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  • Step-by-step guide on DPF filter cleaning

    DPF filter cleaning

    Diesel Particle Filters (DPF's) are only used in diesel vehicles, their purpose is to collect the soot from the exhaust and prevent the harmful particles from being released and damaging the environment. However, if you don't keep the filters clear of any soot collected from the engine, the performance of your vehicle will be affected, and it can be a costly fix. If you use diesel vehicles in your fleet, you will know that DPF filter cleaning is essential to running a cost-effective and environmentally friendly fleet.

    DPF Filters became standard requirements in 2009 as emissions regulations tightened. Although they help protect the environment, if your fleet doesn't drive long distances, the DPF filters are at risk of being blocked. This is because the exhaust doesn't reach a hot enough temperature to burn the soot away.

    DPF Filter Cleaning

    There are several ways to clean your DPF filter, you can either clear it yourself by burning the soot away or have it cleaned professionally by a garage. If the blockage persists, you will likely need to replace your DPF filter, which can be costly.

    The easiest and best option to clean DPF filters is by following these few steps:

    1. Heat the engine

    The easiest and cheapest method of DPF filter cleaning is by driving the vehicle for a long-distance at high revs per minute. Doing this increases the heat of the exhaust and burns the soot blocking the DPF filter. It's best to drive on a motorway or A road where you can keep the vehicle at a consistent speed. If one of your fleet vehicles warning light comes on, the driver should continue driving, this will help clear the soot and will less likely require expensive maintenance care.

    Some vehicles may deal with the soot itself by injecting extra fuel to raise the temperature of the exhaust. This process is called 'active regeneration', which causes your vehicle's fuel economy to drop, and the engine noise to change. As the temperature of the exhaust heats up, it burns the soot away. However, this only happens if your car is moving and not stop-starting in traffic.

    2. Use the recommended oil 

    Using the recommended manufactured oil can help with keeping the DPF filter clean. You should only use the specified oil as this will be specially made for your diesel vehicles. Once you have topped the engine with the correct oil, you will need to regularly check the oil level to make sure it doesn't run low.

    3. Use premium fuel

    You should consider asking your fleet drivers to only use premium fuel as it is claimed to burn more easily, keeping the DPF filter clear of any soot. Although premium fuel is more expensive, it will save your fleet from expensive garage costs to clear or replace the filter.

    4. Don't ignore the warning light

    The DPF warning light should not be ignored. If the light comes on, do not stop driving as this can make the blockage worse. Your driver should report the issue to their manager and continue driving to clear the soot until the warning light turns off. If this doesn't work, you will need to take the vehicle to a garage to have it professionally cleaned.

    5. Regular servicing

    To help with DPF filter cleaning, you will need to schedule regular servicing for your fleet vehicles. Services usually include an oil change by flushing out the existing oil and replacing it with new, clean oil which will help keep the DPF filter clean.

    If your fleet only drives short distances in urban areas, you may find that your DPF filters are prone to blocking. You can try these DPF filter cleaning steps, but diesel vehicles generally perform better at long-distance driving. Using the wrong type of vehicle for your fleet can be expensive so from the outset you should consider and research the best vehicle for your fleet needs.

    You will need to check the advice in the vehicle handbook for the recommended oil and fuel to get to most out of your fleet vehicles. Always be prepared for situations that can go wrong with your fleet and make sure your team has the relevant training to keep your fleet drivers and vehicles safe.

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