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Diesel Particulate Filter cleaning

What is diesel particulate filter cleaning?

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) cleaning is the use of specialist cleaning technology and dedicated chemicals to lessen the soot emissions produced by your engine. Normally, your DPF eliminates soot automatically using passive regeneration. DPF cleaning service, however, gets rid of the leftover soot that is stopping regeneration from taking place.

In essence, the Diesel Particulate Filter cleaning service is intended to give your engine a thorough clean from the inside out. It is a chemical treatment which helps to lessen the soot emissions generated by your engine, regenerate the Diesel Particulate Filter, and clean away any remaining soot particles.

DPF cleaning costs and prices

The cost of a Diesel Particulate Filter Clean can vary depending on your car due to differences in labour time and parts needed. Take a look below at the average quote on WhoCanFixMyCar for some of the top car makes.

Car MakeAverage Price
Vauxhall£160.64
Ford£153.61
BMW£172.06
Mercedes£177.63
Audi£170.66
Nissan£157.56
Volkswagen£161.71
Citroen£163.34
Peugeot£152.65
Volvo£150.46
Toyota£160.75
Renault£153.58
MINI£161.33

What is a Diesel Particulate Filter?

Diesel Particulate Filters are extremely important to have in your vehicle. The filter captures and stores exhaust soot in order to help reduce emissions coming from diesel cars.

Ever since 2009, the Euro 5 standard has been enforced, a rule which ensures all new diesel cars must have particulate filters fitted.

These pieces of equipment were introduced in an effort to reduce the particle and soot emissions from diesel engines. Diesel Particulate filters (DPF) trap soot before it blows out of an exhaust and like any filter, it requires cleaning in order to maintain performance. Fortunately the filter itself has self-cleaning capabilities known as regeneration.

There are two types of regeneration which can be carried out on your car:

Passive Regeneration

This process happens automatically while the exhaust is at a high temperature which will usually occur when you are driving down a motorway or quickly down an A-road. However, as many vehicles aren’t always being driven at high speeds, an alternative system for regeneration exists.

Active Regeneration

This method of cleaning the DFP is controlled by an engine management computer and happens automatically when the filter reaches 45% of its limit. The process is initiated by the fuel injection being increased which makes the exhaust heat up and therefore clear the filter. However, if your drive is a short one and the process tries to initiate, it will not be able to properly clear the filter, in this eventuality, the warning light in your car will come on.

A drive of about ten minutes at a speed of around 40mph should be adequate for the process to be successful.

  • Diesel Particulate Filter clean

    The average cost of a Diesel Particulate Filter clean booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £165.47.

    A local garage or mechanic can clean out your engine with a DPF clean. This chemical treatment will help to unblock and reduce the soot emissions produced by your engine.

    Can include
    • DPF cleaning with chemicals
    • DPF cleaning with air
    • Thermal cleaning process
  • Diesel Particulate Filter replacement

    The average cost of a Diesel Particulate Filter replacement booked on WhoCanFixMyCar is £354.47.

    In some cases, a DPF replacement may be needed instead of a clean. The DPF could become fully blocked, or the engine is not able to self-clean (regenerate) itself. This replacement must be done by a specialist using diagnostic tools.

    Can include
    • Diagnostics
    • DPF part replacement

Which service do you need?

DPF cleaning with chemicals

Regular filter maintenance is a necessity. DPF filters go through a regeneration process which removes this soot and lowers the filter pressure. Using a probe as well as a pressure gun, the chemical cleaning liquid is sprayed onto the surface and inside the filter components at pressure. The cost of a DPF clean with chemicals averages at £200.

DPF cleaning with air

Cleaning with compressed air takes two main steps. The first is removing the filter and blowing it with compressed air. For this part, the filter is usually fixed mechanically and clean with the help of a pressure gun and compressed air. The second step is more complicated, where the filter is placed in a closed cleaning system and an automatic cleaning process takes place, which includes compressed air being applied to the filter to thoroughly clean it.  

DPF cleaning using a thermal cleaning process

In this thermal cleaning process, the particulate filters or catalytic converters are heated over a long period of time, sometimes up to 8 hours, using a furnace or oven type of device. This helps to remove the residues of soot as they will begin to burn, and thus, soot is expelled without the need to disassemble the filters. The remaining ash is then blown or flushed out.  

What is a diesel particulate filter?

What is a DPF and how can it be cleaned?

DPF Cleaning Process thumpnail

Warning signs your car needs a DPF clean

Here are some warning signs that your Diesel Particulate Filter needs attention from a DPF specialist:

  • There is a loss of power in your engine .

  • The DPF warning light will appear on your dashboard

  • Slight increase in fuel consumption

  • Increased idle speed

  • Passive and active regeneration keeps failing

  • A pungent smell of diesel from the exhaust

  • Automatic Stop-Start System Not Working.

  • Large clouds of smoke

If these issues are affecting your car it's very likely that you will need your filter cleaning or replacing.

And if you were thinking of saving all of that time and money by removing the filter completely, think again, because it’s illegal to remove the DPF.

The Department for Transport states that it is an offence to remove the filter or modify the piece of equipment in a way which would result in the vehicle failing air pollutant emission standards. Breaking the law will result in the vehicle not being roadworthy so if you are ever offered to have your filter removed, make sure to keep this in mind.

Every MOT now includes a check for the DPF and a smoke test from the exhaust so there is very little chance of getting away with removing the filter.

If you need to have the filter regenerated manually, you must take your vehicle to a trained professional immediately. They will initiate a process where the exhaust is heated up to a point where regeneration happens and soot is cleared from the filter.

dpf

Common problems with the DPF:

Potential problems with your DPF are shown below: 

  • Sensor faults preventing a passive/dynamic regeneration

  • Sticking or faulty EGR valve

  • Stifles engine performance

  • Increased exhaust emissions

Is DPF cleaning necessary?

There are a number of different  opinions about whether cleaning the DPF is necessary or not when no noticeable signs are present. Some manufacturers recommend that you clean your DPF every 30,000 miles, while other manufacturers suggest cleaning it every 50,000 miles. DPF specialists often say that a DPF can last up to around 100,000 miles if maintained properly.  DPF cleaning is the most effective way to unblock your DPF filter and restore it to full working order. If the soot trapped by a DPF is not removed regularly, the filter can't work properly. If you need to replace a filter it can cost over £1000 so it’s worth considering a DPF clean. 

Get your DPF cleaning carried out from home

If you are looking for mobile DPF cleaning, regeneration and replacement services then the good news is that you will find some DPF specialists that offer this service. A DPF clean can take around 2 hours to complete.

If you have a DPF fault then you can get a garage technician to diagnose your DPF from your drive, or they will collect your car to take it to their garage and then drop it back off when they are done.

What is a diesel particulate filter?

A diesel particulate filter gets rid of small soot particles. Modern engines burn very efficiently, but even the cleanest diesel engine still emits some soot particles. The diesel particulate filter catches these particles and burns them off in a process known as regeneration. Since 2009, all diesel cars have had these filters added.

What are the common DPF problems?

If the DPF can't 'regenerate' completely (through insufficient long journeys) the filter will eventually fill to above 75% full, too high for regeneration through driving. A DPF warning light will appear on the dashboard and shouldn't be ignored - if the filter fills completely your car won't run properly.

What happens if my diesel particulate filter breaks?

If your DPF fills to over 75% it needs to be taken out and 'cleansed' by a garage. If you don't do this, a new one will be required. If you do neither, your car won't run properly.

What does it cost to replace a diesel particulate filter?

A diesel particulate filter replacement can cost over £1,000. A much cheaper option is to have the DPF cleaned - this typically costs around £200.

Is the DPF cleaning covered under warranty?

A DPF is only covered under the warranty for structural failure. A blocked DPF is not covered by the warranty as the problem stems upstream of the DPF.

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