Why do Diesel Last Longer than Gas Engines (Explained)

Diesel engines are the big boys of the automotive industry. Compared to gasoline engines, diesel engines are more efficient, generate more power, produce more torque, and are extremely durable. 

A well-maintained diesel engine can last up to 30 years without blowing up on you. While being 30% more efficient than their gasoline counterpart. 

So, what makes them so durable? Why does Diesel last longer than Gas Engines? I’m a diesel fan, and in this article, you will understand the differences between both engines and how it affects their performance.    

Do Diesel Engines Last Longer than Gasoline Engines?

Diesel engines last at least twice as much as gasoline. A gasoline engine can easily go up to 3700-5000 miles (6,000-8000 km) without any maintenance. In comparison, a diesel engine can last anywhere between 6200-7500 miles (10,000 to 12,000 km) without showing any issues. 

Once-in-year maintenance for diesel vehicles works just fine. However, for gasoline, it’s every 4-6 months depending on how you drive. 

Even in terms of fuel efficiency, Diesel engines are better. While a gasoline engine uses comparatively less fuel, they have to work twice as much. On the other hand, diesel engines are big bulky machines that chug more fuel to produce more torque. 

In other words, for the same amount of fuel, diesel engines can do 30% more work than gasoline. Modern-day diesel cars now produce more power with even greater fuel efficiency. 

On average, a full tank of diesel easily gets you a range of up to 620 miles (1000 km). As opposed to 370 miles (600 km) from a gasoline-powered vehicle. With better fuel efficiency and higher durability, diesel engines do last longer than gasoline engines.   

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How Long do Diesel Engines Typically Last Compared To Gasoline Engines?

Generally, a gasoline engine is supposed to show major faults after 185.000-250.000 miles (300,000-400,000 km). A diesel engine however can go up to 620.000-750.000 miles (1.000,000 to 1.200,000 km) without breaking your bank. If maintained properly a diesel engine can last up to 30 years.  

But to achieve that, you need to put in some real effort into caring for your machine. That’s because diesel engines are harder and costlier to maintain. They are also affected by varying situations. 

For example, you can’t expect to immediately start your truck after leaving it in sub-zero temperatures. Unlike gasoline engines, they don’t have spark plugs. You would need some sort of starting fluid to get your baby running. 

Despite being combustion engines, both diesel and gas engines are built differently. Hence they require different types of maintenance at different intervals on different levels.  

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Why do Diesel Engines Last Longer?

Diesel engines work differently than gasoline engines. Both diesel and gasoline are also slightly different chemically, which ultimately affects their performance. The three major reasons behind the longevity of diesel engines are engine design, type of fuel, working.

Engine Design: To begin with, diesel engines are built to do heavy-duty work, so they are made with heavy-duty materials

These materials are built to last, and they show comparatively less wear and tear over time. However, the different components used to build these engines are also less sophisticated. 

Unlike gas engines, where most things are working on belts and chains. Which tend to stretch or break under high-stress situations. Diesel engines are fitted with heavy-duty gears that are tightly fixed at their respective places. Even the oil and fuel pumps in most engines are gear-driven. 

Compared to Gasoline engines, Diesel engines are larger. So they have bigger cylinders and larger crankshafts. This helps the oil to circulate more and get to places freely. The more the oil moves, the smoother and cooler the components work.  

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Since diesel engines are heavily used in industrial applications. They also have multiple safety systems installed to ensure a longer working duration. Several cooling systems are also working to keep the temps under control. 

This ensures longer working hours while minimizing the overall stress on the engine.  

Type of fuel: There is an obvious difference between diesel and gas. While they are both gasoline products, diesel consistency is of light oil. 

This means that diesel, by its nature, moves more freely than gas. The more it moves, the more it lubricates different components for smoother operation. Petroleum or gasoline, on the other side, is more acidic. As a result, it causes more corrosion as it burns inside the combustion chamber.  

At the same time, diesel is less volatile and burns rather slower. You need compression to burn diesel compared to sparks for gasoline. The blast caused is also subtle. So there is even less stress on the combustion chamber due to the burning of diesel. 

Working and application: Compared to gasoline, a diesel engine works way less. A diesel engine would push around 1500 rpm as opposed to 3000 rpm of gasoline. This means, at any time, a gas engine is working twice as much as a diesel engine. 

Since gasoline engines are used in daily driving cars and low-powered vehicles. They are used in cities with continuous stops and goes. So despite the double-timing, a gasoline engine also takes continuous stress. 

Whereas vehicles with diesel engines are generally pick-up trucks, semis, etc., that mostly run on highways at a constant speed. In other words, diesel engines are used very linearly with less stress than gas engines.  

All of these factors help diesel engines have a longer lifespan and better durability.    

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What Can You do to Extend Your Diesel Engine Lifespan?

To extend your diesel engine lifespan, it’s recommended to: always warm up the engine, use the right kind of oil, keep oil levels checked, never let tank gas empty, maintain diesel filters.

A proper maintenance schedule is more than enough to prolong the lifespan of any machine. However, there are a few other habits you can practice to extend your diesel engine lifespan.  

1. Always let your engine warm up: You must let your engine warm up right after a cold start. Unlike gasoline, diesel needs more effort to burn and the engine temps play an important role. Also, it allows your engine oil to circulate properly reaching all areas. 

“A warm engine with better oil flow is a smooth engine with less stress and even less wear and tear”

2. Only use the right kind of oil: Engine oil plays an important role in its lifespan. Not only does it reduce wear and tear, but it also fills all unnecessary gaps. It helps against corrosion and also works as a filter removing harmful contaminants. 

By using the right oil, you allow your engine to perform at its peak without breaking a sweat.  

3. Keep your oil levels in check: Besides using the right oil, you must also maintain the right amount. Having a lower oil level would increase engine stress with rapid wear and tear. Add too much, and the engine pressure increases with leaks and spills. 

You must always ensure that you are getting the right amount of oil after maintenance. You can read your car’s user manual for more information. 

4. Never let your tank get empty: An empty fuel tank is never good news. But driving until you empty your tank is even worse, especially in diesel cars which have a lot of impurities. 

These impurities sit at the bottom of your tank and possibly clog up your fuel pipes. Also, an empty fuel tank disrupts the pressure maintained by the fuel pump, which is necessary for the proper functioning of an engine. 

5. Drain your diesel filter: Each time you get your car maintained, make sure to get your diesel filter maintained. A diesel filter filters your fuel before it gets to the injectors. 

Diesel fuel injectors are sensitive components that need precise conditions to work. These injectors are required for the combustion of fuel. Which also generates a lot of heat. And a constant flow of fuel helps them stay cool. 

A dirty diesel filter can slow down the whole process which can severely damage the engine.    

how to extend diesel lifespan

Is it Even Worth to Buy Diesel Now?

If you need a car for daily driving, maybe go on a few trips, or simply if you will be driving close to 10.000 miles (16,000 km) a year, buy a gasoline car. Anything above that, diesel engines would get you more value.

In general comparison, Diesel beats gas by a huge margin. But it also has its flaws. For starters, diesel produces more pollutants than gasoline. 

They are harder and costlier to maintain. They have higher repair costs than gasoline engines. Diesel cars are also costlier than gas cars. Diesel fuel prices are also higher than gasoline. 

Then are they worth buying? That depends on what you need it for.

For any heavy-duty purpose, diesel is still the best option. And it will be until Elon musk manages to make an affordable cyber truck.  

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