have long been stigmatised for the pollution they cause, but that has begun to change over the last decade. Efforts by auto companies to develop ‘clean diesel’, removing sulfur from fuel and producing more advanced filtering systems, have helped improve the reputation of diesel vehicles. Nonetheless, diesel engines still produce greater emissions than gasoline-powered models, and with auto companies focusing on hybrid technology, diesel vehicles will probably remain a niche market for the foreseeable future.

Would you like to learn more by enrolling in auto repair courses?

Visit ATC to learn more about our programs or to speak with an advisor.

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