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Diesel pickup trucks feel like a mystery for many American drivers. Unless you own a heavy-duty pickup truck or drive a kooky old Mercedes and only listen to Man Or Astroman, you probably haven’t had much experience with diesel trucks. Given the current car market situation, buying a new truck might be out of the question for many. Now it’s time to learn the seven best diesel pickup truck maintenance tips. 

Are diesel pickup trucks more reliable than gasoline trucks? 

Diesel engines are pretty different from gas engines; it isn’t just a difference in fuel types. In fact, the differences between gas trucks and diesel trucks are about the same as the difference between an electric truck and a diesel truck. 

Case in point, diesel engines don’t use any electrical parts in the ignition system, says Gem State Diesel. Between the fewer electrical ignition parts and moving parts, in general, technically, diesel engines can be less expensive to maintain. But just like gas pickup trucks, diesel engines need regular maintenance to remain strong and reliable. 

Diesel Pickup truck maintenance tips

A red-clothed mechanic replaces the oil filter on a 1985 Mercedes-Benz
A mechanic replaces the oil filter on a 1985 Mercedes-Benz | JOEY MCLEISTER/Star Tribune via Getty Images
  1. Your diesel pickup truck needs regular oil changes

Neglecting regularly changing your oil and oil filter in a gas-powered pickup truck can lead to a prematurely aged engine. But forgetting to change your oil in diesel can actually kill your truck. Oil is a major part of the engine ecosystem. Dirty and old oil can create too much friction, ultimately leading to failure. Most pickup trucks need their oil changed every 3,000-5,000 miles depending on the truck. 

  1. Don’t forget the glow plugs

Glow plugs are another difference between gasoline- and diesel-powered trucks. Glow plugs create the heat needed to ignite the fuel. These are the diesel version of spark plugs. Whereas spark plugs need changing periodically, glow plugs require a bit of a closer eye, especially in winter. Without a good set of plugs, starting your pickup truck in the winter might be impossible. 

  1. Keep an eye on your diesel engine gaskets

Like all gaskets, diesel engine gaskets have to withstand enormous pressure. A key part of diesel truck maintenance is keeping a close eye on your gaskets and the bolts. The goal is to keep as much pressure as possible on these bolts to create a solid seal. If there is a leak in that seal, replace gaskets immediately. 

  1. Diesel fuel treatment is a must

Diesel fuel treatments can be a really helpful way to keep your diesel maintenance in check. Diesel fuel can have many impurities and other debris that can clog filters, making your truck less efficient. These fuel additives can clean the fuel, keeping more impurities out of your fuel system. 

  1. Coolant is the key to best diesel pickup truck maintenance

Diesel coolant gets more acidic the longer it works. This acidity can reach dangerous levels if left too long and can even degrade various engine components. If parts of the cooling system begin to rot, you might be in for some pricey repairs. It pays to stay on top of your pickup truck’s coolant. 

  1. For the love of all things holy, change your air filter

Not unlike the fuel additive, air filters stop foreign particles like dust and gravel from getting into your engine. The more protecting the air filter does, the sooner it needs to be cleaned. A clogged air filter will lead to poor performance and possibly even engine damage. Always keep a clean air filter around for your Diesel pickup truck. 

  1. Change your fuel filter while you’re at it

Like all other filters, your fuel filter needs to be changed regularly. This is particularly true for the best diesel pickup truck maintenance. On average, most diesel pickup trucks need their fuel filters changed every 10,000-15,000 miles. Remember, this means changing both the primary and secondary fuel filters. 

The best diesel pickup truck maintenance isn’t hard, it just has to be done regularly

Diesel pickup truck maintenance isn’t much more complicated than gas-powered pickup truck maintenance. The key with all maintenance is to do whatever jobs needs doing, as soon as it needs doing. Putting off simple maintenance can quickly turn into a more serious issue. Don’t be lazy with your truck’s maintenance, and your truck won’t be lazy with you.