Keeping Your DPF Healthy


Keeping Your DPF Healthy

You may have heard your garage or mechanically learned friends mention the benefits of keeping your DPF healthy and how it will benefit your cars longevity and MPG (miles per gallon) etc, but what exactly is a DPF and what does it do, why should you pay attention to it’s upkeep?

What Is A DPF & What Does It Do?

In this industry as in many others we abbreviate pretty much anything we can, it’s not that we are trying to confuse our customers it’s just that we refer to these terms so many times a day that it can become tedious at best. Think of terms we have already used within this article such as DPF & MPG, add to that MOT and the many others and we could find ourselves with serious jaw ache!

DPF stands for Diesel Particulate Filter and is a small filter that is fitted to the exhaust system of your diesel car, the idea behind it is to catch any particles from your exhaust gases that may be hazardous to both us or the environment.

How Often Do I need To Clean Or Replace The DPF?

We heres the clever part, ideally you shouldn’t need to clean / replace the DPF, The ECU (another abbreviation for you) your cars computer / brain has sensors that can detect when the DPF has become too full or the soot has started to clog up and it is becoming ineffective, once this happens the ECU goes through whats called a DPF regeneration process.

The regeneration of your DPF is designed to burn through the soot, heating it to well over 600 degrees celsius and then dispelling it out of the exhaust system in the usual way, once heated and before dispensing the harmful soot is turned into CO2 & H2O (Carbon Dioxide & Water).

Ok, So The Car Self Manages The DPF, What’s The Point Of This Article?

Whilst the DPF is regenerated by the ECU sometimes the soot build up is too much and it simply cannot clear itself, this then results in the engine management light being triggered on your dashboard and your mind going into overdrive about the big expense that’s on its way to you. Usually this has one of two effects, you contact us for help or stick your head in the sand and hope it goes out, unfortunately the later only makes things worse.

So What Am I doing Wrong & How Can I help keep my DPF Healthy?

Technically you’re not doing anything wrong, engines are built to travel, the longer the trip the happier and more economical the engine runs, it’s city driving that causes the build up quicker than usual so the best thing to do is to follow these tips..

  • Get out of the city and find a nice dual carriageway or motorway
  • Ensure engine is at operating temperature
  • Drive in fourth or fifth gear
  • Drive above 50 mph
  • Keep engine revs between 2000 and 3000 rpm
  • Keep going for at least 20 miles at a time

Whilst maintaining the above driving conditions, your cars ECU will check the DPF and if it feels that the DPF needs regenerating then it will kick in automatically and give your engine a purge from the nasty soot deposits.

In addition to the above we would recommend giving your fuel system a regular flush through using a high quality product such as STP, we can perform this procedure for you should you not wish to take the risk with fuel additives.

What Happens If I Forget Or Don’t Keep My DPF Healthy?

If you fail to keep your Diesel Particulate Filter in a healthy state with regular maintenance then you could be looking at complete DPF failure and the knock on effects from that could be costly.

  • Your cars pressure differential sensor can fail
  • Too many DPF regenerations have been carried out. (They have a limited lifespan)
  • Your DPF has become overloaded and automatic regeneration is not possible. In this case you need to force the regeneration process using suitable diagnostic equipment
  • Your DPF can break apart internally
  • The temperature sensor can fail
The above are the most common failures but there are quite a few other scenarios that can come from an under maintained DPF. If you would like to discuss your DPF regeneration and or maintenance then book an appointment with one of our technicians and we will be happy to talk through, check or diagnose any engine management lights that you currently have showing.


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