How TerraClean DPF Cleaning Works

TerraClean is well known for preventative fuel system cleaning services – find out how TerraClean works – but most TerraClean dealers can offer additional services, specifically for owners of diesel engine vehicles.

One of the most popular is our DPF clean. DPF cleaning can help to tackle a problem faced by increasing numbers of drivers of modern diesel vehicles, whereby the unit becomes clogged with soot or ash often as a result of another component not functioning as it should.

What is a DPF?

A diesel particulate filter (DPF) is a device which sits within a vehicle’s exhaust system and is designed to “capture” soot/diesel particles to reduce harmful emissions into our towns and cities.

It became legal for vehicle manufacturers to fit DPFs to all vehicles when “Euro 5” emissions standards came into force in 2009, although some VMs did fit them prior to 2009.

DPFs are intended to self-clean, through a process called “regeneration”. This happens under certain driving conditions and the particles are emitted, leaving only a small ash residue. Sensors in the DPF unit communicate with the vehicle’s central computer (ECU) to determine when to clean/regenerate the DPF.

So why do DPF problems occur?

For a wide variety of reasons, DPFs do not always regenerate when they should, usually due to driving style or conditions, or for technical reasons, such as a problem elsewhere in the engine.

As the DPF fills up and becomes more blocked, a warning light is shown on the dashboard.

If the problem is not addressed, the vehicle’s performance will deplete, the vehicle may go into “limp mode” and become unusable until the issue is resolved.

How can TerraClean help unblock a DPF?

A standard diesel TerraClean service will help to remove particles from your DPF as part of a preventative maintenance programme.

But when the device is too blocked to allow air to flow through, a different approach is required.

There is a specific tool for DPF cleaning within the TerraClean range to remove the accumulated particles, and this service is available from almost all of our TerraClean service centres and mobile engineers.

TerraClean engineers who carry our DPF cleans have our full technical support and there is regular training specifically related to DPF technology available, to ensure they are highly competent in diagnosing problems and identifying the correct resolutions.

Should I remove my DPF?

No. There are companies who will offer to remove the DPF, but it is illegal to remove it and use the vehicle on a public highway: the fines are high and subsequent replacement is expensive. New MOT rules have aimed to tackle DPF removal.

Fitting a new DPF is expensive, while cheaper aftermarket units are sub-standard and will develop blockages earlier than the vehicle manufacturer’s specification, so keeping the one you have healthy and clean is important.

What else can go wrong with a DPF?

DPFs can also become blocked with ash and oil, which a standard TerraClean service will not remove.

There are “off-vehicle” solutions which will remove oil and ash from otherwise heathy DPFs, and the whole TerraClean service centre network has access to this facility.

This service involves removal of the DPF device from your vehicle for a few days whilst the unit is cleaned via a national service facility.

With replacement DPFs costing up to £1,000 for standard family vehicles and even more for higher specification vehicles (over £3,000 in some cases), it is worthwhile investigating DPF cleaning options.

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