The diesel particulate filter is one of these parts of the exhaust system that may fail quickly in some cases. Manufacturers ensure that the device is designed to last several tens to 150 thousand kilometers, but the reality is sometimes different. What are the reasons for short life of the filter? How to extend its service life?
A Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF or FAP for short) removes soot and ash particles from the exhaust gases. It is installed in the vehicles equipped with diesel engines. Normally the filter may last from several tens to 150 thousand kilometers, assuming that you care for it.
The first thing affecting the diesel particulate filter life is a driving style. If a vehicle is mostly used for short journeys such as city driving, the DPF collects soot that cannot be totally burned off. This is why it is recommended to go regularly on a long motorway drive, where there are conditions to burn off soot in the filter and it is possible to maintain the suitable speed and indicated revolutions without changing the gears for more than ten minutes.
Pay also attention to stepping on the accelerator while the car is at a standstill, rapid acceleration from low revolutions and leaving the running car unnecessarily. The above actions affect soot emission and therefore the DPF.
Vehicle technical condition and DPF
The second thing is a vehicle technical condition. The DPF life depends on the amount of soot that enters the exhaust system. Consequently, the injection system and air intake should be regularly checked for efficiency and tightness. Possible engine tuning also matters because this is the diesel particulate filter that must cope with excess soot generated after power output increase.
Oil, fuel and fuel additives
The third thing that matters are liquids – oil adapted to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, good quality fuel should preferably be topped up, a suitable amount of fluid to lower the ignition temperature of the soot particles and avoiding fuel additives that may cause the DPF to wear out faster.
Clogged DPF filter
If a filter is clogged , it must be cleaned in accordance with the manual. If you do not create situations that allow soot to be burned, a level of engine oil mixed with diesel fuel will rise above the standard, which will result in illumination of the DPF warning light. A fast reaction is then required – the best thing to do is go on a long motorway drive to burn off soot in the filter. If you ignore the warning light, the filter may get totally clogged. In this way you will be forced to regenerate or replace it, which means high cost.
Note: The warning light sometimes illuminates when the burning process is started. How does it work in your vehicle? The best thing to do is read the user manual.