Diesel vs. Gas Engines
Whether you are thinking about purchasing a diesel car or truck or becoming a diesel mechanic or simply want to compare a diesel powered vehicle to a more traditional unleaded gasoline powered vehicle, there are several things you need to consider and learn about. Each style of engine has its own advantages and disadvantages, so knowing what you need and how you need it for your individualized lifestyle is extremely important.
Today’s diesel engines are not what they used to be 10 or even 5 years ago. Gone are the days of smelly exhaust and unacceptably loud engine noise. Diesel engines are now much cleaner, have more power and are much more reliable. These are some of the reasons that we are seeing more and more regular automobiles with diesel engines instead of the traditional gasoline engine.
Let’s look at several differences between these two engine types.
Are the Engines of Diesel Trucks and Cars Better?
In theory, a diesel truck engine is very similar to the engine of a truck powered by gasoline. They are both internal combustion engines that are designed to transform one form of energy to another form of energy. This energy then creates linear motion, which causes forward motion to occur. The major difference is how the combustion happens. A gasoline truck engine has fuel combustion happen because of sparks from spark plugs. A diesel truck engine has the fuel combustion occur through the heat of the compressed air inside the engine.
Safety of the Engine
As any diesel mechanic will tell you, even though you can flame diesel fuel in the open air using just a wick, it is much less explosive than gasoline and does not produce a flammable vapor. That means a diesel engine will never vapor lock. In addition, a diesel rechnician will tell you that the engines in diesel trucks are more efficient because of their fuel efficiency, which is nearly constant in comparison to the sporadic nature of a gasoline engine which can use more fuel to get less power.
As any diesel engine mechanic will tell you, what makes an automobile so attractive is its ability to accelerate quickly. For that reason, we must consider the performance difference between the two engine types. Because engines in diesel trucks and automobiles are focused on torque instead of horsepower, they will run more efficiently but accelerate quite slowly in comparison. For many automobile owners, that lack of acceleration is unacceptable. For drivers who are looking to use their car or truck for towing heavy loads such as campers or boats, a diesel engine makes more sense.
When comparing a diesel engine to a gasoline engine, we cannot overlook the efficiency between both engines. If you are looking for an engine that is going to be used long term, then a diesel engine is going to be right for you because you will save money over the lifespan of the engine. With 20 – 30% less fuel consumption, the savings can really add up. Diesel engines also have a longer lifespan than their gasoline counterparts. A typical diesel engine will last around 350,000 miles before needing an overhaul, the gasoline counterpart is good for about 120,000 miles. If you are looking for short term advantages, however, then a gasoline engine will be for you because it will take several years for a gasoline engine to be less cost effective overall than a diesel engine.
Ultimately the environmental benefit of using a diesel engine is what swings the argument in favor of using it primarily. The engines of diesel trucks and automobiles create only a minimal amount of carbon monoxide, so minimal, in fact, that they can be used underground. Less carbon monoxide impact on our atmosphere means a healthier planet, and that is something we should all be striving toward.