Case Studies

Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Jaguar Mercedes, and Mini Cooper – The Particulars On The Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

The Particulars of the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)
DPF is a device designed to remove diesel particulate matter or soot from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine.

Why do we need a DPF?
For vehicle manufacturers to meet strict European and US emissions legislation, the DPF reduces exhaust smoke and black soot, significantly reducing emissions and thereby protecting the environment.

How does it work?
DPFs or ‘traps’ do that; they trap or catch particles of soot in the exhaust. As with any filter, they must be emptied to allow them to maintain performance. The process of cleaning the filter is known as ‘regeneration.’

How long does a DPF last?
DPFs are designed to last in excess of 100,000 miles. If the vehicle is operated correctly, the DPF may well exceed this mileage.

Why does the DPF need regeneration/cleaning?
The DPF traps soot particles as they pass through the monolith, and like any filter, this must be regenerated or cleaned to restore it to full operation. Under normal operation, this process is carried out by the car itself (passive regeneration). However, cars used mainly for short journeys do not provide sufficient opportunity to regenerate the DPF – this can result in an engine warning light and/or lack of power.

What happens if my DPF warning light comes on?
The DPF warning light normally comes on when the back pressures in the exhaust exceed a predetermined limit, indicating the exhaust is starting to block up. Once this light has come on, there will be a fault code stored in the engine management, which will prevent ‘passive regeneration’.  At this stage, the vehicle requires a ‘forced regeneration,’ which can only be carried out in the workshop with specialist BMW diagnostic equipment.  A ‘forced regeneration’ uses the diagnostic equipment to initiate the DPF regeneration and subsequently operate the car at load (providing there are no other engine faults).

What if the DPF won’t regenerate?
Failure to have the regeneration completed would result in the filter becoming blocked further. The engine will lose power, and the filter may be beyond repair and require replacement, which can be costly.

How long does the regeneration process take?
The DPF can take approximately an hour and a half to three hours to complete.

How can I prevent the DPF from becoming clogged?
Vehicles fitted with DPFsaudi require frequent highway journeys lasting at least half an hour in a lower gear to increase exhaust temperature.

Our Goal For You and Your Car
Our goal is to save you money, not spend it. This is why each and every car that we service gets a free Courtesy Maintenance Inspection during its first visit. Our goal is to let you know about the small problems before they become big ones. Right now, we have a number of customer cars with well over 200,000 miles and several approaching 300,000! And these cars are not just limping along – most look and drive pretty much the way they came out of the showroom.

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