Can you clean a DPF?

DPF cleaning is now one of our most requested services. Find out why it is so important here.
TerraClean social (30)

Can you clean a DPF?

Can you clean a Diesel Particulate Filter? Yes, you can. DPF cleaning is one of the most commonly-requested services now amongst our 500+ TerraClean dealers. Many of our dealers actually provide this service to neighbouring garages who need to have their customers’ vehicles’ DPFs cleaned.

If you’re unsure what a DPF is, head here first for more information.

Why should I clean my DPF?

Under certain conditions, a DPF can become blocked, causing an engine fault code to display. In extreme cases – especially if the fault is ignored – the blocked DPF will cause the car to go into ‘limp’ mode. This will restrict the car to being driven slowly, the intention being it will be taken either home or to a garage where the fault needs to be addressed urgently.

Ignoring a DPF warning light can result in loss of power, reduced fuel economy, poor throttle response and difficulty starting & from 25th May 2018 is an MOT failure.

Cleaning a DPF is a cost-effective alternative to buying a replacement. A new DPF from the manufacturer is expensive – costs circa £1,000 for a family car and much more for premium models.

What causes a blocked DPF?

Typical causes of a blocked DPF can include too many short journeys where the regeneration processes have not initiated. In most cases the blockage is a symptom of another problem such as faulty DPF sensor, incorrect engine oil or a failing turbo.

It is important to note that a blocked DPF is usually a symptom, not the fault. It is the result of a problem elsewhere with the engine. Cleaning a DPF should not be done in isolation: whatever is causing the blockage should always be addressed at the same time, or it will become blocked again very quickly. This is not because the DPF cleaning process has failed, but because the cause has not been addressed. A diagnostic check, by a competent, trained professional such as a TerraClean service technician, should be carried out and acted upon to ensure the fault is rectified.

Don’t DPFs clean themselves?

In theory, yes. “Passive Regeneration” or if appropriate Active DPF regeneration will take place as part of a healthy diesel engine running cycle, but active regeneration can fail once a blockage reaches a certain level. Sometimes a “forced” regeneration may be carried out by a mechanic.

Is it easier just to remove my DPF?

It’s not easier to remove a DPF, it’s not cheaper than having it cleaned, and it’s not legal. If you’re caught driving a car that’s had its DPF removed, you could face a significant fine. Read our blog on why you should never remove your DPF here. If a DPF was fitted to your vehicle when new it must continue to have a correctly functioning unit in place. If removed and remapped out of the vehicle’s system, the car is rendered “not road legal” and is not suitable to pass the annual DVSA MOT which commences once a vehicle is three years old.

How can I clean my DPF?

You can speak to one of the 500-plus approved TerraClean dealers, most of whom are able to offer DPF cleaning services. There are two kinds of TerraClean service that can help a DPF: the standard clean, and the specialised DPF clean.

A standard TerraClean will help to keep a functioning DPF clean. If a DPF is already blocked, then a specific DPF clean, which uses a special TerraClean tool, will be required.

How can I contact TerraClean?

If you’re interested in a TerraClean but want to find out more, you can speak to your nearest TerraClean dealer today by putting your postcode into our dealer finder at the top of this page.