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So what is a DPF?

DPF is short for Diesel Particulate Filter.

The DPF is fitted into the exhaust systems of pretty much every diesel vehicle built since 2006 and was introduced to ‘capture’ the particles of soot that are naturally left over from the combustion of diesel fuel. This soot is seen as the black smoke from the exhaust, a traditional indication that the vehicle in front is a diesel. The DPFs job is to capture these particles of soot to effectively ‘clean up’ the exhaust emissions of diesel vehicles.

A correctly operating diesel vehicle, driven in the correct manner and using the correct fuel should, in theory, never have an issue with the DPF as the DPF is also self cleaning (this self cleaning involves the DPF core heating up much higher than it would during normal operation and this additional heat causes the trapped particles of soot to be incinerated in one go, this process is called self regeneration).
However, as with most things that are ‘in theory’ the real World operation application of a DPF gives differing results.

For instance, a diesel vehicle used for short journeys will never allow the engine and exhaust system to reach temperatures required to initialise a self regeneration so this will result in the DPF becoming restricted or even blocked.

To provide trouble free DPF operation the DPF also requires all other engine related components to operate correctly and the information from these components be correctly passed to the vehicles ECU (Engine Control Unit). The ECU can then control these components in the relevant manner to ensure the correct fuel / air mixture reaches the cylinders. Should a component fail and the ECU be given incorrect information or the ECU not be able to control a component because it has failed it will also invariably result in a restricted or blocked DPF.

Fuel quality is also a major player in DPF longevity. When DPFs where first introduced some diesel drivers still proceeded to use bio diesel / vegetable oil blends (as they had in older, stronger diesels) as a lower cost option to dino juice. Unfortunately the ‘burn’ of bio / veg oils produces different by-products and gases which can clog up the narrow tubes within a DPF filter causing a restricted or blocked DPF in double quick time.

So a few golden rules apply to vehicles fitted with a DPF filter, these rules are:

  • Use only branded diesel fuel.
  • Avoid continuous short journeys, anything less than 4 miles followed by the engine being turned off for an hour or more before the next journey is considered a short journey. Note: If short journeys cannot be avoided then consider a 20-30 mile drive, which will involve at some point driving at 60mph continually for 10-15 minutes, ideally once a week but certainly no less than once every fortnight.
  • Insist on the use of OEM / genuine service parts and components, particularly engine and engine ancillary parts. Non original components are of vastly inferior quality and rarely (if ever) have an operational life that is close to the OEM versions.
  • Should a DPF failure occur resist the temptation to replace it with a copy non original DPF. Copy DPFs truly are more hassle than they are worth, they are made to a set price and to achieve the very low prices they are built using inferior quality materials and it’s also quite likely that child labour is utilised to keep costs even lower.
  • Do not put vegetable oil or bio diesel in your fuel tank.
  • Don’t ignore any dash warning lights or error messages on the driver information display as the warnings may be giving a pre-warning which, if dealt with quickly enough, could prevent a bigger more expensive problem developing.
  • Be very selective when considering adding a fuel treatment to your fuel tank. The fuel additive market is saturated with fuel additives all of which claim to be better than the next with ridiculous claims and promises. Some of these additives are nothing more than coloured kerosene but at a ridiculously inflated price. We have a number of fuel additive options that DO work so feel free to contact us regarding such products.

So, as and when DPF issues strike your awesome diesel vehicle you’ll need a firm to tackle the problems head on, may we suggest……….

Ribble Valley Diesels are very proud to offer a DPF cleaning and regeneration service which provides incredible results at a sensible price.

The practice of DPF removal/blanking/deactivation is now completely ILLEGAL (despite what that dodgy geezer on facebook with hundreds of likes from his mates says) and not only is the person carrying out the removal breaking the law, the owner of the vehicle is also on the wrong side of the law too.

So for those of you not wishing to hand a chunk of your hard earned to the enviroMENTAL police or having points applied to your driving licence it would be wise to consider our totally legal DPF cleaning service.

Our DPF cleaning and regeneration service involves the use of specialised diagnostic procedures and tools, a unique double flushing/cleaning chemical combo of the DPF core followed by rechecking of pre and post DPF differential pressures. Depending upon the results of these pressure figures it will determine whether a second or third DPF flush / clean is required and / or whether an underlying problem elsewhere on the vehicle requires investigation as quite often another component failing on the vehicle with cause premature issues with the DPF.

With so many engine cleaning and DPF cleaning firms setting up and eager to take your money it is rather tricky to know which option to take, but with our years of experience we do have one MAJOR pointer………..

Avoid, like the plague, firms that offer a full ‘chemical clean’ of your entire intake, fuel system, engine and exhaust/DPF system. The claims made by such firms are utter and complete HORSESH@T and a few of these firms have even been to court over such ridiculous claims. Not only are the claims they make nonsense, the way the product/s are applied and the products themselves are actually potentially dangerous to the engine and it’s components. We have seen with our very own eyes ruined injectors, damaged injection / high pressure pumps and ruined engines following such a ‘chemical clean’ being carried out.

The only form of chemical cleaning we advise and that we will carry out is a chemical clean of ONLY the DPF itself, we:

  • DO NOT shove chemicals through the engine.
  • DO NOT pass chemicals through the fuel system
  • DO NOT blow chemicals in through the air intake

For a SAFE and effective DPF clean leave it to us, if you are not local too us then contact us and we can suggest a local ‘DPF Doctor’ in your area.