Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) What you Need to Know | AG Auto

Having a properly functioning Diesel particulate filter, or DPF, is necessary for a diesel engine to run at peak performance as well as meet current EPA emission standards that were established in 2007. Knowing the signs of a DPF that requires professional attention will save you time and money in the long run. This article intends to explain the in’s and out’s of the DPF system- from symptoms of a faulty DPF, to the causes of failure and to what you can do now to make sure you’re getting the most out of your DPF system. 


What is a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter)?


The DPF system is designed to capture soot and ash from exiting the exhaust system and being released into the atmosphere. Occasionally, those particles can build up and eventually have to be cleaned and removed. The ash is made up of minerals, metals and other trace elements from the engine, fuel additives and lubricants which has to be removed and can not just be burned away by normal means. If not cleaned regularly, the ash can harden and close off a portion of the filter. A neglected DPF leads to lower power output, higher fuel consumption, and increased harmful gasses being emitted into the atmosphere. In the case you start to see the warning signs of a failing DPF, you can rely on AG Automotive to clean or replace the filter. Driving in urban areas and commuting short distances significantly increases the chances that your DPF will need to be cleaned. 


When should I clean or replace my DPF?


Your DPF system should automatically clear out the soot, known as regeneration, but the build up of ash is the real problem. Passive and active regeneration occurs while driving. Passive regeneration occurs under normal driving conditions and work load. But a vehicle that is under-working itself will require additional action by the system to actively clean out the soot. The cleaning interval depends on the workload of the vehicle. For fleet vehicles like Sprinter Vans and work trucks, it is recommended that the DPF be professionally cleaned every 50,000 to 75,000 miles. For vehicles that don’t require such a demanding load, it is recommended that the DPF be cleaned once per year or about every 1,000 hours of engine operation. A properly maintained DPF system should last around 100,000 to 200,000 miles depending on the type of work load.  


A vehicle with a properly functioning DPF system:

  • No check engine lights display a problem with your DPF
  • Standard fuel economy, performance, engine and transmission temperatures
  • Little to no soot or black smoke is emitted from the exhaust system. 
  • Engine runs smooth while idling or accelerating


Signs a DPF needs cleaning or replacement:

  • Poor performance
  • Excessive exhaust smoke 
  • Faulty glow plugs or glow plug control unit
  • Faulty thermostat
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Combustion/compression issue


Why do I need to clean or replace my  DPF?


To save our customers time and money, we need to correctly diagnose and identify the reason behind what is causing your DPF system to fail. Our DPF repair diesel induction service includes a diesel injection service, diesel particulate filter service, engine oil flush and oil change. We specialize in forcing a manual regeneration of the DPF system with our scanning tools along with adding the correct chemicals in the fuel after the regeneration. If blockage builds up in the filter, it can cause irreparable damage to the exhaust system. It is important to understand the causes and implications of a DPF system that is starting to fail to avoid massive repair costs, vehicle downtime and to prevent excess gasses from harming the environment. The EPA stated that the required cleaning interval for a DPF may be as short as 6 months.


Schedule a DPF/SCR/DOC diagnostic/repair service today!


When we suspect the DPF system is not functioning properly, we will scan control units for faults, run tests and read targeted live data streams, compare our results against the manufacturer’s specifications and check the software level of relevant ECUs. Upon gathering this information, we will be able to identify the exact cause of the DPF problems. A DPF service includes a forced regen to burn any soot build up, inspection of the filter to ensure there little to no build up of ash clogging the filter, a diesel injection service and an engine oil flush & replacement. Inspection of the DOC and SCR filters might also need to be inspected to ensure your entire exhaust aftertreatment system sequence is functioning properly and working in sync. 


AG Automotive specializes in DPF regeneration. Below are a few insights into how our expert technicians service DPF  exhaust systems.


 1. Diesel Particulate Filter Service 

Although we offer air and thermal cleaning, a manual regeneration with a reset tool is the most common solution to cleaning a particulate filter. There are three types of DFP systems whose processes function differently than one another. Passive systems operate the entire time the vehicle is driven. Active systems are triggered by the vehicle’s PCM as needed. Lastly, passive/active systems take advantage of both systems to burn off debris and suit. Taking up to 30 minutes, we will make sure the correct regeneration process is determined for your DPF system and conducted in a safe environment, as this process involves very high exhaust temperatures. 


 2.  Diesel Injection Service

The most common problem that diesel fuel injectors have is producing a build up of carbon on the nozzles, compromising the spray pattern in the combustion chamber causing a variety of other problems that have a negative impact on your vehicle’s health and functionality. Our technicians use the proper equipment and chemicals required to save you the cost of replacing the fuel injector completely. 


3. Engine oil flush 

The purpose of a diesel engine flush is to clean out the harmful carbon deposits, gunk, and sludge that build up in diesel engines over time. We will start by draining your oil to get rid of as much debris as we can before we start the flushing process and replace the filter after it’s all said and done. 


3. Oil Change  (Minor service)

#4: Since we want the best for our customers, we will make sure your engine’s oil and filter does not need to be replaced. We will let you know if it is time for your oil and filter to be replaced in case it has been overlooked.

Don’t Second-Guess the Condition of Your Vehicle

Many auto owners struggle to know if the right work was done the right way on their car. As a courtesy, we provide digital vehicle inspections and photos so you can quickly and easily see what our experienced, professional technicians are seeing. Overall, we go the extra mile to help you make informed decisions on the repair and maintenance plan of your vehicle, so you can drive with confidence every time you get behind the wheel.