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The Truth About Modern Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) Problems

The Truth About Modern Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) Problems
May 16, 2019 Char Lee
In Blog

DPFs – diesel particle filters – are a great concept. They take out the dangerously small carbon nanoparticles that diesel engines are so good at pumping out the exhaust port – trap them, and burn them into a parallel dimension through a wormhole in space-time. That’s the idea. Straight to the Phantom Zone – where they cannot give you lung cancer. Because nobody wants that.

In theory a DPF needs no maintenance – it’s just a steel chamber up near the engine full of Cordierite or silicon carbide designed to trap microscopic soot, and then periodically the computer turns the chamber into a furnace by injecting extra fuel, thus burning the particles into a less harmful state.

To quote the marketing euphemistic bullshit, DPFs are maintenance free and designed to last the life of the vehicle. So that’s good news.

Except – it often doesn’t work out that way. Many people are locked into an epically unpleasant ‘Groundhog Day’ experience where their DPF dies and is only intermittently resurrected, before dying again, and being resurrected.

In fact a DPF, as a system, would have to be one of the dodgiest, least reliable systems on a modern car. Not because it’s a bad idea – it’s not. It’s a great idea. No lung cancer? I’ll take it. Have that wrapped and sent to my suite.

It’s a bad idea because it’s a bolt-on, after the fact addition. It’s a systematic ‘fail’. Like a guide to how not to integrate something new into a modern engine. And the engineers tasked with bolting this system on were handed a design brief that – apparently – included requiring all DPF-supporting systems to function perfectly until the end of time.

DPFs can be impacted by all kinds of ‘upstream’ problems that culminate in expensive repairs

And ‘failure mode analysis’? It appears that this sounded like a bit too much hard work. If you are an engineer in a car company and you don’t like me saying this about what you’ve done, then I would humbly suggest:

Then of course we could add one of my favourite factors – dogshit-dumb dealers, inadequately trained on fault-finding and diagnosis, who charge like wounded bulls for their services, but wouldn’t know actual diagnosis if it jumped up and bit them on the arses. If you’re a car dealer and I am earning your opprobrium here, it’s merely because:

So if you’re in the dealership service department and your DPF warning light is on – for the twentieth time – on the least-merry merry-go-round ever – and you’re looking at a DPF replacement for several thousand dollars: Before you reach for the defibrillator, or the bat-pumpy – here’s what you need to know.

Thinking of stacking the deck in your favour? If you’re locked into a cycle of short trips with lots of cold starts inside the city or the ‘burbs, with no ability to escape and do a longer drive fortnightly, you might be better off in a petrol. Alternatively, not all DPF systems appear to be created equal – I never get complaints about Hyundai-Kia diesels (which seem to be pretty good at passive regeneration) and I rarely get them on Mazda vehicles, either.

My top recommended diesels:

Hyundai Santa Fe

Kia Sorento

Hyundai Tucson

Kia Sportage

Kia Carnival

I’ve also never had a DPF complaint about a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport >> or Triton >> or a Mazda BT-50 >>

With thanks to John Cadogan ; Auto Expert – –

A quality product, great service, and wide range of stock at a price significantly lower than OEM DPFs. CALL 1300 896 505 or | e; with your diesel model.
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