If you own a piece of equipment or machinery, or a truck that runs on diesel, you know how important it is to keep the engine clean. Neglecting this simple task can take years off the life of your equipment, causing you to face unnecessary repairs and premature replacement. While the old rumor was that you’re not supposed to clean a diesel engine, we now know this is just untrue.

Tips to Help

You can and should clean your diesel engine, and here are some simple steps to doing this. Keep in mind many of these are the same as for a gasoline engine.

  • Using a brush, manually remove the debris that’s trapped under the hood and in the grill.
  • Warm up the engine and run it for five to 10 minutes. This will loosen up the grease and oil, making the rest of this task much easier.
  • Cover the recommended parts with baggies and secure with rubber bands. There are about four under-hood items that you should cover for protection, such as the alternator, power steering filler, air intake, and sensors.
  • Apply the engine degreaser from the bottom up so the cleaner doesn’t drip on you. Let it sit for up to five minutes, depending on how dirty you think the engine looks.
  • Using a long-handled brush, scrub down all tough-to-reach parts.
  • Rinse it all off with a gentle spray, not a high pressure spray. Actually, a simple water stream from your hose will suffice.
  • Let dry. Allow the heat from engine to naturally evaporate the water. Dry manually if you want to avoid spotting.

Extra Tips for Diesel Engine Cleaning

Many people with diesel engines choose to use a degreaser on top of the regular cleaning. It’s best to use a water-soluble or citrus-based degreaser, but if you don’t want to hit the store, diluted dish detergent will work just fine. There are organic, all-natural products on the market such as Simple Green, but you may want to stay away from these, as they have the potential to damage high-strength steel, aluminum, and titanium. On top of that, they can damage electrical connections due to the hydrogen embrittlement phenomenon.

This is where the hydrogen inside the cleaner can make the material brittle over time.  Also, stay away from high-alkaline cleaner like Formula 409 or Fantastic.