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DPF is clogged, mechanic inspecting car

How to Tell If Your DPF Is Clogged

An important responsibility of owning a diesel vehicle is ensuring it has a clean Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). 

A DPF filter traps diesel particulate matter, or soot, in the exhaust system and prevents your exhaust from polluting the atmosphere with black fumes. It plays an important role in reducing harmful emissions and improving the smooth functioning of your vehicle. 

However, the DPF can become clogged with soot and pollutants over time. If your DPF isn’t cleaned, it can result in decreased vehicle performance and potential engine damage.

In this article, we’ll examine five signs that indicate your vehicle’s DPF is clogged and needs to be cleaned. By recognising when your DPF requires cleaning, you can take proactive steps to ensure it functions properly and keeps your engine healthy.

Let’s begin!

1) DPF Warning Light on the Dashboard

If your DPF is blocked or not functioning properly, your vehicle’s dashboard will display a warning light. 

This warning light may turn on and off or only be lit up briefly. However, if you notice it coming on frequently, you need to look into DPF cleaning. While your vehicle may be clever enough to alert you, be vigilant for other signs of a clogged DPF and take action swiftly. Sometimes, the DPF warning light may not be triggered, even if it needs cleaning. 

It’s important to note that there are multiple warning lights on your dashboard, and not all are related to the DPF. If you’re unsure about the meaning of each light, consult your owner’s manual.

2) Reduced Driving Performance

If your DPF is clogged, your vehicle’s engine may be unable to gather the same amount of power and work as efficiently as it normally would. 

The buildup of fumes suffocates the engine and can weaken your entire driving experience. No matter how much pressure you put on the accelerator and pump into the engine, it won’t make a difference due to the DPF’s inability to remove excess gas. 

As a result, your vehicle’s engine will use more energy trying to push out the exhaust fumes through the DPF, leaving minimal energy for acceleration. 

3) The Engine Refuses to Start

DPF clogged up, mechanic examining DPF filter

When your DPF is blocked, gas within the engine cannot go anywhere, which can result in a large buildup of pressure within the engine and the DPF. 

If this occurs, you may find that your engine will refuse to start until this pressure is released. While this may be frustrating, it is also a good thing. If you were to drive your car with a large amount of pressure built up inside your engine, it could result in significant engine damage and potentially ruin your DPF. 

Although your engine failing to start at a crucial time can be very inconvenient, it is far better than your engine sustaining potentially fatal damage. 

If you experience this issue, book an appointment with In Town Automotive to inspect and clean your DPF. Our expert technicians will restore your vehicle’s performance in no time! 

4) Reduced Fuel Economy

Poor vehicle performance can also affect fuel economy. Your DPF filter conducts exhaust fumes out of your vehicle’s engine. When your DPF is clogged, your engine will have to work harder to maintain normal performance levels. 

This higher workload results in greater fuel consumption, as more fuel is used to compensate for reduced efficiency. Not only can this lead to you spending more on fuel, but it may also severely damage your engine. 

With rising fuel costs, diesel vehicle owners need to do everything they can to make every litre of fuel count. If you notice you’re filling up your vehicle more often and have not changed your driving habits, this could be a sign that your DPF is clogged and requires cleaning. 

If you’re unsure if your vehicle is consuming more diesel than usual, note the journeys you take and how often you have to refuel. 

However, increased fuel consumption may be a sign of multiple vehicle issues besides DPF blockage. That’s why it’s wise to keep track of your vehicle’s fuel consumption habits.

5) Odd Odours

DPF is blocked, close up of DPF filter

When your DPF filter is filled with soot or debris, exhaust gases will have nowhere to go. This blockage can cause these gases to build up and create strange odours.

When your DPF is clogged, you may notice a strong diesel smell or a burning odour that could be a sign that it is overheating. Additionally, you may hear a rattling or banging noise when you accelerate due to a broken or damaged filter. 

These strange odours are unpleasant to breathe and, if left unattended, can potentially become a fire hazard. If you notice any unusual smells or noises, take your vehicle to be serviced by our qualified technicians at In Town Automotive

For Expert Car Maintenance, Contact In Town Automotive!

Understanding how the DPF works and identifying when it becomes clogged is essential for all diesel vehicle owners. While we hope you won’t face this pesky issue any time soon, knowing what signs to look out for can help you better care for your vehicle. 

If your DPF is clogged and you require DPF cleaning or any other type of car maintenance services, our experienced and reliable team of professionals is here for you! 

At In Town Automotive, our technicians are equipped with the knowledge and experience needed to effectively service your vehicle and resolve any issues. As an award-winning garage in Northampton, we have many years of experience repairing exhausts, brakes, clutches, tyres, and more. 

With our assistance, you can keep your car in pristine condition and make every journey comfortable and safe. 

To learn more about us, visit our services page or contact us to book an appointment today!

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