Engine trouble is one of the most frustrating issues truckers encounter while on the road—it’s also one of the most common. Some engine problems are too complex or dangerous to fix without the expertise and tools of a professional mechanic. But there are many issues you can fix on your own. Before you call a repair shop, try some of these diesel engine troubleshooting tips.
1. Engine Overheating
Lots of things can cause an engine to overheat, including the outside temperature. If it’s hot outside, you may need to gear down to prevent the engine from heating up. Also, while driving on steep gradients in hot weather, it’s a good idea to turn off the air conditioning.
If you don’t think the temperature is a factor, make sure the airflow to the radiator isn’t obstructed by snow and ice, bugs, or debris. Next, check that the brakes and tires aren’t dragging and that the axles are rolling freely. If the engine has to work harder to move the vehicle, it may overheat.
2. Engine Won’t Start
We’ve all been there—you’re about to leave the lot when you realize your engine just won’t start. It’s one of the most frustrating experiences a driver can face, especially when you have a schedule to stick to. If the engine won’t start, check to see if there’s any contamination in your fuel supply. Replace the fuel filters and check the fuel lines and pump. Check the batteries to ensure they’re properly connected with the starter. Ensure the starter motor isn’t damaged. If you still can’t fix the issue, you may need to have a mechanic check the injectors and electronic control module.
One of the more obvious signs of an overheating engine is smoke. If your engine is smoking, it may be a sign of bigger problems. If the smoke is white, it could indicate a problem with the engine timing or it could mean the engine compression is weak. Black smoke may be a sign of dirty air filters, an issue with the cylinder head, or worn or damaged injectors. Blue smoke is often a sign of worn valves, cylinders, or piston rings.