What is a DPF filter?

Author Name – Jack Underwood

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Diesel particulate filters are fitted on all diesel cars which have been manufactured after 2009. Diesel particulate filters were introduced to help reduce the number of harmful gases pumped out of the exhaust and into the atmosphere. In this article, we will be explaining the purpose of the diesel particulate filter (DPF) and how it helps reduce harmful emissions. It is important to note that despite DPF’s being fitted mandatory on to diesel cars since 2009, some vehicle models were fitted with diesel particulate filters earlier, mainly vehicles designed to Euro 5 emissions standards.

dpf filter

The main job of the diesel particulate filter is to capture and store the excess exhaust soot which is produced by diesel cars. However, as the DPF has a limited capacity, this can lead to a number of issues which may lead to potential issues. In some cases, the DPF may get blocked which would require the diesel particulate filter to be emptied manually. This can be done at your local National Tyres and Autocare branch.

Diesel particulate filters are checked as part of your MOT. You can be fined if you remove a DPF from a vehicle which was originally fitted with one.

What is a diesel particulate filter (DPF)?

As part of the combustion process which takes place in the engine, soot is created within diesel cars. This varies from petrol engines which does not result in the soot being present. Some of particles within the soot are harmful which can cause a number of environmental issues. If a diesel particulate filter is faulty, you will be able to identify this quickly due to black smoke appearing from your exhaust. The job of the diesel particulate filter is to capture the soot and prevent the majority of the harmful particles being pumped out the exhaust pipe and into the atmosphere.

Diesel Particulate Filter regeneration

It is important that the DPF is kept clean. The clever thing here is that diesel particulate filters are self-cleaning (this is also described as ‘regenerating’). Dependant on your vehicle model, there are two types of DPF regeneration which are as follows:

  • Active regeneration: This occurs when additional fuel to administered by the car’s electronic control unit. This increases the temperature and burns the excess soot with the DPF.
  • Passive regeneration: This occurs when you are driving. This is why it is important that if you own a diesel car, that you drive your car for over 30 minutes a week, ideally motorway driving. This passive regeneration will prevent blockages within the DPF.

It is important to be aware that your DPF will need to be changed approximately every 100,000 miles. Due to this, it is extremely important that your check a car’s service history if you are in the market to purchase a used car- as these can be quite expensive to replace. To find out how to check service history please click on the related article below.

Related: How to check service history

You can purchase DPF cleaner and this is a way to prevent the build-up of soot within the diesel particulate filter. However, we would recommend allowing the passive regeneration process to take place as a more reliable cleaning process.

Diesel Particulate Filters at National

Issues with your car’s diesel particulate filter can be due to a number of different issues, such as poor quality oil.

Related: Book an oil change

We recommend that your regularly get your vehicle serviced to ensure it is performing to its optimum level and any issues can be identified. At your local National Tyres and Autocare branch, you can book in for either an Express, Interim or Full Service. For more information on our servicing packages, please click on the related article link below.

Related: Book a car service

You may get a car dashboard warning light appearing stating that your DPF may be blocked. If this is the case, it may be that the regeneration process has not effectively taken place and your car would need to have a car diagnostic test. Again, we would recommend booking in at your local National Tyres and Autocare branch to get your vehicle checked by our highly trained branch staff.

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