What is a diesel particulate filter?

29 March 2020 / raj@smarter-media.co.uk

A diesel particulate filter (DPF) is an essential component when it comes to keeping your diesel car within the current emissions legislation. It's a filter that helps to retain the soot generated by your car, which in turn reduces the amount of emissions. A DPF has been essential for a car to pass an MOT since 2014.

Maintenance is essential

The soot storage capacity in the filter is finite. As a result, it needs to be 'burned off' or emptied periodically to help regenerate the DPF. The regeneration process cleanly burns off excess soot in the filter. This helps to reduce damaging exhaust emissions and can limit the give-away black smoky discharge that can be seen from diesel vehicles particularly when they are accelerating.

Knowing when your DPF is blocked

If your DPF gets clogged up or develops a system fault an orange light will usually appear on the dashboard. The light indicator often resembles a box filled with dots and with a pipe at either end. They can vary between makes and model of cars so consult your manufacturer if you are unsure. 

How are DPF blockages caused?

Low-speed journeys over short distances are the primary cause of soot building up in the diesel particulate filter. These are the kind of journeys often undertaken by city and town commuters. For that reason, it's generally recommended that drivers who travel a lot over short distances in urban areas should purchase a petrol car. You can partially regenerate your filter by taking it for a 30-50 mile drive at a sustained speed on the motorway.

Regular services

Not having your car serviced is another reason why a car's DPF can become blocked. In a car that's regularly serviced a DPF can last for 100,000 miles. Using the correct oil is important too. Some oils contain additives that can block filters.
Here at Automax, we can perform car servicing or a full MOT to make sure your car is in top condition. We have professional and experienced mechanics on hand to cater to your every need - contact us today!