Diesel Particulate Filters or DPF’s for short were introduced in 2009 for Diesel cars only. They are designed to prevent soot, or particulate matter from entering the atmosphere therefore being kinder to the environment. Although they can help to do this and therefor lower emissions, they are often a bit of a nightmare for many diesel owners, especially ones that do not do many long journeys. The way a DPF filter works is that it it collects this very fine soot that is produced by the engine. Every so often the soot is burnt off at extremely high temperatures, which leaves a tiny ash residue. This ash residue will overtime build up and will need specialist cleaning, but often this doesn’t need to be done until around a hundred thousand miles.
In order for the DPF to regenerate (burn the soot to ash) it needs to reach a certain temperature. The best way to do this is to drive the car at high revs for about 20-25 minutes. If you often do very short journeys and at low speeds then your car may struggle to clear the DPF. Often you will get a warning light on the car saying that it needs to regenerate. At this point you should take it on a good run on a motor way or road you can drive at about 50-60 mph for a period of time. If you do not do this it can become blocked and require professional cleaning.