Why is DPF Removal Illegal?

A Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) is a component found in diesel cars designed to capture the soot and waste materials from the engine exhaust system. This reduces harmful emissions from diesel engines and prevents black smoke. Before 2014, many motorists chose to remove their DPF in an effort to improve the economy of their cars and avoid potential damage that can be caused when the filter becomes blocked. Many drivers thought that yanking their DPF out altogether was a cheaper alternative than buying a new one, since it doesn’t stop your car working outright.

But in 2014, a law was passed that proclaims driving a diesel car with no DPF fitted to be a punishable offence. While the act of removing the filter is not illegal in itself, driving the vehicle without one is a crime.

Why was DPF Removal Criminalised?

A Diesel Particulate Filter removes a lot of harmful materials from the exhaust system of a diesel engine. Instead of kicking all the soot out with the exhaust fumes, these materials are then ‘burned away’ by the gradual working of the engine. Driving your car without a DPF installed will cause these waste materials to be thrown into your exhaust system, which worsens the emissions that your car kicks out. In an effort to improve the eco-friendliness of diesel cars, driving without a DPF was made illegal. 

If you are caught driving a car with no DPF installed, you will receive a four figure fine on the spot. If you try and pass an MOT test with no DPF installed, your car will fail, and many service centres will notify the DVLA. So how do you avoid getting into one of these situations?

How To Avoid The Issue

A lot of people who receive DPF removal related fines haven’t removed the filter themselves. Many motorists are caught out every year when they purchase a second hand diesel car and don’t ask about the DPF. Make sure to ask whether the DPF has been removed, and check for it yourself before buying. Even if you are told the DPF is still installed in the car, check. 

Some will tell you that they had the DPF removed and have never had any problems because it ‘isn’t really illegal’ or ‘the police don’t care’. They do. If you buy a car with no DPF, you will get caught. Whether it’s being pulled over by the police because your exhaust is kicking out tonnes of black smoke, or by an MOT service centre, you will get caught, and you will get fined. Some service centres may offer DPF removal as a service, giving similar reasoning to the dodgy dealers I just mentioned. Don’t fall for it. But what if your DPF is causing issues with your car? What can you do other than pull the thing out?

Alternatives to DPF Removal

If your DPF becomes blocked, you have three options in front of you. Option one is removing the DPF and getting a hefty fine. We’ve already ruled that one out, so let’s move on. Option two is getting it cleaned and restored to factory condition, and option three is replacement. 

Here at DPF Cleaning Express, we offer DPF cleaning, restoration and replacement services to thousands of motorists around the UK every year. Specialising in German engineered cars, our expert technicians have the capability to restore your DPF filter back to factory condition for a fraction of the price of main dealers. 

Thanks to our cutting edge TerraClean technology, we can remove any traces of waste materials from your DPF filter quickly and easily. Get in touch with our team today for more information.

Speak to an expert

Got concerns about your DPF? Whether it’s a repair, a replacement or just some advice about your filter, we can help. Get in touch with us using the form below, drop us an email or give us a call on 0114 3490923. We look forward to hearing from you.


0114 3490 923


Unit 3, The Gables
Holywell Road
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
S4 8AR