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Pros and Cons of Diesel Motorhomes & Tow Vehicles

"Diesel engines if properly maintained, have a longer life-span than gas engines"

Pros and Cons of Diesel Motorhomes & Tow Vehicles

By Alan Wiener
Everything About RVing

Are Diesel Motorhomes Or Tow Vehicles The Right Choice For You?

You are the one that ultimately has to answer this question.  I will help you by providing the Pros and Cons of having a motorhome or tow vehicle powered by a diesel engine.

Diesel Engine Pros and Cons


  • Diesel engines are more fuel efficient than gas engines, you can expect more miles per gallon (don't expect a dramatic difference).
  • Diesel engines if properly maintained, have a longer life-span than gas engines.  It is not unheard of for diesel engines to go well over 200,000 miles before requiring a rebuild or overhaul.
  • A diesel engine provides more torque at lower RPMs (in laymen's terms it will get up a hill faster than a gas powered vehicle).

  • Diesel Motorhomes have a wider selection of floor plans available.  They traditionally have more luxurious interiors than gas powered Motor Homes.
  • The chassis of most diesel Motor Homes are beefier than the chassis of gas motor homes.  So the carrying and towing capacity is greater (this is why a lot of Fulltimers prefer diesel over gas).
  • Altitude does not greatly affect the power of a diesel engine (you will have better acceleration in the mountains).
  • Diesel powered Motor Homes tend to have a smoother ride than gas powered motor homes.  This is due to the availability of air ride suspensions and the heavier chassis.
  • Diesel powered Motor Homes and tow vehicles retain their value better than gas vehicles (better MPG and longer life-span contribute to this price retention).
  • Diesel engines produce less CO2 emissions (CO2 is considered to be the catalyst to global warming).


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  • Diesel powered Motorhomes and tow vehicles initially cost more than gas powered vehicles.
  • The maintenance cost for diesel engines is higher than on gas engines (service costs more, parts cost more).
  • Unless you are comfortable working on diesel engines, there is not a lot of do it yourself maintenance that you can perform (you might be able to replace the air filter).
  • Even though Diesel Fuel used to be less expensive than Gasoline, the price has recently risen above gasoline prices and depending on how high the price of diesel goes, it could eventually nullify the increased fuel mileage that diesel gives you.
  • Neglecting the routine maintenance on a Diesel engine can result in some very costly repairs.

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Hopefully, the above information will be helpful in steering you in the right direction. If you have decided that a diesel engine is the right type of engine for you, you should now head over to the Buying a RV section of this web site to get some more helpful hints.  One thing is for sure you will never regret becoming an RVer regardless of the type of engine you choose.

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FTC Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through some of the links in this article. For more information, visit our Advertising Disclosure Page.

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