According to a 2020 survey by YesAuto, 44 per cent of UK drivers admit not understanding basic vehicle maintenance, with three in ten not even knowing how to pump up their tyres. When it comes to industrial machinery, not knowing isn’t an option regular maintenance is a necessity. Here Keith Andrews, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Account Manager at DiPerk Power Solutions, exclusive supplier of Perkins engines and parts in the UK and Ireland, shares some tips on maintaining industrial engines

 Diesel engines can be found in a range of industrial applications, including agricultural machinery like crop sprayers as well as construction and materials handling equipment. Whatever the machine, regular preventative maintenance is vital for ensuring engine uptime.

There are several things that operators can do to maintain their engine’s health and prevent costly breakdowns and repairs. These include regularly assessing its fluids and being selective with replacement parts.


The arrival of EU Stage V legislation has mandated engine emissions values at a level that has driven the adoption of exhaust aftertreatment technology. This means that devices like diesel particulate filters (DPFs) are now being fitted to equipment rated between 19 and 560 kW, to help engines meet these limited emissions values. The regulations are designed to reduce the amount of particulate matter released. The presence of aftertreatment has made regular servicing even more important because any contamination or faults could impact the effectiveness of these devices.

When operating a Stage V-compliant engine, it is important to use lubricating oil to the correct grade and specification, including low ash specification. A build-up of ash will limit the DPF’s service life and reduce its efficiency. It can also damage the engine’s fuel economy by restricting exhaust flow and decreasing filter regeneration intervals by reducing filter soot storage capacity. Therefore, operators should regularly check their aftertreatment devices for any build-up or contamination that may impair their performance.

Fuel quality

When servicing an industrial engine, fuel quality is very important. Diesel from certain parts of the world may contain high sulphur levels, which can contaminate the catalysts in aftertreatment devices and reduce their effectiveness. Sulphur can also cause corrosion on the cylinder walls, liners and other metal surfaces in the engine. To comply with Stage V, OEMs should use diesel fuel that meets the EN590 standard, which limits sulphur content to 0.2 per cent.

It is also important to regularly monitor the fuel to check for any contaminants that may reduce engine performance. DiPerk has a dedicated fluid sampling laboratory, where it can assess the condition of hydraulic oils, operator fluids and fuel.

Go genuine

If an engine part is damaged, it should be replaced with an OEM-approved alternative. Counterfeit and other non-conforming parts may look similar, but may not be manufactured to the same quality as genuine components. Reverse engineered or unauthorised parts can differ significantly from the real thing. A common example is fuel filters, where copied versions look genuine but may not filter the oil at all, which can cause a serious issue, particularly if the element also collapses or disintegrates.

In contrast, genuine parts are designed to withstand fuel flow and pressure specifications. They are also tested extensively to ensure they meet the application’s requirements. With Perkins, a genuine part can be identified by the Perkins trademark on both the part and packaging, as well as the Perkins hologram label. All parts also come with a comprehensive twelve-month warranty.

While nearly half of drivers might not know the basics of their cars, maintenance skills are a must for engine operators working with industrial machinery. To ensure engine uptime, operators should regularly analyse their fluids and only use genuine OEM-approved parts as replacements. An important consideration is how the inclusion of aftertreatment devices will impact the engine’s maintenance requirements, but by turning to an expert for help, your engine can run happily for years to come.

To find out more about Perkins engine service and support, visit the DiPerk website.