A lot of modern diesel powered vehicles are fitted with what’s known as a Diesel Particulate Filter or DPF for short. The purpose of this is to capture and store the diesel particles or soot emitted by diesel engines. The DPF serves its purpose to decrease invisible and visible diesel emissions.
However these filters have a limited capacity and need to be periodically cleared out, this is a process of burning off the captured particles or soot to regenerate the DPF. In order for the DPF to correctly burn off the captured soot or particles it needs to reach a temperature of around 600 degrees Celsius. It can be pretty hard to get this sort of temperature in the DPF if you’re driving a diesel vehicle short distances or for a short period of time.
Morning school runs dropping the kids off to school or trips to the local grocery shops to pick up some milk where you’re only driving short distances and constantly stop/starting or frequently turning the engine off can be detrimental to a Diesel Particulate Filter. If you’re late model diesel is emitting plumes of black smoke on acceleration, the most likely cause of this could be related to an issue with the DPF.
Some of the issues that indicate a blocked/clogged DPF can be cooling problems, increase in idle speed, a change in the sound from the engine, a bad smell and an increase in fuel usage. So in short a blocked Diesel Particulate Filter could prevent your vehicle from operating the way the manufacture intended it to.
Diesel Particulate Filters can be quite costly to replace should they reach the point that the excessive soot or particles stored can no longer be burnt off meaning the DPF itself needs to be replaced. As stated previously DPFs really dislike stop/start city driving at low temperatures where the stored particles or soot are unable to be burnt off clearing out the DPF.
Often all that is required to regenerate the DPF and burn off the stored particles or soot is a good long drive along a freeway, approximately 30 – 40 minutes of constant freeway speeds should suffice. This way the DPF can reach its optimum temperature required to burn off the stored particles or soot preventing the DPF from becoming blocked/clogged and causing further problems down the track.
Running the vehicle at a constant higher RPM will generate the heat required for the Diesel Particulate Filter to burn off its stored particles or soot that wouldn’t usually be achieved in constant stop/start city driving.
So if you own a late model diesel that is fitted with a DPF this is one simple thing you can do to keep your vehicle operating as it was intended to, and that is get out on the open road and enjoy all the beauty that our wonderful country has to offer and by doing so you could be doing your diesel powered vehicle a favour in the long run.