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.
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.
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.
Signs that your Diesel Particulate Filter needs cleaning
- A warning light may appear
- A slight increase in fuel consumption
- Increased idle speed
- Deactivation of automatic stop/start
- A hot and strong smell emitting from the exhaust
- The note of the engine changing
If these issues are effecting your car it is almost certain that you will need your filter replacing which is likely to cost upwards of £1000 including diagnostic and labour time.
And if you were thinking of saving all of that time and money by removing the filter completely, think again, 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 road worthy 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.
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