Debunking Common Diesel Myths

As with most technologies that have been around for very long time, there’s a lot of myths associated with diesel that are well, just as old as it.

When people think of diesel, they think old pulley generators that take ages to rev up, trailer-moving trucks that move at a snail’s pace, and smog, a lot of smog. It’s also associated with engines so loud you’ll need mufflers just to be in the same vicinity as them.

Some of these myths used to be true, others always elicited a raised eyebrow from those in the know. Whatever the case may be, we’re here to bust all the common misinformation that’s spread about diesel and how it works.

Myth 1: Diesel Engines Are Noisy

There’s not much to say about this apart from the fact that this is simply not true for modern diesel engines.

For most people, when they think diesel, they think tractors, trucks, generators that send small tremors around them as they start.

A modern efficient, diesel engine however is not just a lot less noisy, it’s very efficient. Diesel cars with common-rail fuel injection are pretty much as quiet as petrol engines because of more precise amounts of fuel being injected into the system.

Myth 2: Diesel Engines Won’t Start in the Cold

Like most of the items on this list, all of these things may have been at one point true but no longer hold.

Modern diesel engines look nothing like how they were first conceptualized a century ago! The science of it is that diesel does gel up at lower temperatures, which produces major problems with fuel surface area and combustion. There’s a bunch of technologies that have made this a non-issue today however. The most common of these are glow plugs that warm the fuel by using the battery.

Myth 3: Diesel is Killing the Environment

Remember that long, black, billowing smoke trail you saw coming from a tractor when you were driving past farmlands? It can really make you think that diesel engines are the devil for burgeoning climate change crisis.

The truth is, estimates show that a good diesel engine can emit anywhere from twenty percent to almost HALF, yes half, less CO2 compared to gasoline engines. While it is true that NOX  numbers are still higher, even those are being brought down to gasoline levels in newer cars.

Myth 4: Diesel Performs Worse Than Petrol At High Altitudes

This is same as the story with fuel emissions. Diesel actually performs better than petrol at high altitudes.

This is because of how finicky petrol is in terms of the right ratio of air to petrol, while diesel engines are a lot more versatile and less…finicky. Turbochargers that pump exhaust gas into combustion chambers just aren’t something that can be done on a gasoline engine, making diesel your first choice if you live way up in the mountains.

Myth 5: Cooking Oil is Basically Biodiesel

Have you ever found yourself wondering if you could just pour that can of sunflower oil you bought at half off into your diesel engine?

While we hope this isn’t the case, if you have ever contemplated this, it’s important to know that while diesel can be made from the same essential compounds, the two are treated completely differently.

Furthermore, even biodiesel is used in cars as B20, which means the mix only has 20 percent biodiesel.

This really is the strangest of diesel myths.


For any more questions you may have about diesel engines, feel free to call us  at (07) 4982 4919.