How To: Maintain A Diesel Engine

You already understand changing the oil and air filter are crucial to properly maintaining an engine. To prolong the life of a diesel engine, you can incorporate some other common processes. Follow these tips to better your diesel engine.


  • Allow the engine to warm-up for a minimum of five minutes before applying a load.

  • If loads are applied to the engine without proper warm-up, engine seizures, failures or premature wear may develop.

  • Also, warm-up the transmission oils when operating the machine in cold ambient temperatures.

  • Cold temperatures increase the oils viscosity. This can cause delayed oil circulation or create abnormally low hydraulic pressures.

  • To warm-up the hydraulic oils, run the engine at about 50 percent of the rated engine rpm (see chart).


You want a warm engine, not an overheated one. If you do experience engine overheating, do the following:

  1. Stop the machine operation in a safe place and keep the engine idling under no load.

  2. Do not stop the engine suddenly, allow it to run about five minutes under no load, then shut it down.

  3. Keep yourself away from the machine for at least 30 minutes and allow it to cool. Let the steam stop.

  4. Never remove the radiator cap while the engine is running or immediately after stopping. Otherwise, hot coolant will be forced out from the radiator.

  5. Only remove radiator cap when cool enough to touch with bare hands. Slowly loosen the cap to the first stop to relieve pressure before removing the cap completely.

  6. Determine the repair required, complete the repair and fill the radiator with the correct concentration of coolant antifreeze. Check the concentration with a temperature corrected hydrometer or ask a service department to check it with a refractometer.

  7. Securely tighten the radiator cap. If the cap is loose or improperly installed, coolant may leak, and the engine will overheat.

  8. Be sure to dispose of the used coolant-antifreeze properly. This solution is poisonous to people, pets, wildlife and plants. Consult your local city or county government if you have any questions about the proper disposal of coolant-antifreeze solution.

  9. If you do not have the facilities or tools to service your cooling system or to dispose of the hazardous waste, you should let a service department do the work.

Source: Kubota Tractor Corporation

Above 32 degrees F at least five minutes
32 degrees to 14 degrees F five to 10 minutes
14 degrees to -4 degrees F 10 to 15 minutes
Below -4 degrees F more than 15 minutes

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