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Why Your Diesel Particulate Filter Needs Cleaned

Why Clean Your DFP Filter
January 23, 2022

A DPF (diesel particulate filter) is a specially designed filter that is designed to capture soot from your vehicle’s exhaust system. The reason behind the need for DPFs is to meet the emission standards from the EPA. A blocked DPF filter can cause problems, which is why you need to make sure that it is clean. If it’s too late and you’re noticing a strong diesel smell, excess amount of smoke, regen failure, and most commonly the DPF light on your dashboard. If that’s the case your filter may require replacement or physical cleaning.

Regeneration Cleaning Cycle

Most commonly you’ll need to regenerate, this involves using heat from your fuel to convert the soot to ash. The ash then is burnt off by the heat. Depending on how far and how much your drive will determine which type of regeneration you will have to use, there are two types of regeneration processes, passive and active. Passive regeneration is when you are driving at a high speed (70mph) for a very long time. This causes the soot to burn off. For most drivers, they will have to use the active regeneration method. The active regeneration method is for drivers who do not drive at a high rate of speed for a long distance. The active regeneration process begins when soot levels reach 45% of the DPFs total capacity. A process of post-combustion fuel injection is then triggered which heats the exhaust.

Reducing Regens

What if you could cut down on the amount of regeneration cleaning cycles (regens)? You can by using Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme and Everyday Diesel Treatment. Third-party testing by the City of Columbus cut the number of regens down by 50%! infographic We know regens happen because of soot build-up in the diesel particulate filter. So, if we can lower our soot output, we can lower our regens significantly. The best way to accomplish this is by achieving a more efficient burn of our diesel fuel. There are two things needed to make this happen: 1. Having clean fuel injectors 2. Burning higher cetane rated fuel If we keep our fuel injectors clean, we’ll get closer to the perfect mixture of fuel and oxygen in our combustion chambers. Coupling a perfect air-fuel ratio with a higher combustible fuel (more cetane), we will achieve a more efficient burn of fuel. This means less soot being pushed through our DPFs and less regens.

Physical Cleaning

Professional cleaning is required at points for your DPF filter. Professional cleaning costs generally vary between $200 and $500. Having your DPF professionally cleaned will ensure you’re receiving proper airflow, your filter meets EPA standards, and delay the costly replacement DPF filter. Determining when you need to have your DPF professionally cleaned depends on your overall mileage and how frequently your vehicle stops. With those factors in mind, most DPFs on heavy-duty trucks need to be professionally cleaned every 100,000-150,000 miles. When it comes time to replace your DPF the costs are going to be close to $2,000 or more.

Cleaning your DPF is just as important as changing your oil regularly. Your vehicle will run better, be EPA compliant, and you won’t have that annoying DPF light on your dashboard light up. Remember, if you’re not regularly driving long distances at high speeds you’ll need to use the active regeneration method to burn off all the built-up soot in your DPF. Eventually, you’ll need to have your DPF professionally cleaned to make sure there is proper airflow and you’re still EPA compliant. Just like changing your oil regularly, staying on top of regular regenerations, professional cleaning will pay dividends on vehicle’s performance, and keep money in your wallet.