Do I have to replace my diesel particulate filters?

Owners are often confused about the meaning of “DPF”.

A DPF (exhaust filter) is an option that is fitted to most late-model diesel cars. It is used to remove toxic gasses, like fuels, hydrocarbons lubricants, and water and sulfates. These substances are able to attach themselves to soot and can form harmful particles, in the exhaust of diesel engines.

These damaging gases can form because of a variety of contributing factors – poor or incorrect maintenance, low-quality fuel, and driving habits resulting in poor combustion.

These particles are captured by the DPF filter and later cleaned or recycled through high-temperature combustion. Problems may arise in the event that regeneration has not been complete and the filter gets blocked.

I’ve observed the diesel particulate filter described as a costly and complex component that needs to be replaced. However, this is, not my knowledge.

When monitored and diagnosed properly, replacements are not necessary. DPF errors aren’t always an indication that the DPF is blocked.

What are the symptoms of a blocked DPF

There are a variety of signs that can occur when your DPF is blocked and/or requires to be cleaned (not always ready to go on the scrap heap).

  • Surging/poor performance.
  • Excessive fuel consumption.
  • Smoke Excessive – White, blue, black.
  • Displayed engine and/or DPF emission light.
  • Difficult to start the engine
  • The engine is running rough.
  • Regeneration attempts have not been successful.

What is regeneration?

The computer-integrated algorithms of the vehicle perform periodic renewals (burns). This process increases the exhaust temperature and burns off the soot and particles in the filter. When another component is failing to operate correctly, it can either increase the number of regenerations or even cease completely until the fault is fixed. The exhaust will then emit an excessive amount of black smoke, as the result of regeneration. It’s normal and is not a risk. If smoke is constantly blowing does it mean an underlying problem needs immediate attention?

How can you minimize the risk of DPF blockage or failure?

  • Make sure that the mechanic you hire has experience with diesel.
  • Avoid Incorrect oil and services that are not present.
  • Be careful not to drive if you are experiencing a problem with your car (dash alert lights).
  • Avoid diesel with poor quality fuel.
  • Modify your vehicle cautiously I have to deal with DPF driving habits: reduce idling and increase the rpm when under load (dropping down a gear), especially in crawling traffic.
  • Talk to your mechanic about any changes that you observe in the performance of your vehicles, such as louder whistles, hissing sounds, or jerking sounds.
  • Your DPF may not be able to regenerate because of unusual driving habits. Even if your mechanic recommends that you do them, don’t use ‘on-vehicle intake/induction cleanings’. They could damage DPFs as well as other crucial components.
  • DPF faults are not always caused by components failing.
  • Maintained DPF can travel as far as 200,000 km before needing to be taken off for cleaning or replacement.

What is the cost of cleaning or replacing a DPF?

Be conscious that DPF work must be performed by a certified skilled mechanic with the right tools to reset and re-fit the DPF. Once the initial fault has been identified, the DPF must be taken off.

The best DPF cleaning companies must have at least five years of cleaning success. It is also possible to determine if the DPF is damaged internally. A mechanic will check the DPF parts on your vehicle to determine if it’s blocked. They cannot determine if the DPF is melting or has collapsed internally, thus causing the blockage. A passenger vehicle’s average cost of cleaning is approximately $600.

DPF-equipped vehicles are available in a wide range of models. Manufacturers change their designs frequently, making it difficult to determine the DPF model is compatible with a particular automobile model.
DPFs are not required to reveal the name of the company that manufactures DPF is, since they are considered the most controlled component of the motor vehicle’s emissions.