All the automotive talk these days is about electric vehicles and hybrids. We forget that there are still millions of diesel-powered vehicles on the road and available to buy. Now, all these diesel vehicles come with a diesel particulate filter, (DPF). As the name suggests, this device collects the impurities arising from diesel fuel emissions. It gets on with the job without any interference from the car owner but it does require occasional maintenance to run at its best. It’s a very important automotive part.
Despite the negative vibes associated with this fossil fuel, the fact is diesel has never been cleaner. Yes, it still produces harmful emissions but it bears no relation at all to the noxious stuff of olden times (i.e. the 20th Century). Most diesel-powered cars of today are clean and efficient and, with a DPF fitted as part of the exhaust system, will provide the owner with years of reliable and economic service, especially when maintained by a professional car servicing garage.
The Downside of DPF
Over a period and depending upon vehicle usage, a DPF can become clogged up by the soot from exhaust emissions. It will happen sooner if a vehicle is used only locally with little running at speed, as on a motorway for example. When the DPF becomes clogged the performance is affected and the unit needs a clean out. A dashboard warning light will identify the issue. Individual cars may vary so pay attention to the car’s manual for the best way to self-clear and regenerate the DPF but, failing that, for best results the job should be handled by a professional garage.
Cheap Is Not The Answer
There is no such a thing as a cheap repair when it comes to the DPF. A bodged job may be cheap but in the long term it will make the matter worse. When ‘exhausted’ the DPF needs cleaning out or, ultimately, replacing. Some wrong-headed people deliberately choose to remove the diesel particulate filter. Indeed, there are companies that will offer this service. Motorists who take this route see it as a more cost effective way to run their vehicle. It’s certainly a cheaper option in the short-term; In the long term however it will be a financial disaster, if for no other reason than that it is illegal.
The rules are stringent so don’t think that removing or cutting open a DPF to clear it is the easier solution. The MOT tester will spot its absence or will notice any welding that has taken place and the car will fail. There could also be a hefty fine on the end of it.
Is It The DPF At All?
If the owner has run the vehicle’s DPF-cleaning procedure (see handbook) but the warning light will not extinguish or comes on again in a short period, then it may not be the DPF that’s at fault. There could be a number of other related issues causing the light to come on… This is why we always fault test the vehicle thoroughly before carrying out a DPF clean. To ensure that the clean is indeed all that is needed and reduce the chance of the vehicle being ‘off the road’ again. Related issues can include a faulty pressure sensor, for example. An apparent DPF problem may also be caused by the vehicle having a combustion or compression issue, a fuel injector, spark plug or air intake issue; even a turbocharger problem. Regeneration may not take place if there are faults elsewhere. This is why we always carry out DPF fault investigation, as standard, before any DPF clean (alongside regular garage servicing) is so important.
Ask The Professionals
Since their introduction, garage services have offered a DPF service or replacement service. As part of the DPF Doctor network of professional garages, we are suitably equipped with the correct specialist equipment and expertise that can, by process of ‘forced regeneration’, get the DPF and car running properly once again. Filter replacement is certainly expensive but by using the regeneration procedure, getting the car regularly serviced and of course by driving properly, the on-board DPF will give good service for a long time before replacement is needed. Further to this, if considering a diesel car as a used buy, demand that the diesel particulate filter is in good working order!
Need your DPF issue looked at, give us a call on 01324 570400 today.