What Is a DPF and How Does It Work?

  • 2 min read

A DPF - Diesel particulate filter is a filter that works in the exhaust system of later model diesel vehicles by capturing and storing soot in order to reduce emissions. Every so often the DPF will need to be burned off as they get blocked up with soot. This is when your vehicle does a DPF regeneration.

You may have experienced the orange light come up on you dash board it looks like an exhaust with small circles inside it. When this comes on the vehicle is letting you know the filter is starting to get blocked and you must go on a long uninterrupted drive at a higher speed to allow for the exhaust to heat up and burn the soot through. Usually 45 minutes is sufficient if everything is working normally on your vehicle.

(Depending on what system your vehicle has) there is a fuel injector to add fuel into the DPF allowing it to reach a higher temperature. When this is happening you may notice a increase in engine idle speed  while stationary. You should not turn the car off while this is happening as if the procedure is interrupted the soot accumulation will become higher.

When the DPF becomes blocked to a point where it can no longer regenerate on its own it will usually go into limp mode and throw a check engine light. This can leave you stranded on the side of the road or highway with no other option but to call a tow truck and take the car to a workshop to have a forced regeneration carried out. Most of the time they can do the forced regen to burn the soot out of the DPF and you will be on your way.

This is where a Scan tool comes in handy saving you money and also time with having your vehicle off the road. Scan tools allow you to view the data on your DPF and also carry out a forced regeneration yourself.

To carry out a forced regeneration you will need a full systems scan tool. Please contact us to ensure you vehicle make model and year is covered. 

We highly recommend the thinkdiag mini as you can keep in plugged in to monitor the DPF soot level or keep in in the glove box and use as needed.