Common Engine Problems in Heavy-Duty Trucks and How to Troubleshoot

Common Engine Problems in Heavy-Duty Trucks

These robust vehicles' engines are their heart, and problems with them can result in expensive downtime and business interruptions. The ability to recognize and fix typical engine issues in heavy-duty trucks is crucial for vehicle owners, operators, and drivers. In this post, we'll look at some of the most typical engine faults that heavy-duty trucks could have and discuss how to diagnose these problems quickly and successfully.

Low engine performance or power

Low engine performance or power is a frequent issue that heavy-duty truck drivers can experience. This problem can show itself as a lack of acceleration, a loss in the vehicle's ability to pull, or a general decline in power. Low engine power can be caused by several things, such as fuel contamination, blocked air filters, worn-out glowplugs, or turbocharger troubles. Some tips to increase lower engine performance include:

  • If the air filter is blocked or dusty, replace it.
  • Ensure the fuel filters are clean and operating correctly
  • Check the fuel system for any blockages or leaks.
  • Check the turbocharger's functionality and scan it for wear or damage.

Engine Misfires

When one or more cylinders fail to ignite correctly, the engine runs rough and unevenly. This is known as an engine misfire. Misfires can be brought on by faults with the engine's timing, fuel injectors, or glowplugs.

  • To figure out which cylinders are firing incorrectly, use a diagnostic scanner.
  • Check and fix any damaged components.
  • Check the timing of the engine and make any required adjustments.


When left unattended, overheating is a serious issue that can result in engine damage. Problems with the cooling system, coolant leaks, a broken thermostat, or a clogged radiator could bring it on.

  • Examine the coolant level and look for leaks.
  • Check the hoses, water pump, radiator, and other parts of the cooling system for any evidence of damage or obstruction.
  • To make sure the thermostat is operating correctly by testing it.

Excessive Exhaust Smoke

Depending on the color of the smoke, excessive exhaust fumes can indicate several engine issues. Black smoke can indicate a high fuel-to-air ratio or problems with the fuel system, white smoke can indicate coolant seeping into the combustion chamber, and blue smoke can indicate burning oil.

  • To cut down the list of probable sources, find out what color the smoke is.
  • If blue smoke is evident, look for worn piston rings or oil leaks.
  • If white smoke is seen, look for leaks in the cooling system.
  • If black smoke is present, fix the fuel system or change the air/fuel ratio.

High Energy Usage

Increased operating expenses for vehicle owners can result from a rapid rise in fuel consumption, which can indicate engine issues. Several things, including a clogged air filter, difficulties with the fuel system, misfiring engines, and exhaust system issues, can cause high fuel consumption.

  • Check the air filter and replace it if necessary.
  • Inspect the fuel system for leaks, obstructions, or broken parts.
  • To guarantee correct ignition and combustion, address engine misfires.

Unusual Noises

It's crucial to solve any issues that arise when the engine makes unusual sounds right away to save additional harm. These sounds can be rattling, screaming, grinding, or banging.

  • Determine the noise's origin and if the engine, belts, or other parts are to blame.
  • Ensure proper levels of lubrication.
  • Inspect the engine's parts for wear or damage.

Starting Slowly or Not At All

It can be annoying and unpleasant for vehicle operations when the engine has trouble starting or completely fails to start. Weak batteries, damaged starter motors, faults with the fuel system, and ignition problems can all contribute to hard start or no start problems.

  • Make sure the battery is in excellent shape and retaining a charge
  • Check and validate the starting motor's functionality.
  • Look for any leaks or obstructions in the fuel system.

Ensure Function Coolant Systems

An engine overheating and probable damage can result from a coolant leak, which a rapid loss of coolant can indicate. There are several places in the cooling system where coolant leaks can happen, including hoses, the water pump, the radiator, and even the engine.

  • Look for any obvious leaks in the cooling system.
  • Test the cooling system's pressure to find any concealed leaks.
  • Indicators of a more serious internal engine problem, such as coolant in the engine oil, should be looked for.

Check Engine Alerts 

Onboard diagnostic systems track the performance and emissions of the engine in contemporary heavy-duty trucks. The dashboard's engine warning light or check engine light will turn on if a problem is found.

  • To read the error codes kept in the vehicle's computer, use a diagnostic scanner.
  • To pinpoint the precise issue or region of concern, interpret the trouble codes.
  • Using the data the diagnostic scanner provides, address the root problem.

Contact Us

Heavy-duty truck operations must be dependable and effective, recognizing and fixing frequent engine issues. With Diesel Worx, understanding the various causes of these problems, ranging from poor engine power and misfires to overheating and excessive fuel consumption, is crucial for accurate diagnosis and prompt repairs. With routine inspections, heavy-duty trucks can be kept on the road and maintained for optimum performance and durability. 

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