What diesel drivers need to know about their DPF

Here's what the DPF looks like (Picture © Vauxhall)

Here’s what the DPF looks like (Picture © Vauxhall)

Not many drivers know what a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) is – until it costs them serious money. And replacing one can cost £1000 or more. Green Flag attends a lot of cars that have broken down with DPF problems and they are caused by one primary factor: the DPF is clogged with soot because the driver has ignored the warning lamp. Here’s everything you need to know about the DPF dilemma. 

What is a DPF?

The Diesel Particulate Filter is in the exhaust system of all diesel-powered cars sold new since 2009. It is a vital component that is designed to enable cars to pass increasingly tough emissions legislation. The DPF’s job is to trap the particles that are caused by the compression-ignition combustion process and thereby prevent harmful smoke from being pumped into the atmosphere.

How does it work?

Like any filter, the DPF will gradually get clogged with the soot that it traps. However, the car is designed to clean it by heating this residue up, turning it to ash and expelling it. This happens about every 300 miles, either when you travel at motorway speed, or because the Engine Control Unit initiates what’s known as regeneration by raising exhaust temperatures artificially.

Why it goes wrong

diesel-particulate-filter-lightIn stop/start traffic, or on short journeys, a regeneration may not get time to complete. This will cause the DPF to block partially and an orange light (left) will come on in the instrument cluster. Ignore the light and continue driving slowly or in traffic and eventually the engine will lose power and stop. This will prompt a trip to the garage and things will get expensive. And I mean really expensive: if the car needs a new DPF, we’re talking more than £1000.

 

What to do if you see the warning light

When the DPF warning lamp comes on (check your handbook to see exactly what the one on your diesel looks like) it’s time to take the vehicle on a longer run, preferably on a faster road such as a dual carriageway or motorway. Driving at 40mph or more for 10 minutes should prompt the DPF to go into ‘regeneration’ mode and burn off soot which will clear any blockage.

How to prevent problems in the first place

Before you buy a car, consider the kind of mileage you do. If most of your miles involve short journeys or sitting in stop-start traffic where the car never really gets going, plump for petrol rather than diesel. There’s another good reason for this. Diesel cars are generally more expensive than petrol and because diesel is pricier at the pumps too, you don’t see any payback from a diesel car’s improved economy unless you do a healthy annual mileage.

Why not get rid of the DPF?

One answer to problems with the DPF might be to remove it altogether. But DPFs are installed for a very good reason – they cut pollution – so it’s not a very responsible solution. Also, from February 2014, any car that’s had its DPF removed is an MOT failure. Despite this, there are still companies advertising on the internet to remove DPFs and do the associated re-programming of engine software. Don’t be tempted: it may well invalidate your warranty as well as making your car dirtier and potentially unroadworthy.

Green_Flag_Nick_Reid Nick Reid is a fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry and head of transformation at Green Flag

 

 

 

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90 comments on “What diesel drivers need to know about their DPF

  1. Peter Atkinson January 19, 2016 5:30 pm

    Good info…I wanted an idea of how many or the ratio of a ‘hot’ 15 min at 50 + mph to counter the chance of clogging the DPF warning ..for example a week of urban start stopping cycles followed by at least a 20 mile round trip at 50+ mph to regenerate the DPF…would seem adequate .

    • Ricardo Candeias July 25, 2016 10:03 am

      Is not just running at higher speed for say 20 minutes … Is the revs that is important too as is this that heat the car parts….a lot of people that use the motorways all the time still have dpf problems as they change gears and car doesn’t really make much effort with revs constant at 20…so the idea is keep it at one gear lower than required for the speed you going like instead of fifth use fourth….or instead of fourth third keeping rev at 30 or 25…this way it will heat up to the required 600c tu burn sutt … It may also be beneficial to use a diesel dpf additive to help burn happen at a lower temp… This has worked for me.. Engine light gone so has limp drive mode and car now smoother.
      Alternatively (but I am having this done too) halfords will deep clean dpf I think for £98 and will reset faults log.

      • Keith October 24, 2016 11:36 am

        Halfords will do it cheaply – but the DPF clogging can be caused by other issues that cause the EMS to prevent the car from revving high enough to effect a DPF clean. Turner Diagnostics at Hemel Hempstead will diagnose and sort any underlying issues before cleaning the DPF – if this isn’t done a clean will become ineffective quite shortly, with soot/ash again building up.

      • Jon Austin. February 26, 2017 7:33 pm

        Don’t have that problem with some cars, like the Range Rover Sport, at 76mph in 8th gear, I’m doing 1850rpm, and the DPF has never required any high reving of engine to empty (burn off to ash) the contents, in the three years from new I have had the car. This is quite normal for this make and other high performance cars running on Diesel. When I asked on purchasing was told that if the light ever came on due to very short runs, just take it for a 15-20 mile run at speed above 50mph, being a Automatic it will quickly change up gears, but foes have paddle controls to manually change gears or when using Sports box option.

      • Robbie March 13, 2017 3:10 pm

        my car was emitting just a little smoke, first thing morning. Informed mechanic in my next service and he quoted me 700 quid. Took to another garage, and the old geezer told me that young mechanics nowadays are just plai lazy, dont want to find out whats wrong with cars. They are more fitters that mechanics. He took car for 30 minute run on manual and did revs of between 3.5 & 4.5, brought it back and the machine accepted to reset. Told me to use manual for two days and all will be well. Now its fab and no smoke, drips clean clear water.

  2. alan morris March 9, 2016 5:40 am

    Thank you really good information from start to finish just bought such a car sales man did explain it and what to do thankfully 10 out of ten though people will find your information priceless thank you again .astra Alan

  3. Sam March 21, 2016 11:20 am

    Sam
    40mph for 10 mins LOL really and that will clean and Regen.
    Have a look at what your saying.

    • Alex October 5, 2016 6:20 am

      Providing the engine is running at over 2000rpm throughout the duration, 40 for 10 minutes (I think Vauxhall advise 12-15 minutes) would suffice. But the idea is to find a road where you can remain in the same gear without having to stop.

  4. Rachael March 25, 2016 3:39 pm

    Thank you – concise, straight forward and very helpful!

  5. Rod Pilbeam April 7, 2016 9:47 pm

    The associated problems with having a diesel car with a DPF is making me think seriously of considering returning to a petrol model. My 52 plate Astra 1.7 CDTI eco4 without a DPFgave me mpg in excess of 60 running around and over 70 longer distance. I switched to a newer model with a DPF and the economy slumped, even after altering my driving style from easy to absolute caution to the degree I wasn’t enjoying my driving anymore. Whilst the DPF was regenerating the economy fell even further to the degree I was wondering if I was being short changed by fuel stations!. Now it seems there are further considerations to be made with the DPF probably needing to be replaced somewhere around the 70,000-80,000 mile mark at some expense; thereby further negating the reason for switching to diesel in the first place with my annual mileage being around 14,000. Buying a 2nd hand higher mileage diesel now seems to be a no goer. If I do buy another diesel, it will either be an old model pre DPF, or as new as I can and not hold it for too long; which probably doesn’t make sense. Very disappointing.

  6. Tom April 11, 2016 6:10 am

    Did 160 miles on the motorway doing 50+mph and still have the warning light on. Think the dpf is a waste of time and more trouble than anything.

    • Sam April 18, 2016 5:51 pm

      Hi time if you have a problem car will not Regen if you have a faulty glow plug or a sensor problem.

  7. Iyad April 21, 2016 8:08 pm

    Great nice and neat! So… here i go… i bought a bmw x5 for a whole big bag of money and because of a damn dpf, my x5 five is Barely moving and almost going into accidents because of this dpf thing. I already paid over a 1000 usd to clean it and replace a bunch of useless things. well…. tell you what… i am going to remove this dpf rip-off thing and wont care about anything….!

  8. Sam April 21, 2016 8:38 pm

    Hi mate I am a tech at BMW I can understand your pain don’t remove the Dpf you need to force Regen the car and make sure the car has not been mapped as that makes them block the Dpf quicker.

  9. Anthony April 24, 2016 6:12 am

    Brilliant advice thanks both my cars are petrol never had any problems besides I don’t do high milage

    • Chris P December 9, 2016 5:28 pm

      No DPF’s on a petrol engine, at least not yet although they are talking of introducing a petrol version next year (2017). After 23 years of owning diesel cars, I fear that my current DPF-less diesel will be my last as there are just too many problems with the emissions controls on modern diesel cars, and not just particulate filters but also swirl flaps and EGR Valves which are all related to emissions and cost a fortune. Most 1.4 turbo petrol cars will return 40mpg – 50mpg these days, and the £2000 you will save on replacing the DPF buys a lot of petrol!. So unless you do 10,000’s of miles every year, petrol seems the way forward now.

  10. Anthony April 24, 2016 6:13 am

    Thanks Green Flag

  11. GZ (@GZelei) May 2, 2016 8:43 am

    so anyone know how many mileage you can drive with blocked dpf?what is the worst thing what can be happend?(ford galaxy 2012)thanks

    • GZ (@GZelei) May 3, 2016 10:33 am

      becouse i done about 20 000…my egr clean,turbo ok clean…car on limp mode(max 60 mp h)but for me no problem i only use on city(max 2000 rpm)…possible to use another 50 000mileage?

  12. Billy May 2, 2016 1:45 pm

    I’ve done @ 300 miles, mostly on the motorway, since the DPF warning light began flashing on my Mazda 6 2.2D, and I’ve seen and been given some conflicting advice on getting it resolved.
    The manual says to drive at >2200 rpm, a mechanic says 3000-4000 rpm and the Wynns cleaner says drive normally.
    I also noticed in the manual that it can be caused by the engine oil being passed its sell-by date, and this has made me wonder. The oil is fine, checked by the mechanic, and only 4000 miles since it was replaced, but I noticed the warning started at 40,010 miles. Could it be the case that the oil change wasn’t recorded on the computer when the 36,000 mile service was done, and it thinks it needs changed and I don’t have a problem with the DPF at all? Any help would be appreciated as I have a 300 mile round trip to the airport this Friday and my dealer can’t look at it before then.
    P.s. I’m on my second bottle of DPF cleaner.

    • Alan Picken December 12, 2016 5:50 pm

      Billy, I have a Mazda 6 2.2D. Mazda also use the DPF warning light as a ‘service indicator’ and it will come on exactly 13,000 miles after the last time it was reset – whether there’s anything wrong with it or not! All a ploy to get you to always get it serviced at Mazda. Make a note of the mileage last time the DPF light was reset or last time it was serviced at Mazda and if the light comes on check it’s 13000 miles after that. If it is you can either take it to Mazda and give them £100 to reset it or search YouTube for ‘Mazda 6 DPF reset’ and there are a few videos that show you how to do it yourself – all you need is a bit of wire and 5 minutes spare time!

    • lee December 16, 2016 1:22 pm

      a oil change must be entered into the ecu diagnosticly, if the ecu thinks the oil is past its saturation level it will not regen, i got a mazda 6 recently with knackered dpf, added treatment sat on motorway 2500 rmp for 25 miles, came home told ecu oil changed done cleared codes good as new, but dealerships wrote the car off with a £1000 estimated bill!

  13. Gerald May 3, 2016 1:32 pm

    Absolute scam again by big corporations that that sell these so called environment aids to extract money from the public when will we waken up.

  14. Sam May 5, 2016 10:28 pm

    A blocked Dpf can damage egr and turbo that’s the worst thing a damaged turbo can damage the engine.

    • Barry August 4, 2016 10:38 pm

      On tuesday my Chevrolet Cruze blue out smoke from the exhaust covering 2 lanes of the motorway and revved to a ridiculous level with no feet on the pedal. Managed to pull over onto lay-by and get towed to local garage. Result was a 6 year old car getting oil mixed with diesel and blowing the turbo and possibly damaging the engine. Terminal end to a car with a previous history of DPF forced regens and a blocked DPF with no previous warning.

      • Jon Austin. February 26, 2017 7:48 pm

        All those symptoms match those of a blown turbo, rather than a blocked DPF, which should normally shut the car down, or slow to a stop, if not cleared after warning. Beware some cheaper cars use the light for service intervals as well, so do check, and ensure reset the computer or service light.
        A turbo going nearly always blows engine, mixing oil as there is no way to turn it off to stop the turbo once gone, it continues till engine etc wrecked unfortunately. Very common on BMWs.

  15. Gerald May 8, 2016 6:46 pm

    What happens after successful regens and soot turns to ash how long have you got before dpf fills up , also does regen happen automatically every time on long motorway runs and does this save the liquid coming into play with urban driving saving you money on a refill.

  16. MAx 1234 June 14, 2016 10:52 am

    I haver read this thread, interesting but I still have a doubt.
    I read everywhere of long journeys, short trips etc, but no one defines things more exactly (or, at least, less generically).

    My question is: How long is considered to be a “short journey”, in miles? I drive almost every day for 15-20 miles, twice a day, most of the time over 60-70 Km/h (35-45 mph), with occasional long journeys (>60 miles). Would this be enough to keep my DPF healthy?

    Thanks in advance,
    Max

    • San June 16, 2016 10:56 am

      All depends on how your jurney is how hot the exhaust gets how car is build sometimes even. The abs needs to read the speed off the road so it can Regen on motoer way also needs to get hot eg 15 miles doing 30 50 mph it won’t work

  17. Janet June 24, 2016 9:21 am

    Got a Vauxhall Antara 2012 plate got stuck in a taffic jam thought it was over heating as it looked like smoke appearing from under the bonnet, got home checked the coolant that was fine took it to the garage and they found soot around the turbo and the omissions lead was off. The DFP warning light has not come on at all. I do tow a horse trailer

  18. Rob July 5, 2016 10:03 pm

    Looking at buying a 1.7 cdti meriva does this car have a dpf and a dmf plz

  19. Michael July 13, 2016 8:39 pm

    Very good article , this resolve my problem without taking the car to a garage

    Thank You

  20. Howard July 24, 2016 11:02 am

    hi all i was wondering if i can use a dpf cleaner additive as a preventer rather than wait for the light to come on
    thank youin advance

  21. Rytis July 30, 2016 10:14 pm

    Hi have 09 insignia 2l diesel.Driving this car for more then 2 years and already changed 4 dpf pressure sensors last one last me for 1 month and it’s a dealer sensor.Maybe anyone had similar problems and knows what may cause this sensor fault.Because I was ar 3 mechanics non of them have a clue what’s wrong with the car

  22. Leroy August 3, 2016 5:52 am

    Complete rubbish. I do a 40 mile plus round trip to work and back 6 times a week. Audi A6 avant sline ,80 mph in cruise control. Dpf had blocked 3 times. These companies know their parts which fail, they know which parts cost money and unless forced to (VW emissions scandal) will never recall a car. No car can ever be bought with 100% reliability, and used add on warranties are a joke. BUY NEW. USE THE CONSUMER RIGHTS ACT TO FORCE THEM TO FIX THEIR CARS.

    • Bartosz October 7, 2016 7:40 pm

      You are 100 % right I have problems with WV Jetta 1.6 TDI bought it 5 months ago APROVED CAR and since I’ve been in garage 5 times to do force regeneration and doesn’t matter if you do 20 miles or 100 miles a day (which I did to prove point) still got clogged up every 3 weeks!!! Don’t buy diesels!

    • Tony October 27, 2016 8:03 pm

      1. Lmao @ moaning about fuel economy. When ur driving at twice the usual rpm, the engine is turning at twice the speed. That means it goes through twice as many cycles of suck, squeeze, bang, blow. So how much more fuel do u think it should use….? (For the not so sharp, it’s twice as much).
      2. It’s not just the speed (mph) that matters, it’s the engine speed (rpm) as well. 80 mph in 6th on the motorway, your probably only @ 2k rpm, that’s not high enough.

  23. MR K August 6, 2016 8:56 pm

    Honda Accord 2.2 diesel driven for 18months mainly long journeys 110miles per day never had an issue.5wks ago dpf light came on Honda cleared it 14days later came on again, back to honda another regen, 7days later on again, back to Honda another regen, 6days later on again, 3regens in 5wks now in for the 4th time with Honda who have been told to diagnose deeper…Any advice anyone?

    • Ma 1234 August 10, 2016 7:13 am

      Do you do motorways or does your engine run always on low regimes? If so (no motorways, low regimes), try to make it run faster for some time (i.e.40 mph with 4th gear for 5 minutes after you have traveed th first 10-15 miles, this should bring th DPF to higher temperaure and favour automatic regen.

      But the lower and lower time intervals between forced regens, make me think to an electronic proble. The sensor, maybe, or the ECU is faulty….

      Max

    • Mark Brown September 12, 2016 11:11 am

      Please buy a new car, stop wasting your money. Your throwing good money after BAD.

      • Matthew December 9, 2016 5:32 pm

        If you run your diesel on Shell V-Power you are unlikely to have a problem with the DPF throughout it’s life.

    • Nigel corry September 26, 2016 9:54 pm

      There are 3xsoftware ungrades on these cars get Honda dealer to check your car has had them otherwise light will keep coming on!

    • Jason December 4, 2016 9:36 am

      I own a 10 plate Accord Type S. The DPF warning light has just come on for a 3rd time. It’s been to the dealers and had two forced regenerations…at £120 each time. They’ve had their diagnostics kit out but on both occasions there was no fault code showing. They think it may be a faullty sensor. The problem needs sorting as it’s costing me money now. This is my first diesel car…and i think it will be my last!!

  24. Dave Munden August 17, 2016 6:10 pm

    I found out this problem today. Luckily I can still initiate the regen myself to clear the build up.

    In the manual it says that it will automatically regen with no warning but the dealership say a warning light comes on for two seconds only, not really a long enough warning in my opinion. What i want to know is how do i know it has completed its regen?

    • MAx1234 Ita September 1, 2016 4:31 pm

      You can’t ,of course. :-/
      “Due to some reason”, it seems that vendors tend not to make their customers aware of what is happening under the hood.

      If you are lucky enough, you’ve got a partial regen, which should grant you some extra distance, while -hopefully- you’ll drive a little longer and faster (i.e. on a motorway) so that passive regen will silently take place by itself or another auto-regen procedure will be initiated: this seems the only phenomenon the driver is allowed to notice, due to the warning light.

      The persistence of that light, I think, depends on the builder: in my VW Touran (2.0 TDI BlueMotion) the lamp stays lit during the whole procedure… at least this is what the user manual says, since I never saw it to come up.

      The car has now 4500 Km, most of them in daily 25-30 Km trips (twice a day) on mixed/hills and several sporadic journeys (>100 Km) on motorways; I know that auto clean-up should take place every 6-700 Km, so it must have happened several times until now.

      The only symptom of that (according to the Manual, again), is a little higher fuel consumption during the procedure, a little smell from the exhaust and the engine fan running longer than usual (due to overheating, I think) after you stop and turn the engine off (this only, I noticed a couple times).
      Maybe I’ve been lucky and this has been enough, until, now…

      Best things,
      Max – Italy

    • Chris P December 9, 2016 4:47 pm

      You don’t unfortunately, simply because manufacturers don’t / won’t fit simple dash board lights to say when a DPF is in its regeneration process, which if they did you would know to continue to drive until the process has finished, thus reducing failed or incomplete DPF regenerations. I’ve yet to see any car manufacturer fit a simple warning light to show this, I wonder why they don’t.

  25. DIANA September 11, 2016 6:06 pm

    I drive a Citroen c4 grand Picasso and am havn this prob plus loss of powers habe used 2 jugs of the stuff u pour down into the diesel… am ready to scream!

  26. Roland Hickmott September 21, 2016 7:09 am

    My 10 plate Vauxhall zafira did a regen last week and promptly blew the engine. I’ve had the car from almost new, it’s been serviced on time by Vauxhall, probably done regens previously with no problem. As previously described loads of smoke, VERY high revs managed to pull over on busy dual carriageway . Bottom line, almost caused a pile up, and now have a pile of useless junk with a Vauxhall badge on it ! Nobody ever mentioned this potential problem to me, so what do I do now? I cover about 20k a year and always thought diesels were supposed to be reliable work horses. Not happy!

    • Dave September 25, 2016 3:03 pm

      I’ve set up a petition today to get some legal redress against car manufacturers – will you sign it? I could not cover everything I wanted to put in but one is limited to the number of characters you can use. Feel free to forward it on to anyone else you know

      Post this link in your browser to sign the petition:
      https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167609/sponsors/ae5RBUT5wWgC7BrDzmb

      My petition:

      Protect consumers who experience emission problems with their diesel vehicles

      Since 2009 diesel vehicles have been fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPFs) to remove particles of soot etc from the exhaust to protect the environment and the air we breathe. These filters are failing or becoming clogged up and consumers are being presented with costly repair bills.

      I personally was advised that to repair my Honda Civic which was under 4 years old and had covered 33000 miles the cost would be over £3600. Almost 20% of its cost new. Correspondence with Honda UK proved unsuccessful. Some manufacturers do not include DPF’s in their warranties. I would like to see Manufacturers being forced to give 1) A retrospective guarantee on DPF’s for a period of 10 years or 150,000 miles 2) To recall all vehicles sold since 2009 and test the DPFs, compensating owners

      Post this link in your browser to sign the petition:
      https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167609/sponsors/ae5RBUT5wWgC7BrDzmb

      • Chris P December 9, 2016 4:52 pm

        In the U.S they have had laws since 1996, which makes the manufacturers liable for all major emissions components fitted to vehicles for a period of 8 years / 80,000 miles, its called the Federal Emissions Warranty. Perhaps UK consumers need to grow a backbone and demand the same, or would that take effort and hence take them away from watching Coronation Street and Facebook?.

  27. Dave September 23, 2016 6:26 pm

    Honda want to charge me almost £3700 to replace dpf on my Civic. I am writing an e-petition on the governments website requesting that manufacturers be made to give a no quibble 150,000 mile/10 year guarantee. Only by legislation will manufacturers be forced to give consumers a vehicle which is fit for purpose instead of excuses like you havn’t driven it correctly.

    Hopefully it will be published by the end of next week and you can add your signatures

    • Kaz November 19, 2016 4:19 pm

      Hi.I have a Honda CRV 2011..bought 2 yrs ago and had nothing but trouble with dpf..2 regens and I’ve just been told it needs replacing.. over £4000 which I really can’t afford..just signed yr petition.

      • Sam November 21, 2016 8:58 pm

        Hi kaz who has told you that you need a new dpf the dealer or a independent garage what is the miles on your car.

    • Chris P December 9, 2016 4:55 pm

      You can get OE Quality aftermarket replacement DPF’s for most cars on a certain well known Auction site and they have one for a Civic listed for £400. Reward the dealers for their R&D failures by taking your servicing and repair business elsewhere.

  28. Sam g September 23, 2016 8:09 pm

    Hi Roland.
    It was not the Regen that blow up the engine it was your turbo that failed and sucked oil into the engine and locked up.
    If you have full service history with Vauxhall and all is Upto date fight with Vauxhall head office they should pay for this as a goodwill.
    Don’t let them get away with it. You have a good case.

    • Chris P December 9, 2016 4:58 pm

      Sadly sometimes diesel from the DPF regeneration process can leak into the sump oil (google it) diluting and degrading the oil and hence causing problems with the lubrication of the turbo bearings. Sometimes the oil level can rise to a point where the engine ‘runs away’. It can happen on any car which uses this type of DPF regeneration process.

  29. shanew September 24, 2016 7:02 am

    Get an electric car second hand if you do under 5000 miles a year. Cheaper and hardly anything goes wrong. Charge at home and you are laughing. Second hand electric card are getting cheaper…

    • Chris P December 9, 2016 5:02 pm

      And the reason why Electric Cars are getting cheaper on the second hand market is because wear and aging of the batteries have seriously reduced their charge range and the batteries are getting close to needing replacement. Since a new battery pack can cost between £5000 – £10000, who wants to buy a second hand car with the knowledge that very soon you will have to spend £5k+ on a brand new battery pack. I bet you didn’t read that little gem in the glossy brochures did you?.

      • Matthew December 13, 2016 11:18 am

        That’s not entirely true. Most manufacturers guarantee their power packs for 8-12 years. Tesla cars are reaching 100k miles and beyond and still have 85% capacity. A new battery pack for a the leaf appears to be £4600 fitted. If you factor in the cost of ownership during the 8-12 years I’m pretty sure you’ll be quids in at £46.00 per 1000miles plus electricity cost; even against fuel cost per mile of a average diesel car consuming roughly 50mpg totaling £107(£5.36 per gallon) to cover the same distance. In addition this is not taking into account the ever rising cost of petrol/diesel, which is likely to be double the price it is now by 10years from now. Battery pack costs will be dramatically reduced in the same period, although it’s accepted that there will be an increase in electricity costs in that period as well, they will undoubtedly be relatively small.

  30. Anila September 26, 2016 4:52 pm

    I have a 2011 X5 diesel same problem BMW has refused to help . I have filed complaint with national highway safety , Federal Trade Commision , and Attorney General .
    I am stuck with a car that can’t be traded in , driven or sold . I am left with no choice but to drop it at the junk yard .

  31. Carla October 20, 2016 6:02 pm

    I just bought a 3 year old Jaguar XF S. The day I drove it out of the garage the amber DPF warning light came on! I drove straight back to garage who told me to blast it on the motorway!! I did this which did the trick only to have the light come back on 10 days later after doing 4 big motorway journeys. Two days after, the warning light turned red and the engine light also came on.. power of car affected. Garage picked up from me following day. They said they did a diagnostic and did a regen! I got car back today…lot less diesel and 110 more miles on clock! Looks to me like they’ve just blasted on motorway too. If that’s all they’ve done there will be trouble, with a red warning light it needs a proper clean!! Too late to ring them now! Any advice?

    • Mike ( Dpf cleaning ltd) December 4, 2016 1:45 pm

      I run Dpf cleaning ltd. You need to find out why the car is not being able to do a passive regeneration along the motorway sounds like it’s not doing a full burn . Could be Ash soot or a faulty sensor get the dpf cleaned and get a full diagnostic to why this is happening from a company who know what they are doing .

      • Carla December 5, 2016 7:50 pm

        Hi Mike, Jaguar put some DPF fluid in and carried out a full diagnostic only to find I have got 2 heavy oil leaks also! I am in dispute with the garage I bought the car from at the minute. Thanks

        • Chris P December 9, 2016 5:10 pm

          If you have just bought the car, then surely you should have some Warranty from the dealer?. Take it back, stating that you believe it was sold to you with the fault and therefore is not fit for purpose, and unless its fixed you will take further action under The Consumer Rights Act (previously Sale of Goods Act). Do you have any finance on the car? (Even a credit card used for purchasing it), if so the Finance / Credit card company are jointly liable with the dealer for resolving this for you. My final piece of advice, once it fixed, sell the car, because in the coming years you’ll have nothing but problems, and once out of warranty you are setting yourself up for paying out for regular £300 – £400 professional cleanings and eventually a four figure bill when the DPF reaches the end of its service life and needs replacing.

      • Abdul khaled January 22, 2017 2:13 am

        Hi, i have a bmw 120d..the dpf light has been coming on for a week now…
        I took my car for a run a couple of times on the motorway, last one being about 30 mins on low gear high rev. When i i started the car later on, 10 mins into driving it flashed again. Please advise
        Thank you

  32. JOHN HAMER November 24, 2016 11:15 am

    just signed the petition, no problems yet! but keeping everything crossed

  33. Ian Godfrey December 4, 2016 10:51 pm

    I was advised to drive ten miles at above 2000rvs at about 50mph. Did it today, and lights gone off

  34. Matthew December 7, 2016 11:01 am

    Driven 100k’s miles with DPF cars, one of which is a pure commuter car, all are VW’s, never a problem. I think the secret is Shell V-Power, a nice clean fuel with a much lower carbon and fuller burn. It may cost a little more at the pump, but with Shell points and extra MPG in real world driving it’s amounts to a couple of pence per litre, well worth it and solves all sorts of emission problems.

  35. Chris P December 9, 2016 5:21 pm

    I am always shocked by how much replacement DPF’s cost from the dealer, anything from £800 to £2000, some comments here reporting that they have been quoted into the £2000 – £3500 region. How can a component that is mass produced for large scale car manufacturing all over the world and has been fitted to most cars for nearly a decade still cost so much to replace?. Simple – the dealer can charge what they like, as the DPF is a legal requirement, and will eventually fail, so because its something that your car has to have, and it is a consumable then for them its guaranteed service revenue. You can find after market DPF systems for most cars for between £250 and £600, and fitting should cost no more than an hour or two in labour at most High Street Garages, so reward the dealers for their greed by cutting them out of the equation, and save a lot of money at the same time too.

  36. Phill December 17, 2016 9:43 am

    Hi, I have a 2011 Fiat Bravo and I am told that the DPF is the reason that white smoke keeps coming out then exhaust intermittently because I am not taking it on long enough runs so the soot isn’t being burned. Is this anything to worry about? the warning light has never appeared.

  37. Denis December 18, 2016 2:27 pm

    Interesting comments. Does anyone know if Jaguar s type d 2006 has a dpf fitted

  38. Ydo February 7, 2017 12:53 am

    Let me tell you about the worst case scenario when one of these goes wrong.

    Our car: BMW X3 20d 2010 with 100,000K on the clock. No DPF dash lights or anything like that.

    Turbo started to make a bit of a whining sound, not too bad but we could hear it, then it seemed to go away. Car seemed to be running fine though. The next day my wife called to say the noise had become more noticeable. I told her to call for roadside service. At that point it was all over.

    Bottom line, according to the BMW specialist (not dealer) due to the high number of short trips my wife’s car does, the DPF was fairly blocked which forced gases past the turbo bearings, eventually destroying the oil and turbo. After fitting a new replacement genuine turbo they discovered that the gases had also somehow forced their way into the cooling system – and anywhere else they could escape. There was a lot of black soot under the hood which is a tell-tale sign. Icing on the cake was the torx bolts shearing off when they tried to remove the head. In the end we decided to go with a second-hand replacement engine. That’s what’s happening at the moment.

    Lessons learned, for me anyway:

    1. The car needs regular long drives. Don’t use a turbo diesel as your town and occasional trip car.

    2. A blocked DPF exacerbates oil degradation. According to the BMW specialist (not dealer), you must change the oil more often than the recommended service interval on the dash recommends. The 25000 KM’s the computer tells you is just BMW marketing, or maybe some idealistic autobahn driving scenario.

    3. Don’t buy a diesel car. They’re just time bombs. Funny how you only find out about these things once you have the problem. Google or Youtube DPF e.g.

    • Mat February 7, 2017 10:40 am

      The whining sound on your X3 was almost due to worn turbo bearings, which once starting the typical ‘whine’ will give out shortly afterwards. The only reasons for worn turbo bearings is oil starvation, due to either a blocked oil feed pipe, not allowing the engine to idle for 20seconds after a hard run, not having the correct grade oil or simply not changing the oil often enough (every 16000KM). There is no water cooling involved in a turbo, the oil does all the cooling required, so I don’t understand what your garage is telling you. Very often when a turbo ‘goes’ it will force oil and bits of shredded metal through the intercooler, which would also need replacing, all interconnecting pipework would have to be flushed through to ensure the they are perfectly clean. Lots of short low speed trips will often block a DPF, it will also carbonise the cylinder head. Using good quality fuel can help immeasurably with the soot issue, as can a nice long high rev blast down the motorway.
      I think manufacturers have been extending the service intervals to please the fleet providers, where service costs matter, but usually dispose of cars after 60,000miles (just under 100,000km). So, they only need a product to last that length of time without problem to satisfy their needs. It’s quite common for turbos (commuter petrol/diesel combustion engine) to only last 70-80,000miles; considering how fast the blades turn in such a hot hostile environment and maintaining exceptionally close rotational and end tolerance, this is not surprising.
      To summerise, oil is the key to a long lasting turbo. Regular changes of the correct grade will keep it singing along nicely for many, many miles without problem.

      • Sam February 7, 2017 11:32 am

        Very well explained mate.
        But if the dpf was blocked it will strain the turbo from bost and damage the turbo bearing making it fail

        • Mat February 7, 2017 12:23 pm

          If the dpf was partially blocked there would be less gas flowing through, which in turn would mean the turbo wouldn’t spool, giving poor performance. Sam, I fail to see how this would ‘strain’ the turbo since spin speed is directly proportional to flow of exhaust gas. A supercharger on the other hand would result in something totally different and more akin to what you suggest. I feel happy to be educated tho if you can so kind to explain 😀

          • Sam February 7, 2017 12:31 pm

            back pressure build up
            As I work for main dealer and seen this on quite few cars where the dpf completely blocked and damaged the turbo also seen where dpf has block and thrown back the carbon and damaged the turbo.

  39. Mat February 7, 2017 2:48 pm

    Ah, what you are trying to say is, back pressure builds, the ECU detects this and goes into a forced regeneration, throwing more fuel into the system, causing more heat in an attempt to burn the carbon out of the DPF, unfortunately it’s so blocked that the heat doesn’t flow out of the exhaust but travels backwards, cooking oil seals and turns bearing oil to ash creating a non floating bearing, instant metal to metal, turbo innards shatter……. Basically, it’s rubbish ECU software TBH, it should never allow the car to get to that stage. The fore pressure sensor should signal that the issue is not sorted and has gone too far out of parameter and go into limp (non turbo) mode to prevent any damage. Guess BMW still have more R&D to do!

  40. Sam G February 7, 2017 4:09 pm

    Not just BMW mate fords merc even Audi I seen it on if it’s in limp mode it don’t mean the turbo don’t spin it just cuts out the actuator but when u crank the engine regardless turbo still spins mate

  41. andy macadandy February 17, 2017 5:59 pm

    My last Passat was a 1999 model which had 250,000 on the same turbo. As others have pointed out, all the latest technology added to diesels to try and make them less polluting has really clobbered their efficiency, my 99 Passat would easily get 65 MPG on my 20 mile commute home, the 2005 Passat I replaced it with struggles to do 50 MPG over the same journey. The day of the diesel is over, it was a blind alley that punters were driven down by bad advice from the government. As soon as they announce the scrapage scheme I’m out.

  42. January Lyle February 23, 2017 12:44 am

    Just bought Audi A1 First week PDF light came on car juddering no power fan coming on all the time and stop/start not working. Garage did test run said everything was ok!! Had it 3 weeks now and PDF comes on every couple of days same thing happening, I’m doing miles up and down motorway as hand book advises… seems to clear light then comes back on within 2 days. Booked in again with garage can’t get appointments ent for 10 days !! So disappointed, Audi just keep saying well if your worried just call Audi assist!! What can I do, any advice please… I’m a woman and feel garage not taking me seriously

    • James Mills February 24, 2017 5:19 pm

      Could you give us more information, please Jan? Is the car brand new? Or a used model? Did you know you have 30 days to reject the vehicle? Please see our story outlining the Consumer Rights Act and the rights car buyers have – it’s important to act quickly, and put everything in writing (email is fine) so you have a record: http://blog.greenflag.com/2015/new-consumer-rights-act-what-it-means-for-car-owners/

  43. Marcus February 27, 2017 8:08 am

    Hi January Lyle, What you are explaining is a typical example of ash accumulation in the DPF which is none combustible, so any short fixes will only remove soot at best. Ash arises from the combustion of additives in engine oil and like your log fire at home ash is non-combustible, ash needs to be physically removed by a professional service.

    That’s assuming your garage has carried out a full emissions diagnostic check. However as mentioned your issue is common.

  44. January Lyle February 27, 2017 2:42 pm

    Hi James vehicle is used car yes I just been asking about the warranty as I did not know this… they asked if I want a petrol model if I’m doing short journeys, I really want I have fixed as it’s a beautiful car A1 S line, 1.6tdi style edition. We previously had 3 diesel cars with no problem doing mix of short and long journeys so why this one? I have put in the BP fuel ultimate (2tanks now) to see if any differences and did a 400 round trip at the weekend, let’s see how long now before light comes back on…

    • MAx1234 Ita February 27, 2017 3:16 pm

      Just don’t mind of premium fuel unless the manual states you SHOULD use it, it doesn’t make any practical difference, since the extra power it gives is compensated by the car’s ECU in order to give proper performance. Also the supposed “cleanlines” is just a scam…

      For who’s interested, there are many videos on Youtube about this issue: this is just one among them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPPkPAbzwbU

      Since your Audi is a used one, it’s almost impossible to know how did the previous owner use that car: As afar as you know, he/she may have run hundreds of miles in very short trips @ 25 Mph…

      I bet it will be OK after the guys at the garage will do a forced cleanup.
      I’ve never bought a used one, but I wonder if the “guarantee” they give with those cars only covers the engine and mechanics or also other parts such as the filtering system…

      Cheers,
      Max

      • Mat February 27, 2017 4:23 pm

        Can’t agree with you. After running many, many different cars for many 100,000’s of miles I can tell you V.Power WILL give you a higher MPG, it WILL prevent DPF problems, it will clean up an old engine and it’s emissions, it will give you a smoother running engine that has more get up and go. After running a car run on V.Power and then putting supermarket fuel in it, on every occasion there is a lack of performance. If there is no difference when you put V.power in your tank, it’s usually because it takes time to clean out the varnish, gums and carbon from the fuel system; given time, you will see a difference in performance and confirmed by the HC and CO numbers when it comes to MOT time.

  45. January Lyle February 27, 2017 3:35 pm

    Thanks for your answer.. yes it’s probably going to cost me when it goes in but that’s Audi … someone also told me to use redex??

  46. BeeJay March 19, 2017 4:06 pm

    Crickey, what a great thread this is to the uninitiated. PDF,DPF,EGR, Let me explain my driving. I run a 2013 Dacia Duster Laureate 1.5 DCI 4WD & very pleased with it. Bought new in 2013 & I’ve only done 20k. Now the naughty bit. I coast at every opportunity & am delighted that most of my running is around the 2000+ rpm in top (6th)
    Consequently my mileage is always around 45-48mpg. Now reading this, I’m wondering if I’m heading for trouble. Another thing is, I never use is the AC, unless I remember every now & then to turn it on, as I once read you should.
    Please advise, no matter how disastrous it is.

  47. Paul March 21, 2017 10:26 pm

    Beware and read your manual to learn the various warning lights . Dealers use them to make easy money , I use quality fuel and top additive to ensure soot burnt @ lower temperature but you still need some revs to shift it in exhaust to burn . All dpf cars should have been made with auto feed to aid this like the later add blue ones .Bad liaison between government and manufacturers .Don’t panic go through regen process with additive or pay dealer to use your fuel to do it in garage hence bad mpg .Every thing in the closed loop must be kept clean or they clog up , misrepresentation of mpg by manufacturers as they knew this . Class action required , we are lucky as live out of town and park @ edge of town now as shortens low rev miles , collusion ? . Our 4×4 is to enable getting out in the winter and on field etc and we pay for it

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