Does my diesel particulate filter need to be replaced?

July 13, 2022 by Earl Watts
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There is a lot of talk about diesel fitted with DPF. A DPF is an exhaust filter fitted to most late-model diesel cars.

It’s used to eliminate harmful gasses, such as hydrocarbons, fuel, fluids, as well as water and Sulphates. These substances are able to attach themselves to soot and can create harmful particles in the exhaust of diesel engines.

The dangerous gasses can result due to a variety of factors, including poor or incorrect maintenance, low-quality fuel, poor driving habits, and poor combustion. The filter, also known as the DPF filter, is designed to trap the particles. The filter can be rejuvenated through intense heat burning at high temperatures.

Problems may arise in the event that regeneration is not completed and the filter gets blocked. It has been said that the diesel particulate filtrate filter is a complicated and costly component that needs to be replaced. But, I’ve found it to not be true.

If monitored and diagnosed correctly, a replacement can be avoided. A DPF error in the engine’s computer doesn’t necessarily indicate that the DPF is blocked.

What are the symptoms of DPF blockage?

You may notice the following signs that your DPF is getting blocked.

  • Surging/poor performance.
  • Excessive fuel consumption.
  • Excessive smoking – black, blue, or white.
  • Display of the engine or DPF emission light.
  • Difficult to start the engine
  • The engine runs rough.
  • Infeasible attempts at regeneration

What are regenerations?

The vehicle’s computer-embedded algorithms perform periodic regenerations (burns) that increase the temperature of the exhaust in order to ‘burn away’ any soot or particles. If a component is unable to function correctly, it can cause a surge in the number of regenerations, or even end them together until the issue is resolved. The exhaust then releases excessive black smoke, as a result of regenerations. It’s harmless. It is only an indication that something is wrong that smoke is constantly blowing.

How can you reduce potential DPF failure/blockage?

  • Make sure that the mechanic you hire is knowledgeable and experienced in diesel engines.
  • Avoid Missing services and incorrect oils
  • Avoid driving in an accident-prone area (dash warning lights).
  • Avoid poor-quality diesel fuel.
  • Modify your car with caution.
  • I address DPF driving behaviors – decrease idling (increase the rpm at a lower speed than load) and then lower the gear, particularly when crawling.
  • Talk to your mechanic about any unusual changes you notice in the performance of your vehicles like more raucous whistles, hissing noises, or jerking sounds. These unusual changes in driveability could cause your DPF not to regenerate.
  • Ask your mechanic to check DPF clamps
  • Avoid making use of “on car intake/induction cleaners” even the recommendation of your mechanic them. They could result in damage to DPFs or other components that are important.
  • DPF problems can be caused by component failures, but they don’t always require replacement.
  • Maintained DPF can travel as far as 200 000 km before it needs to be removed for cleaning or replacement.

What does it cost to replace or clean the DPF?

Be conscious that DPF work should only be done by a certified, experienced mechanic who has the right tools to reset and re-fit the DPF. Once the initial problem has been identified, the DPF must be taken off and either cleaned using the recommended cleaner or cleaned by a DPF cleaning company.

The best DPF cleaning companies should have a minimum of five years of cleaning success.
They can also find out if the DPF is in fact damaged internally. A mechanic will examine the DPF on your car to see if it is blocked. They are not able to determine whether or not the DPF has collapsed or melted internally causing the blockage.

A passenger vehicle’s average cost of cleaning is approximately $600.
Many vehicles are equipped with DPFs. Manufacturers alter their designs often, so it can be difficult to determine the DPF on a particular vehicle. Due to the DPF being considered to be the most regulated emission component on motor vehicles, they don’t expose who the DPF manufacturer is.