Can You Use Biodiesel on Your Diesel Engine?

In recent years, as an advocate for earth-friendly alternatives. I’ve witnessed first-hand the shift in diesel vehicles towards more sustainable biodiesel use. This alternative fuel is compatible with most internal combustion engine components, and many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Have started to support biodiesel blends like B5 and B20, which contain 6% and 20% biodiesel, respectively.

 Embracing biodiesel’s superior cetane number encourages an easier start and reduces ignition delay. While its increased fuel lubricity prevents components. From wearing out prematurely due to friction, thus not compromising the original equipment manufacturer engine warranty. Fleet vehicles, much like my own light-duty diesel car, have effectively operated on biodiesel without the need for engine modification. 

As the use of biodiesel becomes more prevalent in light, medium, and heavy-duty diesel vehicles, drivers like me can enjoy lower-emission vehicles that are not only fun to drive and quiet. But also contribute to an ecologically sustainable option for transportation.

What Is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that is reducing our dependence on petroleum-based fuels. It’s a mixture of methyl esters typically made through a chemical process called transesterification. During this reaction, oil or fat— often sourced from soybean oil, animal fat, or recycled cooking oil—is converted into biodiesel and glycerin. A byproduct often used in soap production. The process essentially separates the glycerin. Aallowing the biodiesel to be used as an alternative resource in diesel engines without any engine modification.

To aid in efficient burning, specific additives can be included to ensure that the scientific integrity of the fuel is maintained. Hence biodiesel’s distinct chemical name accounts for its distinct qualities as one of the more sustainable fuels on the market. In my own journey of supporting earth-conscious energy resources. I’ve frequently turned to the National Biodiesel Board for guidance on biodiesel blends like B5 and B20.

 These blends, compatible with traditional diesel engines, reflect our commitment to exploiting alternative energy sources. Rich in methyl esters, such as those derived from soybean oil or even recycled cooking oil. These biodiesel blends present a significant step towards a cleaner future.

While ethanol is often mentioned alongside biodiesel, it is important to note that ethanol is typically associated with bioethanol. A similar yet distinct fuel derived from crops like corn and sugarcane. Though both serve as sustainable fuels, they find their use in different contexts.

Can You Use It?

As a car enthusiast who has often tinkered under the hood. I find that the possibility of running your vehicle on biodiesel hinges on various factors. Including the specific kind of diesel engine it houses. Modern vehicles, especially those new models equipped straight off the assembly line. Often feature engines built to be compatible with biodiesel. These engines have built-in technologies essential for utilizing alternative fuels, reducing the necessity for any modifications to successfully operate.

However, when it comes to older or heavy-duty models, the process isn’t always as simple or common. In some cases, these engines might require a modification to handle the switch to biodiesel effectively. 

Regardless of the model, it’s typically unnecessary to stick to traditional diesel fuel, as even older vehicles. Can operate well on certain blends; for example, B20 – a mix of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel – is a popular choice that usually doesn’t require any engine modifications. Yet, it’s important to decide the right blend for your vehicle in consultation with a mechanic or a biodiesel specialist.

Consumer awareness is critical, particularly in recognizing. The labeling on biodiesel pumps that will include crucial information about the biodiesel blend percentages. While most modern vehicles don’t need any change even with a biodiesel mix with up to 4% biodiesel (B4). It is best to be sure of your vehicle’s tolerance level. 

Typically, you won’t notice much difference in everyday drive performance. But going above a certain percent can push your engine beyond its limitations. If you’re unsure, it’s always easy to fill in with a lower blend and gradually work your way up, monitoring how your car or truck handles it. Making it arguably the best bet for a smooth transition to more sustainable fuels.

Big Environmental Benefits

The switch to biodiesel offers significant environmental benefits. Reducing lifecycle greenhouse gasses and hydrocarbon emissions from vehicles, thereby lowering smog and improving the air quality we breathe. 

Utilizing this alternative fuel minimizes transportation emissions. Contributing to the fight against climate change and the preservation of national parks by reducing . The land and energy consumed in fossil fuel extraction and production. 

As an ardent fan of our natural landscapes. Choosing biodiesel feels like a personal commitment to protecting our planet’s water cycle, biodiversity, and protected regions against ecological threats.

Key Components of a Biodiesel Vehicle

The Role of the Electronic Control Module

At the heart of a biodiesel vehicle’s engine management lies the Electronic Control Module (ECM). A paramount player that essentially controls the orchestration of fuel delivery and ignition timing. This sophisticated computer not only monitors the operation of the vehicle. But also acts as a guardian, safeguarding the engine against potential abuse. Acutely aware of the engine’s every whim, it detects and troubleshoots problems, ensuring .The engine performs efficiently while meeting emission system requirements.

Fuel Tank (biodiesel)

Serving as the reservoir aboard the vehicle, the fuel tank diligently stores the biodiesel that is to power the engine. It is a crucial component, holding the potential energy needed to drive the compression-ignited internal combustion engine. My own experience with refueling reminds me of the critical nature of this component. With every visit to the pump being a testament to the journey ahead.

Fuel Filler

The fuel filler serves as the interface where the nozzle of the fuel dispenser meets .The receptacle on the vehicle, allowing the tank to be filled with precision. Without it, transferring fuel into the vehicle’s tank would be cumbersome, if not impossible. Every time I align the nozzle with the filler, I appreciate this small, yet vital gateway to energy for my vehicle.

Internal Combustion Engine (Compression-Ignited)

The internal combustion engine, which is compression-ignited, lies at the core of a biodiesel vehicle’s might. Here, the fuel is injected into the combustion chamber and ignited by the heat of compressed gas rather than a spark, a potent process I’ve observed in awe during my years as a mechanic.

Fuel Line

A seemingly mundane, yet indispensable component is the fuel line. Whether it be metal tube or flexible hose, it ensures an uninterrupted transfer of fuel from the tank to the engine’s fuel injection system, like blood vessels maintaining the lifeblood of the vehicle’s operations.


Persisting as a conduit of raw energy, the transmission is responsible for conveying the mechanical power generated by the engine or an electric traction motor to the drive wheels. This is where control is crucial – the right translation of power to motion, a fact I’ve grown to respect on open roads and tight corners alike.


The battery is a cornerstone, not just for the engine but for all vehicle electronics and accessories. It supplies the vital electricity that breathes life into every start-up and supports every convenience feature within the vehicle. It’s a silent sentinel that I’ve often taken for granted, until a cold morning when a turn of the key is met with silence.

Fuel Pump

The fuel pump is an unsung hero, transferred away in its nook, dutifully transferring fuel from the tank to the engine’s fuel injection system through the fuel line. This transfer must be seamless to maintain the delicate dance of power within the engine’s chambers.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) Tank

Not to be overlooked, the Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank carries within it an aqueous urea solution that is injected into the exhaust stream to enable selective catalytic reduction—a process I know is essential for a greener footprint.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid Filler

Conjuring memories of meticulous maintenance days, the diesel exhaust fluid filler is a dedicated filling port to replenish the DEF tank, crucial for ensuring reduced emissions in diesel-powered vehicles, making each refill an act of environmental responsibility.

It’s in these components, working silently and ceaselessly, that the symphony of a biodiesel vehicle plays out—a symphony I know all too well from years spent with hands graced by oil and a heart fueled by a passion for motor vehicles.

Other Considerations

Transforming vehicles to biodiesel not only allows for a clean and safe driving experience but it is also a step forward in environmental consideration, particularly with lower RPMs typical in urban driving. Converting a regular diesel engine to a biodiesel-compatible system can ensure a reliable fuel source, providing an alternative that is free from particles and impurities.

 Engine modifications may be necessary, especially for older models that must adapt beyond their traditional fuel use. Such a change does, however, have its caveats; manufactured European diesel cars might have a warranty that only covers certified fuels up to a certain percentage, and although blends of six to twenty percent are common, they can cause small cycle variations and potentially less stable combustion states at high speeds.

 Nonetheless, when operating within the 1500 to 1800 RPM range, most vehicles will still maintain a good power output and high speed performance, even with blended fuels combined with ethanol for an extra boost, thereby striking a balance between top performance and eco-friendliness.

Making The Switch

Embarking on the journey to make the switch to a clean fuel alternative fills me with an excited anticipation—it’s like stepping into a realm of green possibilities that align seamlessly with my driving habits. This awesome news I’m sharing today started as an article, a simple piece meant to delve into the feasibility of powering your diesel car or truck with biodiesel.

 It’s grown since then into a more heartfelt narrative of transformation, bridging technical savvy with anecdotal evidence from the road. Remember, taking the first step towards a sustainable future, where your four-wheeled companion mirrors your environmental ethos, can be a venture filled with nuance. 

With this reference and guide, you will never go wrong, for the information on diesel engines provided here is gleaned not just from blog posts but from genuine, oil-stained hands-on experience. It’s a promise, this transition will leave you happy—like it did me when I first heard my engine purring contentedly on biodiesel, confirming that dreams of a cleaner drive can indeed come true.


As the exploration of greener fuel alternatives like biodiesel progresses, the future of driving becomes ever brighter. The seamless integration of biodiesel blends such as B5 and B20 into the everyday operation of modern diesel engines is a testament to the automotive industry’s commitment to sustainability. 

Not only does biodiesel provide a clean, efficient burn due to its high cetane number, but it also boasts superior lubricity, extending the life of critical engine components and maintaining the integrity of manufacturer warranties. Personal experiences with fleet and personal diesel vehicles alike have shown that the transition to biodiesel does not necessitate extensive engine modifications, allowing drivers like me to contribute to environmental sustainability without sacrificing vehicle performance. 

With reduced emissions and quieter operation, biodiesel stands out as a viable option for both light and heavy-duty vehicles, driving us towards a future of eco-friendly transportation that not only rises to the challenge of climate change but also ushers in the enjoyment of lower-emission driving. It is a journey that fuels both our vehicles and our commitment to the planet.


What happens if you put biodiesel in a diesel engine?

B20 and lower-level blends can be used in many diesel vehicles without any engine modification. Biodiesel raises the cetane number of the fuel and improves fuel lubricity. A higher cetane number means the engine is easier to start and reduces ignition delay.

Can you replace diesel with biodiesel?

Biodiesel is produced in the United States and used in conventional diesel engines, directly substituting for or extending supplies of traditional petroleum diesel.

Why is biodiesel not compatible with all diesel engines?

Because biodiesel is denser than conventional diesel fuel (it has a longer hydrocarbon chain) and has a higher distillation temperature and boiling point, it does not vaporize as easily. Some of the fuel ends up adhering to the cylinder wall and runs past the rings, diluting engine oil.

Can you use 100 biodiesel in a diesel engine?

It is possible to use 100% B100 Biodiesel RME Premium in all RME-adapted diesel engines. Our biodiesel is specially developed for 100% operation, manufactured through a Swedish-patented after-treatment process,

Does biodiesel damage injectors?

Problem. Deposits in the injector pump (varnish and gums) affect performance. The most common symptoms are hard starting, decreased power, and misfiring. This can be caused either by biodiesel fuel that has been incompletely transformed, or by biodiesel fuel that has partially oxidized.

Which is better: biodiesel or diesel?

Compared to diesel fuel, an engine burning biodiesel will emit fewer pollutants, including hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter.