How does a Diesel Car Engine Work 

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
How does a Diesel Car Engine Work 

A diesel car engine differs from petrol in the way it generates the process which causes movement. This article will explain in detail all the conditions necessary for the system to start. We recommend reading our article on how to make your diesel engine last longer.

To satisfy your curiosity and be more informed when choosing a diesel or petrol engine, we at will give you the basics on how a car diesel engine works.

You may also be interested in: How to Tell If Your Car Is Diesel or Petrol

The ignition

The spark needed for a petrol engine to start is not necessary in a diesel engine. The key is in the ignition: the ignition of the fuel occurs because a very high pressure is injected through very small holes, which is sprayed on contact with the air in the chamber, which is also at a very high temperature. This generates the ignition, without need for a spark plug.

How does a Diesel Car Engine Work  - The ignition


Movement of the diesel engine is initiated because, as a result of this ignition, gas in the fuel chamber expands which, in turn, causes the piston to descend. This, in turn, results in movement of the connecting rod, which transmits the drive to the crankshaft.

How does a Diesel Car Engine Work  - Movement


In diesel engines there are plugs, but they don't work in the same way as in petrol engines; rather, they are glow plugs, these are found in only some engines to make the temperature higher when the engine has been cold for a while and you start it once again. In older diesel engines, spark plugs are responsible for heating the combustion chamber of each cylinder before starting and, also, to keep them warmed when ignited.

However, in newer diesel engines this preheating is not necessary, so the spark plugs only heat the chamber afterwards. This reduces environmental pollution as it helps prevent the emission of black smoke.

The fuel

Most diesel engines can run on several types of fuel. Therefore, a diesel engine will be able to run on other fuels such as bio-diesel, which is made out of several vegetable oils that come from waste oils (though it is not highly recommended due to the possible damage it can have in the injection system). Moreover, if you find that the car engine light is on, the fuel may be the problem.

Moreover, diesel engines will burn less fuel, therefore you will also be saving up on petrol too.

How does a Diesel Car Engine Work  - The fuel

If you want to read similar articles to How does a Diesel Car Engine Work , we recommend you visit our Cars category.

  • The fuel in diesel cars is responsible for acid rain, smog in cities and other conditions that can affect human health.

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