Could Your Diesel Fuel Issue Be Caused by Something Unexpected?

Posted on: 19 January 2022


If you own a diesel-powered car or truck, you may be experiencing some performance issues that are difficult to quantify. In particular, you may notice that the vehicle hesitates when you're trying to overtake, may stall without reason or may be difficult to start in the first place. In all these cases, you may suspect issues with the fuel delivery but may not realise that these problems could originate somewhere other than the engine itself. So what could be going wrong?

Understanding the Process

Diesel engines like this rely on a common fuel rail injection system. These are very sophisticated parts and the injectors themselves are highly engineered components. Each of the injectors is designed to force the diesel fuel into the engine at precisely the right time and under enormous pressure. The diesel fuel will be pumped from the tank into the common rail before it is sprayed out of each injector through a microscopic hole.

Clearly, each injector will need to be kept in tiptop condition if it is to perform its expected task with surgical precision. And the parts are very well manufactured in the first place given that they need to operate in an extreme environment and be as reliable as possible.


Based on the reported symptoms, it may be easy to suspect fuel injector problems. A mechanic may certainly have a look at these injectors to make sure that they are not clogged and able to operate at full capacity. Yet a skilled mechanic may also have a closer look at the fuel tank itself.

Some people may overlook the tank as a potential cause of the problem, but the issue may be due to contaminated diesel fuel. Unfortunately, not all commercial fuel is the same, and, from time to time, a "dirty" batch may find its way into the delivery pipeline.

Fuel Problems

It may be necessary to have a close look at the fuel by analysing its content to see if there is any contamination, any tiny particles suspended within or the presence of water. If any water is present, it may separate from the fuel when the vehicle has been stationary for some time and become more evident.

Expect the Unexpected

So, don't automatically assume that there is a problem within the engine bay but check for other potential eventualities. If the injectors, sensors, valves and pumps appear to be okay, then the issue may reside within the tank. There's one way to find out, of course, and you should take the vehicle to a mechanic for their guidance.