Looking After Your DPF Filter
It is never a pleasant thing to be told that you need to replace your DPF, as it can be quite an expensive process. Diesel particulate filters are a required component of all diesel cars, meaning that you cannot drive your car without one, so simply removing the filter is not an option. (Find out why here) When their filter breaks down, most diesel drivers assume this is due to bad quality parts or general wear, not considering how they can prolong the life of the filter themselves. Due to this, lots of drivers burn through DPF’s regularly, which costs them a lot of money. In this article, we’re going to explore some of the things you can do to prolong the life of your diesel particulate filter.
Diesel particulate filters are designed to clean themselves, by burning away any residual materials that get caught in the filter. However, this cannot always happen. If a filter is not given enough power to flush itself of exhaust particles, the residue will build up, cause a blockage and potentially damage the filter. Passive DPF regeneration occurs when your car is running at high speeds for a long duration, such as motorway driving. This allows your exhaust temperature to increase to a level that burns away the excess soot. However, this kind of driving is not always regularly possible for a lot of people, so manufacturers have designed another method of regeneration for certain models.
Some cars are equipped with active DPF regeneration, which means that extra fuel is automatically injected into the engine by the engine control unit (ECU) when the soot inside your DPF reaches a predetermined limit, usually around 40 – 50%. This then automatically raises the temperature of your exhaust and burns away the residue. However, if you’re not driving for long enough while the process is taking place, it can halt the process and fail to burn it all away. Because of this, it’s important to know when your active regeneration is happening. Tell tale signs are:
- Your engine cooling fans are running
- You use a little more fuel than usual
- Your stop / start function stops working
- You can smell something strange coming from your exhaust
If you drive a diesel car that is equipped with active regeneration, and are experiencing these things, try to stay driving at decent speeds until it subsides. If it doesn’t stop, we advise getting your engine checked.
Use The Right Oil
Choosing the right oil for your car is absolutely vital to ensure the smooth running of the engine. Manufacturer approved oil is always a good idea, as this will help your engine produce as little diesel particulate material as possible. Most manufacturers will recommend a low SAPS oil, which stands for ‘Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus & Sulphur’. Low SAPS oils are designed to be low in sulphated ash, which helps your engine cut down on the diesel matter that it produces, which in turn puts less pressure on your DPF.
Avoid Urban Driving
In the past five years, the availability of high-spec diesel cars in the UK has massively increased due to new lease and finance deals, making brands like Audi and BMW more affordable for people. While this is a good thing (who wouldn’t want to drive a BMW every day?) most people only think about the brand when they choose a car, and don’t take into account what the vehicle’s engine was designed for.
Large engine diesel cars are not built to be driven primarily in cities, where frequent stopping and starting is common. Larger engines will produce more diesel matter, and city driving often limits drivers to medium and low speeds. This means that your DPF is not going to be able to burn away the soot that is being produced, and will get clogged much quicker. If you primarily drive in and around the city, we advise you to take the time to do some high speed driving every week. If you drive at speeds of 40mph or more for extended amounts of time, your DPF filter will be able to clean itself.
Get Your EGR Valve Checked
Your exhaust gas re-circulation valve (EGR) is designed to recirculate a portion of the exhaust gas from your engine back into the combustion chamber of your engine. This makes sure that your fuel is being completely burned while also decreasing the amount of harmful gases that your engine produces, such as nitrous oxide. Your EGR valve can become smothered with particulate matter just like your DPF, which causes the valve to stick open for longer than it should, increasing the amount of material being fed into the filter. Ensure you have your EGR valve checked whenever you take your car for a service.
Regular DPF Cleaning
Regular DPF cleaning can help extend the life of your filter by significant amounts. Rather than waiting until it blocks, regular cleaning of your filter can help it retain factory quality for a long time. This not only cuts down on the chance of a blockage, it keeps your DPF functioning properly and able to flush itself much more efficiently. Here at DPF Cleaning Express, we provide top quality and affordable DPF cleaning services across the country. If you want to keep your DPF in good condition and avoid the bigger costs, sending your DPF to us every 6 months can help extend the life of the filter significantly. Read more about our services, or get in touch with our team to discuss your requirements today.