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Why dealerships can’t (won’t) fix some heavy duty diesel engine problems

heavy duty diesel mechanic

Your check engine light keeps going on so you bring your semi in to the dealer to fix it. Three weeks later your semi is back in the dealership with the same problem.

Ever wonder why your dealership can’t seem to permanently fix the the issue? Answer: There is little incentive for the dealership to be proactive in finding solutions for a fleet’s frequent repair issues.

With warranties enabling “free” parts swapping (warranty repairs are not actually free), and with a major gap in emission system knowledge or training being available, the typical dealership is simply unable or unwilling to fix the problem. On top of that, the manufacturers haven’t exactly made it easy. Emission control systems were originally designed to be “maintenance” free, requiring some necessary cleaning procedures only at lengthy intervals.

heavy duty diesel mechanics

As this technology rolled out, and reality set in about the type of maintenance it required, dealerships, manufacturers, and fleets were already years behind.

Common issues that prevent the DPF from reaching the manufacturer service interval include improper/non-optimal ECM programming, insufficient Aftertreatment maintenance protocols, failed sensors, turbo inefficiency, and EGR failure.

Performing annual maintenance DPF cleanings might save money by preventing an expensive failure while in the field, but how much money would you save if you were able to reach the manufacturer recommended service interval? Another thing to consider is that annual DPF cleanings are arbitrary, meaning, how many DPF’s are you cleaning that don’t need to be cleaned yet?

With the correct maintenance, advanced diagnostics, training, and optimal ECM programming, you will know exactly when your DPF needs to be cleaned before it fails. And you will likely be able to meet or exceed the recommended service intervals.

DPF Maintenance Savings Industry Standard Diesel I.O. Optimized
DPF Cleanings Annual / 100,000 miles 2.5+ years / 225,000 miles
Cost per Cleaning $300+ $300+
Downtime 3 days 1 day
Cost of Downtime $1,000 / day $1,000 / day
Total Cost per Year $3,300/unit $520/unit

Over the 5-year life of a truck, that is a savings of $13,000 ($2,780 / year).

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