Do Diesels Require More or More Expensive Maintenance

Messages
90
Location
Canada
I've heard it said that if you have a care with a diesel like a VW Jetta, the preventative maintenance costs are higher for the diesel than would be the case for a VW Jetta with gasoline engine. Is this correct and if so how much difference is there?
 
Messages
350
Location
Indianapolis, IN
Yes, yes, and yes. I just ditched a Jetta TDI I had since new (2001). It was always in the shop for diesel and non-diesel related issues. Body and electrical issues were non-stop. Then drivetrain issues began around 25k. I would NEVER consider owning one of these out of warranty, or w/o an iron-clad service contract. Although some of the maintenace has been reduced with the PD engine, the older ALH has an expensive fuel pump driven off the t-belt, which a T-belt replacment costs about $600 USD. Then while you have that apart, may as well do the $200 water pump, before the plastic impeller disintegrates & overheats the engine. The PD engines require a special grade of oil that is about $6/qt. plus the filter that is $8-$30, depending on where you get it. I could go on and on. Since diesel and heating oil are in high demand, diesel is no longer a bargain at the pump. You are better off with a Corolla, Civic, or other gas or hybrid car that gets 30+ MPG.
 
Messages
824
Location
San Jose area, CA
The major source of comparison has been left out. On my 2004 Honda Civic, at app 110k; a water pump and belt changes are ALSO due. Dealers and independents advertise it being app 400-500 dollars. I am also due spark plug changes. If you have priced them, the oem plugs are NOT the 2 dollar per plug variety. On a 2003 VW Jetta TDI with app 58,000 miles all I have done is DIY SCHEDULED maintenance the majority being inspection items (as is the Honda Civic). Oil changes and oil, fuel, air filter changes and tire rotations. There are no spark plugs on the TDI. It has been absolutely flawless, but yes, there are a higher % of folks reporting concerns and more concerns per report. My 2004 Honda Civic at 14,000 miles has also been absolutely flawless. The cost per mile for fuel is % wise way cheaper for the diesel. Honda Civic 35-39 mpg Jetta TDI 44-62 mpg. Corner store unleaded gas is 2.45 and #2 diesel is 2.63. The math indicates a range of.07-.0628 cpm vs .0597-.0424 cpm This may or not be a concern but the Honda seemingly is wearing tires far faster than the VW Jetta. I project 36-40k for the Honda vs 120-150k for the Jetta. Depending on your replacement sets that is a HUGE % MORE or 3.33 sets of tires to one set. So indeed if you are the average driver getting 12,000-15,000 miles per year, the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, etc are dynamite cars. If you tend to do over 15,000 miles more like 20-50k per year the diesel can be a sterling performer. [ July 21, 2005, 10:13 AM: Message edited by: ruking77 ]
 
Messages
6,429
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
quote:
Originally posted by ruking77: The major source of comparison has been left out. On my 2004 Honda Civic, at app 110k; a water pump and belt changes are ALSO due. Dealers and independents advertise it being app 400-500 dollars. I am also due spark plug changes. If you have priced them, the oem plugs are NOT the 2 dollar per plug variety.
All the Civic engines (except the Si) use the NGK PZFR6F-11 as OEM. That plug may be pricey. Being Honda, I'm sure that they spec both NGK and Denso as OEM. The Denso PKJ20CR-L11 is cross-referenced to match that NGK plug, and I wouldn't be surprised if that were listed in the owner's manual. sparkplugs.com has them $7.16 each. The NGK is over $11.
 
Messages
188
Location
so cal
Yes I would agree with some that a VW diesel's have issues but when other make's bring diesel's to the USA that are more reliable and have lower maintenance costs the diesel will have it all over the gasser. It is flat out a better way to burn fuel. I drive a VW TDI but when and if honda brings a diesel to our shores I will jump to it. Dan
 
Messages
47,790
Location
Everson WA - Pacific NW USA
average joe is not making biodiesel - that is probably a good thing....so in the Seattle area biodiesel is how much? Over $3/gallon or so. $.75 gallon? - stop piping the chum, we are about full! I suppose my time is worth something, but still is that delta "marketing costs"?
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,143
Location
New Jersey
My MB diesel was 21 years old, had 228k on it, and was simple to work on, got 30 MPG, and never really needed anything. Granted, Im pretty @nal about PM. super reliable... My father has a 96 E300D that now is almost at 170k. Same great longevity, more MPG (~36 on average), and more safety (though my 83 got me through a severe rear-ending safe as could be, to which Im eternally greatful to daimler-benz). Thing is, it has more electronics, which do go bad, and as of now, my father is driving my mother's ~29-30 MPG plymouth breeze over his 35-36 MPG MB diesel. Reason? Not because anything is awry with the MB, but becaue its cheaper to drive a regular gas car than it is to drive the higher MPG diesel, at this point. As far as I can tell, from knowing a number of people with Jettas, the problem isnt that its a diesel, the problem is that its a VW. Diesels are very reliable, and dont need any different PM than any other car in reality. Spark plugs and wires are a wash compared to glow plugs, more or less. There is less to tune up in a diesel, and IMO less to go wrong. If emissions dont matter, you can drive the diesel engine until it ingests its oil sump and seizes on itself... try that with a ga$$er. Other than the fact that oil sumps are usually larger, there isnt much of a difference. Do a few UOAs to figuree out soot loading (keep it below 2%), and you can do extended drains and everything. Of course, if you were replacing a long block, the diesel would be more, but I assume this is a non-issue. When Honda brings a diesel, oh how excellent it will be, though it will likely be nearly unservicable, parts will be located in hard to reach or just plain dumb spots, and rubber parts will all need to be replaced in about 5 years... Maybe toyota will bring a good diesel! JMH
 
Messages
4,378
Location
Camas, WA
VW has had problems with their diesels, but they've also had problems with everything else. Mercededs is exhibiting similar problems. From living with a diesel for two years, a Cummins in a Dodge truck, I don't imagine myself ever considering anything else, at least in a larger vehicle. I'll be looking for a diesel in the next car. Maintenance is less than with a gas engine and provided it's done they'll last longer, but they're less forgiving of abuse and you need to pay attention to fuel choices and/or additives in cold weather. I need to change air filters, fuel filters, oil and oil filters, and that's about it for the engine in 36k miles. Eventually there will be coolant changes, a belt change, and at something like 100k miles a valve adjustment. I need to look in the manual for anything else. I use a fuel additive for lubricity and such, but so far nothing in the oil.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,143
Location
New Jersey
1sttruck, no offense, but at 36k, NOTHING should be necessary on any vehicles. Even copper spark plugs have a life of 30k+. Long run though youre exactly right... with the correct PM done, the diesel will last significantly longer... and that PM is no different really than a gas engine (coolant, oil, filters, etc.). I will say that due to airflow requirements, turbo diesel air filters seem to get dirtier much faster than NA diesels and gassers. JMH
 
Messages
738
Location
Suburban St. Louis
quote:
I need to change air filters, fuel filters, oil and oil filters, and that's about it for the engine in 36k miles.
quote:
1sttruck, no offense, but at 36k, NOTHING should be necessary on any vehicles
Say WHAT ? ! No. Filters and oil -- not reasonable to have changed them ??
 
Messages
894
Location
Sudbury, Ontario
VW got lucky with the 81-92 1.6 non-turbo diesel. It's a decent engine but prone to blown head gaskets. The timing belt costs about 30 bucks and a tensioner is another 60 or so. With some patience and a reasonable amount of experience it is not hard to change. You can change the rest of the v-belt driven stuff whenever you want, not with the timing belt. The fuel filter is expensive but you can swap that out with spin-on filter. That's the only added stuff compared to a regular VW but they've also got timing belts too. The injection pump will usually last a long time. The glowplugs are good for 2 years. I hear there's too much unreliable technology in the TDIs. Steve
 
Messages
1,610
Location
Ohio
quote:
Originally posted by dkcase:
quote:
I need to change air filters, fuel filters, oil and oil filters, and that's about it for the engine in 36k miles.
quote:
1sttruck, no offense, but at 36k, NOTHING should be necessary on any vehicles
Say WHAT ? ! No. Filters and oil -- not reasonable to have changed them ??

Yeah JHZR2, can you explain the reasoning behind your opinion ????
 

Bill in Utah

Staff member
Messages
12,849
Location
UT
quote:
Originally posted by DR Racing: With the diesel you also have the option of making your own bio diesel fuel at a cost of about $.75 per gallon. It is not that hard to do. http://www.biodieselcommunity.org/howitsmade/ Dan
After reading the steps to make it.. [LOL!] [LOL!] [LOL!] After you figure out the cost of the; Fuel to heat oil Check Titration level kits The Lye and Methanol The power to mix The waste of water Sorry.. I just don't get it. [I dont know] I guess when I was looking for a Outfit that was easy to maintain and cheap to own, I bought a car that gets 40+ mpg (the way I drive it), has chains for timing and runs on the cheapest unleaded gas. [Burnout] Call me crazy! [Big Grin] Take care, Bill [Coffee]
 
Messages
4,378
Location
Camas, WA
I don't mind running 'double platinum' plugs for awhile, the tips seem to hold up fine, but I change the 'single platinum' plugs about yearly (12k to 15k) due to tip erosion. I don't run copper plugs in either car, but I changed the NGKs on the bikes about every 5k to 8k miles, after filing the tip once or twice. Platinum plugs lasted longer but they weren't as spunky.
 
Messages
6,429
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
quote:
Originally posted by 1sttruck: I don't mind running 'double platinum' plugs for awhile, the tips seem to hold up fine, but I change the 'single platinum' plugs about yearly (12k to 15k) due to tip erosion. I don't run copper plugs in either car, but I changed the NGKs on the bikes about every 5k to 8k miles, after filing the tip once or twice. Platinum plugs lasted longer but they weren't as spunky.
I think in several of their "family" cars, Honda uses OEM double platinum plugs for a longer emission system performance, but list standard nickel-tipped plugs as acceptable substitutes for use at reduced intervals. If I were using double-platinums in a Civic, I'd still check them every 15K miles for erosion and or platinum separation. It's so ridiculously easy to access the plugs in an inline engine. With that in mind, I'd probably just get standard nickel-tipped plugs and change them every 15K miles. That's pretty much what I did with my '89 Integra RS. I think the $2 standard NGK or Denso should be just fine in a Civic (maybe not the Si though). The double-platinums or long-life iridiums are generally a better choice for those who don't work on their own cars (and have to pay for installation) or where the plugs are hard to reach (V-engines or boxer).
 
Messages
597
Location
Salisbury, MD
My take: 1. Over the road tractor trailer - diesel wins no contest 2. Private 3/4 - 1 ton pick-up used for extensive heavy towing - diesel wins again as long as you have a savvy owner who keeps up with maintenance which will be by a dealer to avoid warranty issues while under warranty. 3. Private pick-up only occasionally used for heavy towing, not more than 15k miles per year - gasser 4. Private auto less than 30k miles per year - gasser
 
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