How To Start a Diesel Engine That Has Been Sitting? [Important Steps]

Sometimes we can neglect the care for our diesel automobiles. There are many factors such as long trips abroad, out-of-town vacations, or having another car you prefer. 

Like a human body, Diesel engines get harder to run after sitting for a while. The longer it isn’t run, the higher chance of problems surfacing. 

There are a couple of steps each car owner should take to get Diesel engines back in running shape.

1. Clean any visible Gunk

When Diesel engines sit for a long time, the fluids inside tend to evaporate. When this happens, it leaves a thick material that is responsible for damaging the engine.

It can make parts of the engine stick together and slowly disintegrate as long as it’s there.

Harmful things like rust can start to develop, which will be harder and more expensive to remove. That is why any visible gunk should be removed.

2. Lubricate the Engine

The first thing that happens when a Diesel engine sits is that the lubricating fluids that run throughout it stop.

This makes it the different components of an engine difficult to start its motion. Kind of like going for a jog without the proper warmup

So the first thing to do is lubricate the engine. Specifically, the parts that should be properly lubricated are the pistons, rings, and cylinders.

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New fluids that you put in the Diesel engine help flush out any traces of the old fluids.

3. Empty the Fuel Tank

The fuel tank is where the diesel sits. When trying to start a stagnant diesel Vehicle, make sure to empty the fuel tank first and flush out the fuel injectors. 

New diesel fuel should be integrated into the engine to avoid any further damage. It can also prevent cruddy gasoline from going back into the engine. 

4. Remove Glow Plugs

Once you try and start the diesel engine, it is recommended that you remove the glow plugs. It is located in the combustion chamber usually. Generally, it will make cold starting easier.

Reasons Why Diesel Engines are Hard to Start

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A common reason why Diesel engines are hard to start after sitting is because of disrupted fuel delivery.

There are a lot of different factors that can be responsible for this problem. It is best that a professional take a look, but you can try and find them yourself. 

Issues like mistimed injectors, fuel line leaks, clogged fuel filters, and clicking can be a possibility for disrupted fuel delivery.

Proper Maintenance and Upkeep

Once you get the diesel engine up and running, its maintenance and upkeep are pretty easy to do.

It just needs to be occasionally run; maybe take it for a drive around the block as well. The fluids should be changed regularly as well. 

If you store the vehicle in colder climates, make sure to add lubricant additives to the Diesel fuel to prevent it from gelling.

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Also, make sure that the fuel isn’t contaminated by other substances as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should Diesel engines be run?

Some people claim to get away with starting their diesel engines once a month. It is recommended that these engines should be run at least once a week.

Normally, it should be for a minimum of 15-20 minutes or just enough for the engine to heat up.

How long can Diesel sit in the vehicle?

This depends on the quality of your diesel fuel and where the vehicle is stored. When the diesel fuel is not contaminated, it can sit for long because no foreign matter can affect the fuel. So, it can be stored for as long as a month. 

Climate can also play a part since diesel fuel tends to gel up without the proper lubricant additives. It can sit longer in warmer climates rather than in areas with harsh winters. 

What are other reasons for difficulty in starting?

Aside from engine component malfunction, another good reason for the difficulty in starting is the electrical system.

Always check the date of the battery in the vehicle. You should change it if it is beyond its recommended period of usage.

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