The Top 5 Signs That Your Vehicle Needs DPF Cleaning

One important aspect of being a diesel owner is ensuring that you have a clean Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). The DPF plays a vital role in reducing harmful emissions and ensures the smooth operation of your vehicle. Over time and with everyday usage, the DPF can become clogged with pollutants and soot. This leads to a decrease in the performance of your vehicle and can potentially cause engine damage.

In this post, we will discuss the top five signs that indicate your vehicle requires DPF cleaning. By recognising when your DPF requires cleaning, you can take proactive measures to keep it functioning optimally and maintain a healthy diesel engine.

DPF cleaning required? What to Look for!


Persistent Smoky Exhaust

A visible sign that your DPF is clogged is the presence of smoke coming from the exhaust. A healthy DPF will filter out particulate matter, such as ash and soot, from the exhaust gases before they are released into the atmosphere. This means there should be no visible exhaust fumes.

When the filter is clogged, these particles cannot pass through effectively, which leads to an increase in smoky exhaust emissions. If you notice excessive exhaust smoke when you drive, particularly when carrying a heavy load or accelerating, this is a clear sign that your DPF requires attention.

It’s important that you seek help from a DPF filter cleaning specialist if you notice this sign. Smoke coming from your exhaust is harmful to the environment and could be harming your engine. A DPF specialist will let you know whether your DPF is the problem, or if something else in your engine needs looking at.

DPF Warning Light

One of the most obvious signs that your DPF needs cleaning is the DPF warning light. Your vehicle dashboard may display a warning light if the DPF is clogged or not working properly. If you are not sure what symbol the DPF warning light comes under, check your vehicle’s instruction manual.

This light may only appear for a short amount of time, but if you notice it frequently, you should look into DPF cleaning. Your vehicle is usually clever enough to let you know when there’s an issue, but don’t wait to speak to a DPF cleaning service if your vehicle is displaying signs of a blocked DPF. There are some instances in which the DPF warning light isn’t triggered, even if your DPF needs cleaning.

A heavily smoking car exhaust because it has a DPF issue


Loss of Power

A noticeable sign of a clogged DPF is a loss of engine power. When your DPF becomes heavily blocked, it will restrict the exhaust flow. This hampers your engine’s ability to perform normally. You may notice a decrease in acceleration, reduced engine responsiveness, or difficulty maintaining high speeds.

If you notice a significant loss of power, it’s advised to have your DPF inspected and cleaned by a DPF specialist. This should restore your vehicle’s performance and reduce the risk of further damage to your vehicle. A loss of engine power can also be dangerous, so this isn’t something you should ignore.

Increased Fuel Consumption

A blocked DPF can lead to an increase in fuel consumption, which isn’t good for your vehicle or your wallet. With rising fuel costs, diesel owners should be doing everything within their power to make every litre of fuel count. When your filter is blocked, this stops the proper flow of exhaust gases, which forces the engine to work even harder to maintain optimal performance levels.

This increased workload often increases fuel consumption, as the engine uses more fuel to compensate for decreased efficiency. If you notice you are filling up your vehicle more often than usual and have not changed your driving habits, this could be a sign that your vehicle is in need of DPF cleaning. The cost of DPF filter cleaning is worth it when you compare how much you could be saving in unnecessary fuel costs.

If you aren’t sure whether your vehicle is consuming more diesel than usual, start writing down the journeys you take and how often you have to fill up. It’s good to know your vehicle’s normal fuel consumption habits, as increased fuel consumption can be a sign of many vehicle issues, not just DPF blockage.

Increased Regeneration Cycles

A modern diesel vehicle is equipped with a regeneration system. This system automatically burns off the accumulated pollutants and soot in your DPF to maintain efficiency. If you notice an increase in the frequency of these regeneration cycles, this could be an indication that your DPF is clogged and needs specialist attention.

The regeneration process occurs during motorway driving. This is the only time that the exhaust temperature is hot enough to burn off the accumulated soot. A regeneration cycle occurs around 15 to 30 minutes into a motorway drive. If you find that your vehicle needs this more often, or you notice a distinct odour during the regeneration process, it’s highly recommended to get your DPF inspected and spotless.

Driving for too long or too often at a low speed or short distances can clog your DPF faster. For diesel vehicle owners, this means getting up to high speeds at least once a week (if not more) to maintain engine health. If for any reason your vehicle has not been on the motorway or driven at a high speed for a few months or more, you should consider getting your DPF checked, as it may not have had an opportunity to regenerate and clean itself.

Maintaining a clean Diesel Particulate Filter is an essential part of being a diesel vehicle owner. By doing so, you can ensure the optimal performance of your vehicle and increase the vehicle’s longevity. By being aware of these top five signs, you can take proactive measures to address any issue promptly, before it starts to cause further, more costly issues.

Through regular maintenance, including professional DPF cleaning and adherence to recommended diesel driving practices, you can keep your diesel vehicle and engine in prime condition.