7 Diesel Truck Myths Busted

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diesel truck myths Diesel trucks have become more popular than ever, especially with the recent updates that have been done to them to get better fuel economy while keeping the same reliability and comfort as their gas powered brethren. Thanks to the recent popularity of diesel trucks however, more and more diesel myths have popped up and old ones have gained a stronger foothold. Diesels could be the way all trucks are in the future as gas prices continue to increase, so it’s time to lay some myths to rest. Here are seven of the most persistent myths out there that need to go away now.

1. All Diesels are Loud and Dirty

diesel myths dirty (Photo courtesy of flickr) For most people, when you mention you drive a diesel, the first image that comes to mind is that of a giant truck spewing black smoke. While there are trucks out there that do this, any truck made in recent years will be squeaky clean in regard to emissions, thanks to the EPA. Along with the smoke myth is the idea that a diesel has to be obnoxiously loud. While some truck owners love putting huge exhaust systems on to get some extra sound out of their engines, this doesn’t have to be the case. Thanks to common-rain technology most diesels are nearly as quiet as their gas-powered counterparts. More and more diesel cars and trucks have been sold in recent years yet most people don’t notice the increase because they are neither dirty nor loud.

2.  Diesels Cost More than Gas Trucks To Maintain and Repair

diesel myths maintenance (Photo courtesy of flickr) Back when diesel fuel cost more than traditional gasoline, this myth gained a pretty strong foothold, but in actuality it’s not true. A well-maintained diesel engine can easily go for 300,000 miles without any major issues. This means if you’re planning on owning a truck until it dies, diesel will definitely be the best deal for you. While oil changes on a diesel can be a little pricy, newer diesel trucks only require them at 7,000 to 10,000 mile intervals, so the higher price is more than made up for with additional mileage. Parts may cost more for a diesel engine, but they last far longer and break down far less than a gas engine. This makes a diesel a better long-haul value every time.

3. Propane is Just Like Nitrous for Diesels

diesel propane myth (Photo courtesy of flickr) This myth started with the diesel-tuning crowd. Guys that wante to get the most horsepower out of their engines came up with the idea that propane, when sprayed into a diesel engine like nitrous oxide, will give the engine a huge power boost. This myth is not only untrue, but it’s pretty dangerous. Other than both being a gas, nitrous and propane are completely different. Propane is a fuel while nitrous oxide is an oxidizer. This means that putting propane into your engine is like adding a second fuel to your engine while adding nitrous is like giving your current fuel a boost. Propane is difficult to control and can easily cause major internal issues in your engine and beyond that, it gives a mild boost at best.

4. Pure Biodiesel Can Be Run Through a Stock Engine

biodiesel myths (Photo courtesy of flickr) While it is possible to convert a traditional diesel engine to run on solely biodiesel, your stock diesel engine will not be happy if you add pure biodiesel to it. Most commercial diesel fuels contain some biodiesel in them, but at around 10-20% this isn’t nearly similar to running pure biodiesel. To run pure biodiesel you would need to upgrade parts like the lift pump, fuel filter, and fuel lines. The biodiesel would need heated before reaching the engine, too. Biodiesel is more of a solvent and more viscous than conventional diesel fuel, so using it as a direct replacement will give you nothing but issues.

5. Biodiesel and Vegetable Oil are the Same

diesel vegetable oil (Photo courtesy of flickr) Speaking of biodiesel, a common misconception is that biodiesel and unused vegetable oil are one and the same. Biodiesel is a processed fuel that goes through a multi-step procedure to alter its chemical makeup and remove as much methanol as possible, as methanol affects rubber in a very negative way. Beyond this, vegetable oil is more viscous and corrosive than biodiesel and biodiesel can be made from other sources like algae, sunflowers, and soy oils.

6. Diesel Trucks Get Great Gas Mileage When Towing

diesel myths towing (Photo courtesy of flickr) While diesel trucks get great fuel mileage, just like a gas-powered truck you’re going to get some negative effects to your mileage when towing. The myth that diesels get 20 mpg or more when towing are not only incorrect, but can be a big surprise to new truck owners when they do their first tow. When towing a fairly heavy load the average diesel truck can expect to get around 15 mpg and while this is still better than a gas-powered truck, it’s a far cry from what some myth-believers tout.

7. Diesel Trucks Never Start Well in Winter

diesel trucks winter (Photo courtesy of flickr) The last myth to round out this list is one every diesel owner has probably been asked about at least once. While the science behind how a diesel truck works fundamentally shows that this is true, in practice it really isn’t. A properly maintained and prepared diesel engine will start easily and on the first try every day of a normal winter. If you utilize the block heater every new diesel truck comes with and use additives designed to prevent fuel gelling in extremely cold climates, your diesel will be just fine all winter. It’s when glow plugs start to get old and batteries are poorly maintained that problems start to creep in Just like with everything else, if you care for your diesel, it will care for you. (Header image courtesy of flickr)


1) While some diesels will get 20 mpg while towing, it is unrealistic to expect to see those numbers with any regularity. There are just to many factors involved (wind, poor aerodynamics, weight, engine load, elevation, rolling resistant, etc.

2) I’m not very knowledgeable about the topic of your second questions to I included a link for you to read up more.

Posted by Marc Patrick Galeazzi on October 23, 2014

Thanks for sharing all these myths. I am sharing some other myths; please suggest me they are right or wrong?
1. Diesels Get 20+ mpg While Towing
2. If a Turbo is Laggy, it’s Better
Waiting for your response.

Posted by Jonathan Keller on October 23, 2014

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