Diesel cars have been favoured for many years by motorists looking for the best fuel economy and cheapest tax. But an increasing number of people are starting to ask whether they are more reliable than petrol options.
Diesels have received good press in the past for their environmental credentials, but recent reports are now suggesting they are less reliable and costlier to fix than their petrol counterparts. To help you decide which car is right for you, we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of diesel engines to find out whether a diesel is in fact a wise choice.
When choosing a car, one of the most common questions we are asked is, “How much more economical is diesel than petrol?”. A diesel car and its fuel are usually more expensive but can be more fuel-efficient, by on average using 15-20% less fuel. Generally, if you cover a high number of miles with long journeys, a diesel will be a more economical option than a petrol engine.
If your journeys are small trips around town, however, a smaller petrol car may save money in the long run. It is worth doing the sums to see if the extra expense laid out on a diesel will be recouped by savings made on fuel consumption, or whether repairs and your driving style will leave you out of pocket.
Petrol and diesel engines use fuel in completely different ways. A diesel engine relies on compressing fuel to a very high pressure, which can, overtime, put more pressure on the internal engine components. For example, many diesel car owners find they have to replace the diesel particulate filter, as this can become clogged from long periods of low-speed urban driving.
A diesel car tends to be more expensive to service and repair than its petrol counterpart too. In many cases it can take longer to find the cause of the problem and parts are often more expensive.
The type of driving you do will dictate which engine will give you the best performance. Recent engineering developments are closing the gaps between the two fuel types. In the past if you were looking for something with better overtaking power and strong towing ability, a diesel engine would be the better option. But many manufacturers are starting to develop petrol engines with improved torque and efficiency to rival the diesel engines.
When purchasing a used car, performance and reliability are always linked to how it has been treated and its service history. If you are looking for a car with no hidden surprises it is much safer to buy from a local dealership, which you know you can trust.