How do you maintain your diesel?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1988

Dear Tom and Ray,
I just purchased a 1982 Volvo GL Diesel with 91,000 miles on it. As this is the first diesel I have ever owned, what should I expect as far as any potential problems? Also, are there any tips you can pass along for general maintenance?

TOM: As far as maintenance is concerned, you should perform the following tests every six months. First, drive the vehicle to a flower shop. Go inside and take a deep breath. If you can still smell the flowers, then the diesel fumes have not yet charred your olfactory nerves.

RAY: Next, drive the car to a pay telephone and call your wife. If you can hear her screaming at you to trade-in this beast, the engine noise hasn't overwhelmed your hearing.

TOM: After a year or so, you may want to include a therapist on your route to work on the inferiority complex you will develop from all those garbage trucks passing you going up hills.

RAY: Other than that, you should care for this car just as you would care for any other car; Follow the maintenance schedule in the owners manual, and don't drive like a nut. One difference is that you should change the oil religiously every 2500 miles. Good lubrication is crucial to diesels because of their higher compression ratios and the increased rate at which this disgusting, dirty fuel contaminates engine oil. Also, unless you plan to garage the car, either buy a block heater to help it start in the winter, or don't shut it off between November and March. Now, aren't you glad you're going to be saving all that money by not buying gasoline?

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