Most vehicles purchased in the United States today are powered by gasoline engines; only around one of every 100 is a diesel. Due to the way the engine is designed, diesel is typically able to reach 45 miles per gallon on the highway, significantly better than most gasoline-powered cars. Knowing the basics of the workings of a diesel engine makes it easier to make educated decisions about buying or maintaining one. What comprises a diesel engine to allow this superior performance?

Diesel Fuel Tank

A fuel tank must have three openings. One opening is for filling, one is for discharging and one is for draining the fuel. The tank also needs vents so that air can replace fuel as it’s being used. Fuel tanks are designed to carry enough fuel for distant trips.

Diesel Fuel Lines

Diesel engines have three types of fuel lines. A lightweight fuel line is used in areas with little to no pressure. A medium-weight fuel line is used in the areas between the fuel tank and fuel injection pump where the fuel pressure level is medium at most. A heavyweight fuel line such as an AirDog fuel line is the only type that can endure the high pressures between the fuel injection pump and the fuel injectors.

Diesel Fuel Filters

Most diesel fuel systems need to be filtered a few times to make sure that foreign particles don’t clog the fuel system. Typically, there are three progressive filters; the diesel fuel transfer pump, or the fuel tank has a filter screen closeby. A primary fuel filter and a secondary filter are also present.

Diesel Fuel Transfer Pumps

High-speed diesel fuel systems use diesel fuel transfer pumps which supply fuel automatically to the injection system. These pumps are often equipped with an air-release lever.

Diesel Fuel Injectors

Piezoelectricity (when applied mechanical stress causes an electric charge to collect in a solid material) is used by modern diesel fuel injectors. These fuel injectors are extremely precise and they work under a lot of pressure. They’re also responsible for modern-day diesel engines to function with less noise, more power and extraordinary fuel economy.  The atomized and pressurized fuel is evenly distributed throughout the cylinders, creating smoother overall performance.

Whether you already own a diesel vehicle or are considering purchasing one, it helps to understand how they work. Diesel engines obviously have some advantages over gasoline engines, but they’re not ideal for everyone. However, most people automatically choose a gasoline vehicle without any consideration of diesel, so it’s always good to learn about different options.