5 Tips to Boost Diesel Engine Performance

Having a diesel engine is great. So much, in fact, there are over 40 diesel models available in the United States from over 10 manufacturers. In the past, we compared diesel vs gasoline and found diesel engines have better fuel economy than gasoline engines, tend to last longer, and have some serious performance advantages. Diesel-powered cars and trucks usually cost more than gasoline-powered vehicles so when you buy one, you’re making an investment. It would make sense then that you would want to get the most out of your investment. That’s why we thought a guide on diesel engine performance upgrades would come in handy. Diesel upgrades come in many forms from mods to aftermarket products. We’ll go over 5 of the best diesel performance upgrades so you can learn how to get more power out of a diesel truck, car, or SUV.

Diesel Performance Exhaust

The stock exhaust on most cars and trucks use small-diameter pipe that probably has pinches and bends in it. Stock pipes are known to bend and pinch making it harder the engine to push out exhaust gases efficiently or effectively. One way to improve diesel engine performance is by installing a larger diameter exhaust pipe. Ideally, the pipe is somewhere in the 3 ½ inches to 5-inch diameter and has few bends in it. A high-flow exhaust system will help you in many ways. Not only will your engine sound better, but the improved exhaust system will also support better torque and horsepower. Plus, better airflow will help keep the temperature down in your engine which can help extend the life of your investment.

Boost Diesel Performance Air Intake

Airflow is key to boosting diesel power making air intake one of the best diesel engine performance upgrades available. Power is created through combustion and oxygen is what allows combustion to happen. An upgraded air intake kit will pull more oxygen into the engine compartment. This outside air is cooler than the hot air inside the chamber. Colder air is denser than hot air meaning there is more oxygen for more combustion. We already improved diesel performance with an aftermarket exhaust system. With a new air intake system as well, your engine will have much-improved airflow and increased performance.

Modifying Your ECM (Engine Control Module)

Now that airflow is optimized, we can start making tweaks and really make some diesel engine performance upgrades. Modifying your ECM (engine control module), aka your car or trucks, on-board computer, is one of the most cost-effective diesel upgrades. It does take knowledge though. Tuning, chipping, and remapping can be tricky and is something better left to a professional to avoid a blown-out engine or not passing emission testing. A mechanic with experience can adjust the timing and pressure in the engine to improve horsepower or alter compression ratios to improve efficiency.

Performance Fuel Injectors

New fuel injectors are one of the best ways to improve diesel engine performance. Similar to an upgraded air inflow system, fuel injectors bring more energy to the combustion process. More energy means more power to your engine. It’s common to need to upgrade your fuel pump as well to handle the demands of the performance fuel injectors so this diesel upgrade requires an extra step. However, when combined, you get more power, better engine performance, and higher fuel economy.


With the other diesel upgrades completed, we can now turbocharge the whole process. Turbochargers work by further pushing more oxygen into the engine and increasing the pressure of the air intake. Stock turbochargers can increase airflow by 300-400%. A performance turbocharger can push that up to 500-1,000%. If you wonder how to get more power out of a diesel, this is it. Just make sure to make other upgrades first to make sure your car, truck, or SUV can handle it.

Best Diesel Performance Upgrades

So, there you go, 5 tips to boost diesel engine performance. If you know what you’re doing, check out Throtl, where you can find all the performance parts discussed. New to diesel engine performance upgrades or just want a second opinion? Give us a call. We specialize in diesel upgrades and are always happy to help.

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