You may have never even heard of the term ‘diesel particulate filter’ before today. However, chances are that if you’re the proud owner of a diesel-powered European vehicle, then you most definitely have one sitting in your car at this very moment. Needless to say, as it is with most other parts of your automobile, it’s a good idea to get a firm grasp on what they are and how they work, so that you can identify when things go wrong and promptly respond to the situation. In this way, you will be able to extend the life of your vehicle, whilst also bulking up on your level of knowledge.
Now, we realise that mechanic mumbo-jumbo can be pretty tough to comprehend at times, especially if you’ve had little to no experience dealing with vehicles beforehand. Luckily, we’ve broken down all you need to know about your diesel particulate filter, or DPF, into simple and digestible little pieces, so that you can gain a much clearer understanding of how this small cog functions in the works of your entire vehicle.
What Is a DPF?
A DPF, which has been mandatory in diesel vehicles since 2008 in Australia, is a ceramic filter which sits in your vehicle’s exhaust system. Its primary function is to collect the soot that is created when diesel fuel is burned, and prevent it from escaping out through the tailpipe into the atmosphere.
Soot is known to have an incredibly devastating effect upon the environment, contributing to a number of issues including haze and acidification of lakes and rivers. For human workers regularly exposed to soot, it can also increase the risks of developing certain cancers, particularly lung and bladder cancer. That said, a proper functioning DPF is not only vital towards ensuring your vehicle’s health and performance, but also for minimising negative effects inflicted upon the environment.
How Often Should It Be Cleaned?
As your DPF collects soot over time, it will eventually need to go through the process of regeneration, which is essentially like a cleaning process. There are three different types of methods used for regeneration:
- Passive Regeneration
This takes place automatically. When you take your vehicle out for a long drive, it gives time for the exhaust to heat up to a high enough temperature, which is then able to carry out the process of regeneration by burning off the stored soot.
- Active Regeneration
This occurs when your vehicle’s exhaust isn’t able to heat up to the ideal temperature needed to clean out the DPF filter on its own. It involves having an extra amount of fuel injected automatically, controlled by your vehicle’s ECU, which then allows your exhaust to reach this ideal temperature and burn off the excess soot. Your warning light may come on however, if the regeneration process is not carried out in full.
- Forced Regeneration– Forced regeneration will become necessary when passive and active regeneration fails, and your warning light continues to show that your DPF filter is blocked. It involves your mechanic connecting a diagnostic scanning tool to your vehicle, which will then force it to carry out the regeneration process.
Of course, automatic regeneration can only occur if your vehicle meets the specific conditions required. For example, if you only take your vehicle out for short city drives, then it may not allow the DPF to get to the temperature it needs in order to burn off stored soot. This is the exact reason why a DPF service is so important for vehicle owners to get at around every 50,000kms. Through having your DPF cleaned and serviced at these intervals, you can ensure to avoid a number of issues associated with a clogged DPF filter, including increased emissions, decreased engine performance and costly repairs.
In addition to this, bringing your car in for service also allows your mechanic to check up on your Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, which is the system responsible for directing some exhaust gases back into the engine intake manifold in order to lower combustion temperature. This is especially relevant because when an EGR valve becomes clogged, it can also cause issues with your DPF. Such issues occur as the clogged EGR valve increases the amount of diesel soot that is passed on to the DPF, leading to faster blockage. As such, it’s important for you to always subject your vehicle to routine maintenance so that your mechanic can identify any issues before they have the chance to develop further. Moreover, if you experience any symptoms of a blocked DPF or EGR valve, be sure to arrange an appointment with your local workshop right away.
Book in for a DPF Service at European Prestige Auto Service
By keeping up with your luxury vehicle’s servicing needs, you can ensure to keep your diesel particulate filter in top condition, whilst also ensuring high performance and an extended lifespan for your entire automobile. At European Prestige Auto Service, our skilful mechanics are well versed in dealing with a range of different European vehicle brands, including BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Citroen to name a few. Equipped with the latest technology and backed with a wealth of experience and expertise, our team of diligent auto technicians are dedicated towards providing your vehicle with the highest standards for care and servicing there is.
So, to book your vehicle in for a DPF service with European Prestige Auto Service, be sure to call us now and take advantage of a free courtesy vehicle!