The Diesel Engine

Everything You Could Possibly
Want to Know About The Diesel Engine!

What is a Diesel Engine?

  • A diesel engine, sometimes called a compression-ignition engine, is a type of combustion engine that uses compressed heat for ignition.
  • It burns the fuel inside the combustion chamber.
  • This mechanism of action is in contrast to spark-ignition engines like petrol engines or gas engines, which make use of a spark plug to ignite a mixture of air-fuel.

Who Invented the Diesel Engine?

The English inventor, Herbert Akroyd Stuart, began to investigate the possibility of utilizing paraffin oil (extremely similar to modern diesel) for use in an engine. Richard Hornsby and Sons built his engines from 1891.

Rudolf Diesel, however, developed a well-known high-compression prototype engine in 1897. Akroyd had stopped trying to improve his engine in 1893, but Rudolf Diesel kept tweaking and perfecting his engine. By 1898, Diesel had turned into a millionaire. His engines were being used everywhere – to power marine craft, trucks and automobiles, water and electric plants, and pipelines. Eventually, his engines would power transoceanic shipping, factors, oil fields, and mines.

When Was the Diesel Engine Made?

The first internal combustion engine was made in 1891. However, it was perfected for many years after.

Rudolf Diesel’s model began being used internationally in 1897.

The diesel engine was perfected over an entire century, and new versions of diesel engines are being made to this day.

Where Was the Diesel Engine Made?

Herbert Akroyd Stuart built the very first internal combustion engine in 1885 in England.

The first well-known prototype Diesel engine was built by Rudolf Diesel in 1897 in Germany.

How Does a Diesel Engine Work?

Diesel combustion engines work by utilizing extremely compressed hot air to ignite fuel instead of a spark plug.

It is the main way that they different from gasoline engines. A high compression ratio significantly increases the efficiency of the engine.

What Kinds of Advantages Does a Diesel Engine Have?

Diesel engines have several distinct advantages over different kinds of internal combustion engines:

  • They don’t burn as much fuel as a petrol engine for the same amount of work done, because of the greater expansion ratio and the higher temperature of combustion. For example, gasoline engines are about 30% efficient, and diesel engines can convert more than 45% of the fuel energy into actual mechanical energy.
  •  They are also more reliable and easily adaptable in damp environments. There are no spark plugs, wires, coils, etc. so there is one less source of frequencies that can interfere with communication equipment and navigation, which is very important aircraft and marine applications.
  •  A diesel engine’s life is more than twice as long as a petrol engine, because of the added strength of the parts used. Diesel engines even have better lubrication properties.
  •  Diesel fuel is believed to be safer than petrol in a number of applications.
  •  Diesel engines generate less waste in exhaust and cooling.
  •  Diesel exhaust has a minimal carbon monoxide content.

Why Use a Diesel Engine

What are the Pros and Cons of Using a Diesel Engine?

PROS of a Diesel Engine

  • Diesels get excellent mileage. Diesel-powered cars can deliver just as much fuel economy as gasoline-electric hybrid cars, and sometimes more.
  • Diesel fuel is one of the most efficient and energy-dense fuels on the market today. Since it has more usable energy than gasoline, it has a lot better fuel economy.
  • Diesel engines don’t have any distributors or spark plugs. Therefore, they never have to get ignition tune-ups.
  • Diesel engines are built a lot more ruggedly to take on the rigors of higher compression. As a result, they usually go a lot longer than cars powered by gasoline, before they require repairs. Mercedes-Benz has the longevity record with many of their vehicles with more than 900,000 miles on their original engines. You probably don’t want to hang on to the same vehicle for that long.
  • Since diesel engines burn fuel in a certain way, a diesel engine will offer a lot more torque to the driveshaft than a gasoline engine does. Because of this, most contemporary diesel passenger vehicles are a lot faster from a resting beginning than their gas-powered counterparts are. They still have an improved fuel economy, though.

CONS of a Diesel Engine

  • Even though diesel fuel was once a lot cheaper than gasoline, it is now about the same price as gasoline. Diesel fuel used to be used primarily for semi-trucks, industrial and home generators, and heating oil, but as the demand has gone up because of the rash of new diesel-powered passenger cars, the price of diesel will probably go up.
  • Even though diesel fuel is considered a lot more efficient since it converts heat into energy instead of sending the heat right out of the tailpipe like gas-powered cars do, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get better performance.
  • Diesel engines have to have ongoing maintenance to make sure that they keep running. You need to change the fuel filters, oil, and air regularly.
  • If you don’t do the maintenance, and the fuel injection system falls apart, you could have to pay a diesel mechanic more cash to get things fixed than you would have to repair for a gasoline system since diesel engines are more advanced, technologically.

Who Are the Major Diesel Engine Manufacturers?

Lets take a look at some of the major manufacturers of diesel engines:


Cummins manufactures a whole line-up of natural gas-powered and diesel engines for off-highway and on-highway use. It goes after the RV, truck, and bus market, but it also goes after the mining, oil and gas, and construction market.


Detroit Diesel manufactures diesel engines, and it is based in Detroit, Michigan. It manufactures chassis components and heavy-duty diesel engines for the major truck markets. It has built more than five million engines since 1938, and more than one million of them are still in operation.


Diesel has been an option for fans of heavy-duty pick-up trucks for a long time ago, and the sounds of a serious Dodge diesel-powered engine will be familiar to most fans of these trucks. Dodge has a full range of heavy-duty and light-duty diesel trucks.


Ford has a whole line-up gas-powered and diesel pick-up trucks. For example, the Ford Super-Duty Truck is a stellar diesel-powered truck.


Volvo unveiled its new diesel engines for 2015 for cars like the XC60 Crossover, V60 Wagon, and S60 Sedan.

What Are Some of the Hottest Diesel-Powered Cars?

Almost every major car company is unveiling diesel-powered cars and trucks. Diesel-powered cars are on the rise across the world.

Jaguar XJ

Most Americans still link diesel power to big semi-trucks or old Mercedes turbo-diesels, but the XJ’s recent appearance on an episode of Top Gear showed car fans that contemporary diesel-powered cars can be economical, powerful, and refined.

Lexus IS 220d

The top speed of this impressive diesel-powered Lexus is 134 mph. It also gets 44.8 mpg, and it looks awesome.

Audi A3 TDI

This is an impressive car with great horsepower and torque numbers. The A3 is a beautiful-looking specimen, too. Most Audis look incredibly impressive, by default.

Renault Laguna Coupe

This car can get you from 0-60 in just seven seconds. It has a robust four-wheel active steering system for better handling. It can deliver awesome driving thrills while giving you 40 mpg.

C5 HDi

Citroen's have benefited from an alliance with Peugeot and Ford. This car has a mpg of 33.6, and it just takes 8.4 seconds for it to reach 60 mph. The Citroen is a stylish, handsome, and modern sedan.

Diesel-powered cars are making a comeback. It’s a good idea for you to learn everything you can about diesel so you can be more educated and open to buying a diesel-powered car. 


Diesel technology is getting improved all the time. Just look at the history of diesel engines. They have been continually improved for more than a century. Plus, with all the government pressure on getting manufacturers to produce low-emission diesel engines for buses, trucks, and passenger cars, there are better, low-sulfur diesel fuels, and there are advanced filters that cut down on toxic emissions.

Diesels run cooler, safer, last longer, and diesels produce minimal carbon monoxide. They are also more efficient. There are just so many distinct advantages to buying a diesel-powered car or truck.

The unreliable and dirty diesel cars of the 1980's gave diesel-powered cars a bad name, but that reputation has long worn off.

Talk to your car manufacturer of choice about getting a diesel-powered car. Keep in mind, though, that diesel fuel prices have risen. If you’re in the market for a heavy-duty truck, then think about opting for a diesel-powered one. Don’t discount diesel just because of the negative things you’ve heard about it over the years. A ton has changed in the last decade.