How Long Do Diesel Trucks Last?

By Max Anthony •  Updated: 02/16/21 •  3 min read

How long do diesel trucks last? This question encapsulates anyone who’s looking at the price of one! Diesel pickup truck prices are greater generally than the ones of standard gas-powered pickup trucks. This is due to their better fuel efficiencies, greater torque and towing capacities, and lower emissions. The question of their longevity still stands, so we’ll see how long diesel trucks can last, and the factors involved:

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Yes,Diesel Pickup Trucks Last Longer

A gas-powered truck can run for 200,000 miles, while a diesel can run for at least 500,000 and as much as 800,000-1,000,000 miles. This is evident by their price deterioration. All new vehicles lose 50% of their value in the initial three years and up to 65%, by five years. By purchasing a new or pre-owned diesel truck, you can maintain a strategic distance from this devaluation due to their longer lives, and toughness. 

But Why Do Diesel Pickups Last Longer?

Diesel Pickup Trucks Are More Reliable
2021 Ram 1500 Limited EcoDiesel | Ram

Their engines run without ignition tune-ups, as they don’t use spark plugs or distributors. Diesel engines have larger bearing sizes and much larger crankshafts, camshafts, cylinders. So, there’s more room for more oil to move freely, leading to better lubrication and less wear. Also, their engines are gear-driven, so they don’t use timing belts, chains, pumps, and other components that are damage and failure-prone. Diesel engines are better at self-regulating their oil and fuel temperatures. They also perform better because of a more powerful fuel injection system.

Diesels Pickup Trucks Rev Lower

Engines fueled by gasoline can produce anywhere between 2,500-3,500RPM (revolutions per minute), while diesel engines will push out anywhere between 1,300-1,600RPM. This is a huge factor as gasoline engines do twice the work as diesel motors for the same performance. This is why gas-powered engines experience more wear and tear, at lower mileage.

Diesel Pickup Trucks Are Built Stronger

If we directly compare a gas-powered heavy-duty pickup to a diesel pickup of the same payload capacity, then it can be concluded that the diesel pickup will be more durable. This is because the higher stresses of a diesel require it to be built with better components. Due to their lower revs compared to their gasoline counterparts, they also spin and hence, wear slower. 

Diesel Fuel Is Less Volatile

Diesel fuel also works like light oil, so it lubricates while flowing through any cylinder. Gas or petrol, resembles solvents and is less alkaline than diesel, so it can burn away at surfaces, which causes corrosion, wear, and damage. Gasoline can be ignited by a simple spark, but that’s not the case with diesel.

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Diesel Pickup Truck Owners Know Better

Lastly, a truck’s lifespan depends largely on the owner’s upkeeping ability. Factors like oil and filter changing, tire rotation, and fluid checking are necessary. It also depends on the load you put on the engine. If you always operate at maximum load (the heaviest trailer), the engine might not make it past 300,000 miles. Otherwise, if you generally operate with lighter loads, your engine is probably good for 1,000,000 miles with proper maintenance! 

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Max Anthony

Max is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology and cars. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and a GMC truck and a Porsche 911. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on cars, trucks and more.