Diesel engines are effective but like any kind of internal combustion engine, they need a clean air supply to function properly.
That's why most diesel engines, on anything from cars to farm machinery, have air filters to keep the air supply clear from contamination.
But, we hear you ask, what happens if air filters get clogged? Will those engines still work effectively?
Probably not - and here why with a list of reasons why it's important that you clean the air filter on your engine as often as possible.
As we've already touched upon, your engine needs air. The combination of oxygen and fuel is essential for your diesel engine to work effectively. The engine draws it in, burns it with fuel, and then pumps out the discarded fumes in a cycle.
But the air isn't always clean when it goes in. Take, for instance, a tractor. There are a significant amount of particles that can be drawn toward a tractor's diesel engine that, if introduced into the engine itself, would likely stop it from working.
That's where your diesel engine air filter comes in.
Its job is to keep the engine free from dirt and other particles that could clog your engine. But if it gets clogged itself, your engine's air supply will be reduced, as less oxygen can pass through past the blockages.
The air pressure can even cause a vacuum that can force particles through the filter and damage your engine. Keeping your engine air filter cleaner will help stop this.
So a filter clogged with grime is going to result in a reduced air supply, but that has other unintended side effects that should help demonstrate your engines air filter purpose.
Internal combustion engines rely on a very specific ratio of fuel to air to work properly. A dirty filter can upset this balance, which can force your engine to attempt to compensate by drawing more fuel in.
More fuel taken, more fuel spent. This will lower your diesel engine's fuel efficiency in the long run, meaning you'll be left with a higher bill for gas.
If you're worried about fuel costs, then regular maintenance on your diesel engine filter is a good place to start. It's a simple solution to save money, and who doesn't love that?
Fuel bills aren't the only thing you'll lose if you don't know how often to clean an engine air filter. The natural consequence of an imbalanced fuel ratio is that the effectiveness of your engine will be reduced.
You're going to lose power that you once had in your engine. You'll have to accelerate harder, and you might find that even that doesn't work to give you the power you need.
The additional strain in trying to compensate for this imbalance is likely to cause more damage to your engine. The likelihood of contamination being sucked through a dirty air filter becomes greater.
Leaving your air filter cleaning until it's too late might not allow you to regain the power you once had if your engine becomes damaged in the process.
The inevitable result of a filter that's past its prime is clear. Your diesel engine won't last forever without a filter in place that's clean and providing your engine with the oxygen it needs to function.
That means the chance of breakdowns become higher. You may find that you can't start your engine with the amount of oxygen that can be drawn in through a dirty filter.
Or, if you're lucky, the engine might start with some significant effort. Spark plugs are used in engines like these to ignite the combustion to start them, but they can't easily ignite the fuel and oxygen mixture if the ratio is poor.
And, of course, the damage over time that a dirty filter can cause can leave your engine in need of urgent repair work.
Need help with repairs on your engine? Here's a simple guide to servicing your own diesel engine.
Air filters help to protect your engine but did you know that a dirty filter can actually have an impact on your own?
Diesel-fueled engines are incredibly efficient on fuel, but it doesn't mean that they're the healthiest. Given that studies show that diesel exhaust fumes kill more people than car accidents, leaving your air filter dirty can put your health at risk.
But how can an air filter for a diesel engine stop that?
If your filter is dirty, your engine is going to be struggling. You'll notice it, too, thanks to the dirtier exhaust fumes that are produced.
As your engine struggles to cope with a reduced oxygen intake, the natural balance of your engine is disrupted. The 'cycle' it follows will mean that the air it expels is dirtier.
It'll be sootier and darker, and you might even see the flames of combustion from your exhaust. It might also smell very strongly of gasoline when you start your engine.
The cleaner the filter, the cleaner the fumes, but that isn't the only benefit. Here are some other benefits of having a clean engine air filter.
So there you have it - some pretty good reasoning why you should be looking after your air filter regularly.
Cleaning your filter will mean your diesel engine lasts longer without servicing. It'll also save you valuable dollars on fuel consumption.
Your health will thank you, too. A clean filter can help clean up the exhaust fumes on your diesel engine, so you won't be left breathing in poor air. Regularly clean the air filter on your diesel engine to save you money and save your health.