November 16, 2021
Compared to European motorists, South African counterparts have been lagging in the use of diesel-powered cars. It took two vehicles to wake up the South African diesel motoring world– the Golf IV TDI and the BMW E46 320d. What was most convincing was that the acceleration from 0-100 km/hr by diesel cars could equal that of petrol cars.1
For many years, the turbodiesel engine could not match the performance of the naturally aspirated petrol engine, but the turning point came with the development of high-pressure injector systems.
From 2000 to 2010, intense R&D conducted overseas resulted in the production of high-quality injectors using the Piezo ceramic charge technology. This, in turn, provided mind-blowing amounts of torque. In addition, diesel fuel economy proved to be about 20-30% more efficient than any similar petrol engine.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, they say, and so even if you drive using an incredible piece of engineering such as a diesel engine, it won't do you any good if the fuel quality is below standard. Inferior quality diesel can destroy a diesel engine.
While these piezo valves are electrically charged, they expand and contract, delivering precise fuel atomisation under high pressure. The pressures involved are massive, reaching 3000 bar. This explains why turbodiesel engines have such great torque compared to equivalent-sized turbo-petrol engines.
When the stakes are high with such high-pressure systems, the risk of damage is great. Imagine a small particle contaminant accelerating under pressure through the minuscule-sized opening of the injector. Unfortunately, South Africa’s diesel is considerably dirtier compared to the European one. South African diesel has been of industrial fuel quality, catering for tractors and heavy transport. The latter’s engines operate under much less pressure, thus eliminating the risk of engine damage.
At the pump, 2 grades of diesel fuel are available – one with a sulphur content of 500 ppm and the other 50 ppm. So naturally, choose the latter. But beware of particle contamination that could occur at some derelict-looking service stations, which may well have old and neglected diesel storage tanks. When diesel is transferred from the tanker to the storage tank, to the pump, and into the car’s tank, the risk of very tiny particles could damage fuel injectors.
So, choose a new and clean garage that enjoys much traffic and receives short-haul deliveries. This is crucial because the longer a tanker travels, the more the outside ambient temperature can warm up the diesel. If the tanker then delivers diesel at a garage after sunset, water can condense in the diesel. Water can destroy injectors. Clean garages also have less dust, which is ideal because dust can damage a diesel engine's injectors.
You have read about how to protect the diesel engine of your car, but what about protecting the car itself from accidents? Contact PMD for information on several affordable car insurance products, including useful benefits such as fixed premiums* and a reduce- to zero* excess. T’s and C’s apply.
May 12, 2022