Understanding Your Diesel Particulate Filter: When Your System Becomes Blocked

Diesel particulate filters, or DPFs, reduce the soot produced by diesel engines to help eliminate air pollution caused by these engines. While early DPFs needed to be cleaned regularly, newer models are self regenerating and the filter does not get clogged as often with deposits. The regeneration process occurs while you are driving, and if conditions aren't right for the DPF to clean itself you may get a warning light that tells you that your filter is partially clogged and not working correctly. 

Passive vs. Active DPF Regeneration

The DPF on your diesel car or truck will either regenerate passively or actively, depending on how you have been driving the vehicle. The filter requires hot temperatures to burn off the soot caught by the filter and turn it into ash. Passive regeneration happens when you are spending time driving on the highway and your exhaust system reaches high temperatures because of the extended use. While this works for many commercial trucks that travel long distances, cars fitted with DPFs needed a system that would activate this cleaning process if this type of driving didn't occur. The system will clean itself actively if the cleaning doesn't occur from driving habits alone.

Signs That Your DPF Is Regenerating Actively

When your DPF needs to regenerate and your driving hasn't caused this to occur, there are signs that will indicate that your DPF is regenerating itself actively. If your cooling fans begin running and you notice a smell coming from your exhaust system, the DPF is regenerating. During this process you may also notice a small increase in the fuel being used, as your engine will rev up and the idle speed will increase in an effort to raise the temperature within the exhaust system.

Driving Habits That Don't Allow Your DPF to Work Effectively

Even with the active system in place, you still need to be driving your car for the DPF regeneration process to work. If you take short trips all of the time, your engine won't be able to reach the temperatures it needs to for the filter to regenerate. If the fuel in your car is low, the active regeneration process won't kick in so that your fuel is saved. Even the wrong kind of motor oil can cause a problem with the regeneration process.

If you have warning lights go on because of your DPF, you need to get your system cleaned immediately to avoid expensive repairs in your near future. For assistance, talk to a professional like Regeneration Services LLC.