If you’re a proud owner of a diesel car, you’re probably aware of the diesel particulate filter (DPF) that is integrated into your exhaust, but do you happen to know what it does and how you need to keep your DPF clean and maintained?
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 at high temperatures and left as ash remains. There’s one main goal of this contraption and that’s to reduce the CO2 emissions from your diesel vehicle. We’re all for being environmentally conscious!
But there are times that you may encounter some problems with your DPF, one main issue being that it becomes blocked.
How Does A DPF 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. Your DPF 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 do long motorway journeys and mainly stick to short city journeys, which is the usual culprit for blocked DPFs. 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 DPF regeneration process to start and burn off the collected soot. Following this procedure, the results of this regeneration will allow the DPF to be working efficiently again.
For a more detailed explanation on what a DPF is and the two regenerations, check out our article: What Is A DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter)
If you find yourself in a situation where neither the passive nor active regeneration seems to be clearing your DPF, 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 blockage in your DPF will be that the DPF warning light will come on your dashboard, to warn you that it will need regeneration, in order to clear itself.
Here are some other signs to look out for when dealing with a blocked DPF:
- You feel a loss of power in your engine.
- The DPF light will appear on your dashboard.
- Passive and active regeneration keep failing.
- A pungent smell of diesel.
- 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 have to visit a garage for a professional DPF clean.
There are some short-term solutions when it comes to a blocked DPF, 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 cleaning your DPF thoroughly, where effectively all the soot and ash is removed! With this DPF clean, we ensure only the latest advanced technology is used to clean your DPF, in order to have it working efficiently again.
What Does This Cleaning Process Consist of?
With this service, you can be guaranteed the health of your DPF will be restored and it will be working to its full ability in no time, unless your DPF has suffered some sort of internal damage, in that case, you may need to replace it. 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 DPF from the exhaust.
2) Next, the inside of the DPF will be thoroughly inspected (via endoscope inspection) to look for any internal damage. Additionally, some pictures will be taken before the DPF 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 DPF 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 DPF.
7) The cleaning process that is carried out on the DPF is certified and has a one-year warranty.
8) The DPF is then re-installed on the vehicle. At this stage, a diagnostic should be carried out and the relevant ECU resets.
So, if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of a blocked DPF and you feel you’re in need of a professional DPF clean, contact Sinspeed today! You don’t have to worry about any legal complications, as our DPF clean service is 100% road legal and complies with the latest MOT regulations to keep the vehicle safe for road use.