Contrary to petrol engines which uses the Otto cycle to keep all things going — the internals of a diesel engine opts for a method that involves highly-compressed hot air to ignite the fuel. There are no spark plugs involved in this matter, and it channels air into the combustion chamber with a compression rating of no less than 15:1 or more. With this, the high compression causes the temperature in the air to rise.
The use of better fuel injectors are vital in this case, and due to this, it allows all combustion to take place without an ignition system. It greatly increases the engine’s efficiency in the end — but on the deficient side — producing lots of harmful greenhouse gases after passing through the exhaust system. Solutions were quickly rectified with the introduction of diesel particulate filters, best known as DPFs, and NOx adsorbing catalysers.
It was proven good, but albeit a little costly in the long run as most diesel-powered cars would need to put up with the local source of diesel fuel, depending on the region you’re in. With low quality diesel, parts such as these will deteriorate over time. As wear and tear increases no thanks to the use of low-quality diesel fuels, an inevitable replacement is due in a varying time frame, resulting in irregular maintenance follow-ups.
Technologies such as EGR, known as exhaust gas recirculation, and selective catalytic reduction are also added into the diesel motor palette, but all is proven to be less effective eventually. Somehow, these are the modern-day diesel engines you can get from various manufacturers, but with our mindset associating diesels as a suitable choice for commercial purposes rather than your own private commute, it remains a very left-field segment in the Malaysian market.