DPF Cleaning, repairs or replacements.
As the title suggests it is a filter fitted (mainly) to diesel vehicles, is not unlike the filter in a modern bagless vacuum cleaner and its job is to collect particles. The Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) collects particles from your engine and stores them in its filter, like your vacuum cleaner if it fills up to the extent it becomes blocked it cannot continue to function correctly.
In a vehicle this filling process is carefully monitored by the engine’s computer and the computer does this using not eyes but a number of sensors. With a vacuum cleaner the filter may be cleaned or replaced whereas prior to the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) becoming blocked beyond function, the vehicle should carry out a DPF ‘regen’. The ‘regen’ process involves the collected particles being burnt off at raised temperatures, within the exhaust, of somewhere between 500oC and 800oC and it is achieved using a variety of procedures dependant on the vehicle.
In the event, the DPF becomes blocked beyond function the vehicle will prevent the ‘regen’ process from taking place because of the potential to ignite and cause the vehicle to catch fire. If you own a diesel car then chances are you have a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). Over time, these soot-removing filters become clogged and should be cleaned periodically to avoid costly repairs. If the vehicle detects a fault anywhere within this system it will prevent the ‘regen’ process, for example, if the exhaust temperature sensor(s) was faulty it would prevent the computer from being able to monitor the temperature within the exhaust and control the increased fuel correctly to maintain the temperature accurately. It is more often a fault within the system than the DPF itself requiring replacement and at £500-£2000 for a new DPF this is good news for the customer.
More recently DPF’s are appearing on some petrol models as well. Exhausts are becoming very complicated with SCR also becoming commonplace which generally involves AdBlue. Most training courses on exhaust systems today are two to three days, All Trans Autos Ltd have invested in and continue to invest in the most up to date training to ensure their technicians have the expertise to both accurately diagnose DPF faults and carry out the necessary repairs. Preventing unnecessary DPF replacements whilst ensuring your vehicle remains safe.
What is a DPF?
The DPF, or diesel particulate filter, is, as the name suggests, a filter installed in the exhaust systems of all diesel cars sold in the EU after September 2009. The DPF exists to catch excessive particulate matter produced as a by-product of incomplete fuel combustion – a prevalent issue in diesel-fuelled vehicles specifically. DPF filters are required by law – any diesel car produced after the aforementioned date submitted for an MOT test without the attachment will fail automatically.
The particulates, or ‘soot’ caught by the DPF build up until the system initiates regeneration, a process by which the material is heated by the exhaust to the point of turning to ash, which will then be expelled. In order to initiate regeneration, the car must generally have been travelling at over 40mph for over 10 minutes. Out with this, most modern vehicles automatically regenerate every 300 miles travelled.
Does my vehicle have a DPF?
The DPF is a legally required fixture in all diesel vehicles built after September 2009 and sold in the UK and Europe. To further this, the DPF is a requirement under the Euro 5 standard for diesel cars. Any cars without the DPF will have failed their MOT after their introduction as a pass requirement in 2014. This strict legislation means that your diesel vehicle most likely has a DPF fitted unless it has been illegally tampered with or removed. Cars produced before the September 2009 deadline may also have a DPF fitted – the fastest way to confirm this is a quick search through your vehicle’s manual.
What does the DPF warning light mean?
The DPF warning light is most often used by the DPF system to alert the driver to the presence of excessive soot levels within the filter. This is often the case when the engine has been unable to initiate regeneration automatically due to factors such as frequent short journeys, or consistently low speeds. The warning light serves to indicate that regeneration is necessary and that the driver should travel at speeds of over 40mph for around 10 minutes to allow soot to be turned to ash and expelled.
If the DPF warning light is ignored, the filter may become clogged, or the system may impose restricted speed limits in order to prevent the further production of soot. A DPF issue of this scale may require forced regeneration performed by a technician, or a part replacement.
How long do DPFs last for?
DPF filters are a relatively resilient car part commonly reported to last upwards of 70,000 miles when subject to proper maintenance. Despite this, DPFs do have a lifespan and are generally replaced once or twice in the lifetime of a vehicle.
Conditions influencing the lifespan of a DPF include weather conditions, maintenance frequency, and driving style. Allowing for regular regeneration is integral in the maintenance of a DPF filter. Drivers should be aware of the DPF warning light or level indicators and ensure they make regular journeys of over 10 minutes travelling at 40 miles per hour or more, in order to allow the filter to ‘clean’.
What can cause my DPF to block?
The most common cause of a DPF blockage is a lack of regeneration caused by short journey lengths or continuous periods of low-speed driving. Excessive idling may also be a contributing factor to a lack of regeneration. Additional causes of DPF blockages include an imbalance in the fuel-air ratio caused by either faulty fuel injectors, or a faulty turbocharger, both of which can lead to the production of excessive soot. In addition to this, the use of a non-low SAPs engine oil may lead to the production of excessive sulphated ash, which can contribute to blockages.
In the case of a blockage which cannot be dealt with by the means of standard regeneration, forced regeneration may be required. All Trans Autos’ Bosch trained technicians are highly experienced in performing this method of cleaning and will be happy to assist. Book your vehicle in for DPF cleaning today using our online system, or contact one of our friendly team members for further information.