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Are diesel engine servicing intervals too long?
06 Sep 2016

Are diesel engine servicing intervals too long?

We’ve had at least 5 diesel vehicles this year exhibiting what could have turned out to be complex expensive faults to fix. One of them is renowned for injector issues which if needing all four replacing would run into 4 digits to fix. Two of the others belong to a driving school and had just over 60000 miles both with main dealer service history. The common denominator, the fuel filter believe it or not. I’m pleased to say we did not overlook ‘the basics’ and fall into the trap of looking for more complex issues but successfully repaired the cars with a simple filter change. What struck me is the increase in this type of fault, I would have called it very rare until this year but it would appear to be on the increase.

I think there are a number of factors that come into play.

Fixed Price Servicing

Consumer spending is down we all know that, but in response to less work being out there to go round there has been an increase in fixed price servicing even from the main dealers. The object is to entice you in of course, so it seems that essential parts to be changed have become in some cases options. I have seen a fair few lists this year advising of work required which falls outside the ‘fixed price’ and not once has a fuel filter been included in the price or suggested in the list.

Fuel Quality

I’m not looking to start a debate with this one, but you can search on the internet and on any motor forum and there are thousands of threads pitching branded fuel against supermarket fuel. Also the addition of Bio diesel mixed in with our fossil fuel seems to gain a lot of debate. Regardless of the debate nearly all cars only have one line of defence between what goes in the tank and the very expensive to repair modern diesel fuel system, the humble fuel filter!

Changing the filter regularly is no guarantee of trouble free motoring, but when it is becoming more common place for diesel injectors to be costing more than £700 + VAT each (and there are at least 4 fitted) would you really want to take that risk?


If you’ve owned the car from new then you know the history and perhaps if the filter has been overlooked or gone beyond it’s scheduled change look to get it changed as soon as possible.

If you have bought the car second hand then most independent garages like us use the Autodata system which gives intervals in mileage and months, this tells us what is due for change and what is to be inspected at any given interval. This is a similar system to what the main dealer should use, and with this information and hopefully some service history it is possible to piece together what needs to be carried out. If no history is available I would put the fuel filter into the same bracket as the essentials, such as making sure oil and filter is changed regularly and the cambelt is not overdue.

The proverbial saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is certainly true with cars, a little maintenance can make a big difference to the cost of running a car. With this in mind we are investing in preventative measures as offered by companies such as BG Products to offer our customers an even better service.

Thanks for reading!

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