DPF Problems & Our Filter Cleaning Service
If you’re a proud owner of a modern diesel car, you’re probably aware of the diesel particulate filter (DPF) that is integrated into your exhaust. Its sole purpose is to drastically lower the emissions from your diesel car to meet stricter emissions standards. Did you know the filter requires maintenance and if ignored, can cause catastrophic damage?
As the name suggests, a DPF, most commonly known as a soot trap, is a filter with the job of capturing and storing soot produced by the exhaust. This soot is then burnt off in a process called regeneration at high temperatures and left as ash remains. There’s one main goal of this contraption and that’s to reduce the amount of particulate matter in the exhaust gasses. We’re all for being environmentally conscious!
But there are times that you may encounter some problems with the soot trap filter, one main issue being that it becomes blocked.
How Does A DPF Filter Become Blocked?
If you think about it, like any other filter, there may come a time it develops a blockage and needs to be emptied and cleaned. The filter is equipped to handle this scenario if it occurs, with two processes: passive and active regeneration.
In summary, passive regeneration is when you drive at a reasonably high speed on the motorway for at least half an hour, allowing the temperature of the exhaust to get high enough to burn off the soot trapped in the filter. However, some people rarely go on long motorway drives and mainly stick to short journeys around town, which is the usual culprit for premature failure. Short trips do not allow the diesel engine to run consistently and long enough to produce optimum temperatures in the exhaust. This is why active regeneration was designed.
In this process, the Engine Control Unit (ECU) senses that the build-up of soot has reached the pre-set limit (which is approximately 45%) and then injects extra fuel in order to increase the temperature of the exhaust. In turn, this urges the filter regeneration process to start and burn off the collected soot. Following this procedure, the results of this regeneration will allow the blocked filter to be working efficiently again.
For a more detailed explanation on what a diesel particulate filter is and the two regenerations, check out our article: What Is A DPF Filter.
If you find yourself in a situation where neither the passive nor active regeneration seems to be clearing the blocked filter, you may have a bigger blockage than you thought.
What Are The Signs Of A Blocked DPF?
The main and most obvious sign that you have a problem with the filter system will be that the DPF warning light will illuminate on your dashboard, to warn you that it will need regenerating, in order to clear itself. If the DPF light is accompanied by the engine management light, the situation may have already progressed to a more serious problem and it will need to be diagnosed on a diagnostic scanner.
Here are some other signs to look out for when dealing with a DPF Problem:
- You feel a loss of power in your engine (limp mode).
- The DPF light will appear on your dashboard.
- Passive and active regeneration keep failing.
- A pungent smell of diesel.
- Automatic Stop-Start System Not Working
- Your car seems to be releasing an excessive amount of smoke.
- An Increase in the oil level.
- You’ve noticed an increase in fuel consumption.
If the scenario occurs where both passive and active regeneration fails, another light may pop up on your dashboard, to alert you to this fact and in that case, you may require our specialist DPF cleaning services.
There are some short-term solutions when it comes to a blocked filter, including a process called forced regeneration or the use of chemical additives, but this will not remove the ash, only the soot. Instead of wasting money on a very temporary solution, we recommend you consider our thorough DPF cleaning service, where effectively all of the soot and ash is removed! With this cleaning service, we ensure only the latest advanced technology is used to clean your unit, in order to have it working efficiently again.
What Does This DPF Cleaning Process Consist Of?
With this service, you can be guaranteed the health of your exhaust filter will be restored and it will be working to its full capacity in no time, unless it has suffered some sort of internal damage, in which case, you may need to replace it. Fear not, if it does require replacing, we do offer a bespoke DPF Replacement Service guaranteed to save you money! So what does this cleaning process involve?
1) First of all, when you bring in your vehicle, we run a diagnostic session on the vehicle to make a log of any fault codes stored and active in the ECU. We then proceed to remove the filter from the exhaust.
2) Next, the inside of the filter will be thoroughly inspected (via endoscope inspection) to look for any internal damage. Additionally, some pictures will be taken before the unit undergoes the deep cleanse.
3) Then, in order to check the severity of the blockage, a back-pressure test is done.
4) Once the test is completed, the filter is positioned in a high-tech cleaning machine and then undergoes a two-way clean with a water-based solution and a thorough drying process to ensure all soot and ash is removed.
5) Now, to confirm the successful results of the deep cleaning service, another back-pressure test is done.
6) Another internal inspection is carried out, along with some more photos of the now clean interior of the filter unit.
7) The cleaning process that is carried out on the unit is certified and has a one-year warranty.
8) The filter is then re-installed on the vehicle. At this stage, a diagnostic should be carried out and the relevant ECU resets.
What About A DPF Removal?
We do offer DPF Removal services, however, due to changes in the MOT standard and emissions laws, it is now illegal to drive a vehicle with the Diesel Particulate Filter removed on public roads. Removal is only an option as an off-road service and should not be considered for road use.
So, if you’re experiencing any DPF problems and face symptoms of a blocked filter, you may be in need of a professional DPF Cleaning Service, contact Sinspeed today! You don’t have to worry about any legal complications, as our filter cleaning service is 100% road legal and complies with the latest MOT regulations and emissions standards to keep the vehicle safe for road use.