How to clean a blocked DPF yourself

Is it possible to clean a clogged diesel particulate filter yourself? That is a question we often get. When a diesel particulate filter is clogged, in most cases you can solve this relatively easily and cheaply by driving the DPF clean. The car normally does this automatically when there is a long drive, but many cars need a little extra help. We explain this and more in this blog!

For starters, it’s good to know that car manufacturers are faced with more and more emissions requirements. Various solutions are being developed for this without, for example, the power of the car being affected. However, these developments also have drawbacks. Internal pollution is an example of this. The DPF, the EGR valve and the turbo, among other things, become heavily polluted, because the exhaust gases pass through the circuit several times before they are emitted.

This blog contains a lot of information. To make it easier for you, you can navigate to the relevant questions and answers via the links below:

How does a diesel particulate filter work in a car?

To begin with, we will first look at the function of the DPF. From 2006, all diesel engines are fitted with particulate filters as standard. The diesel particulate filter is located in the exhaust system of a diesel engine and its purpose is to collect fine (soot) particles from the exhaust gases so that they do not pollute the environment.

The fine soot particles are filtered and temporarily collected. After about 1000 km of driving, the filter will be full of soot and the soot must be removed. This is done by burning it, also known as “regeneration of the particulate filter”.

The fine soot particles are filtered and collected temporarily. After about 1000 km of driving, the filter will be full of soot and the soot must be removed.

This is done by burning it, also known as “regeneration of the particulate filter”.

How does a diesel particulate filter regenerate?

Soot only burns at about 550°C and that temperature is in principle not reached in a diesel particulate filter. For that reason, some brands add Eolys to the fuel via a separate tank under the car. Eolys is a liquid based on cerin and this substance lowers the combustion temperature of soot from 550°C to 450°C. Other brands inject extra diesel fuel so that the temperature in the filter is increased to 650°C, so that the soot does burn.

To check how much soot is actually stored, the diesel engines with a DPF have a differential pressure sensor. As can be seen on the picture, the differential pressure sensor is connected between the front and back of the particulate filter. The pressure difference gives an indication of the amount of soot that has accumulated.

The signal is measured in the differential pressure sensor and passed on to the computer. This is programmed in such a way that, based on this data, regeneration will take place at a certain pressure difference.

If the filter is clean, the pressure difference will be small. As the filter becomes more clogged, there will be a greater pressure difference and if the difference in pressure becomes too great, the diesel engine will regenerate. Which means that the stored soot is burned, this is also called cleaning the soot filter. The burnt soot then turns into ash. Over time, so much has been regenerated that the entire diesel particulate filter is filled with ash instead of soot. You will then have to make a choice between cleaning the particulate filter or replacing it.

A particulate filter that slowly fills up with ash residue will have to regenerate more often. After all, the space in which the soot can be collected is becoming smaller and smaller. This is also noticeable because it is regenerated much more often, sometimes already after 350 km.

How long does a diesel particulate filter last?

The life of a diesel particulate filter depends very much on the driving style of the user. When a vehicle is only used for short journeys (shorter than +- 20 minutes), the DPF will have to regenerate more often, which means that it will also become clogged sooner. This is because the engine does not come up to temperature properly, which causes more internal pollution. Usually, a particulate filter will last 100,000 – 180,000 km in passenger cars. The difference in this range therefore depends on the driving style as described above. Further on in the blog you can read how you can extend the life of the diesel particulate filter.

How do I know if my diesel particulate filter is clogged?

You can recognize that the diesel particulate filter is clogged by a number of things. The most obvious sign is when the diesel particulate filter malfunction light comes on. This usually means that the DPF is clogged. However, it can also indicate an electronic problem. Good to know, not every car has a particulate filter light. If your car does not have a particulate filter light, the engine management light will illuminate if there is a clogged diesel particulate filter.

You can also notice how the car drives. A clogged DPF can, for example, cause increased fuel consumption, but also cause the car to stutter.

Have you found out that your DPF is clogged? Then you can look for a solution. You can choose to clean or replace the particulate filter. Both options are discussed in this blog.

Can I continue driving with a clogged diesel particulate filter?

There is no unequivocal answer to this question. In principle, it is not wise to drive for too long with a clogged DPF, because it causes the necessary malfunctions. In addition, it causes more internal pollution, since the soot can no longer leave the car. Furthermore, the car can go into emergency mode, which means that the car has considerably less power. Finally, it also has a negative impact on fuel consumption.

Especially if you make a lot of short trips, it can be good to take a long drive on the highway, so that the engine warms up properly. This gives the car a chance to start the diesel particulate filter regeneration process. We recommend using an additive, as described at the bottom of this blog. This greatly facilitates the regeneration process, increasing the success rate.

How much does it cost to replace a diesel particulate filter?

Replacing the diesel particulate filter is something you prefer to postpone as long as possible. This is due to the often high costs that you pay for this. You can usually assume a cost item of at least €1000, but this often turns out to be even higher.

It is good to know that particulate filters are often incorrectly replaced. When problems arise and the diesel particulate filter malfunction light comes on, it is generally difficult to find the cause. In this case, the choice is often made to replace the DPF. It may be the case that the particulate filter is broken, replacement is the only option. However, in most situations this is not the case.

What else could be going on? To start with, the differential pressure sensor transmits a signal to the computer, as mentioned. Regeneration will or will not take place on the basis of this signal. The regeneration will only happen under certain conditions. For example, the car has to drive above 70 km/h for a certain time in order to start the regeneration process.

For people who drive a lot of city traffic/short distances or who often get stuck in traffic jams, it may happen that the regeneration conditions are not met. The result is a build-up of soot in the filter and at some point the malfunction light will illuminate with the message that there is an exhaust gas problem.

There may also be a problem with the differential pressure sensor. The line (hose) to the diesel particulate filter may be torn, the differential pressure sensor itself may be defective or there may be a broken wire, for example in the signal wire to the computer.

All these causes prevent automatic regeneration and it is clear that a problem arises and the malfunction light comes on. The garage can then perform a forced regeneration with their diagnostic device and get the filter clean again.

You also have the option to solve this problem yourself. With a fuel additive you can help your DPF to regenerate more easily. The additives that can achieve this contain a certain substance, which ensures that the combustion temperature of soot is significantly lowered.

The Lindemann Total Care Diesel is an example of such an additive. If you follow the instructions carefully, you can easily help your car regenerate the DPF. You can read more about this further on in this blog. You will also see a video that clearly explains how you can easily apply this product yourself.

How can I extend the life of my diesel particulate filter?

As described earlier, the driving style has an influence on the life of the diesel particulate filter. However, you will of course not make unnecessarily long journeys when you have nowhere to go. In this case, fuel additives can help.

The Lindemann Diesel Boost, for example, is a perfect cleaning and protection additive for the DPF, but also for other parts such as the fuel system, the turbo and the EGR valve.

This product increases the cetane number, which results in a more optimal combustion. The result is considerably less soot formation. As a result, less soot will automatically end up in the particulate filter, which improves the service life.

Good to note here is the fact that the soot first passes through the turbo, EGR and partly the intake system before the soot filter catches it. The other parts therefore also benefit from the reduced soot formation. Because all these parts remain cleaner and better combustion takes place, this not only results in lower maintenance costs, but also in optimal fuel consumption.

A bottle of diesel boost is easy to add to the fuel and already good for 100 liters of diesel. So good for two fill-ups on most cars. When this is regularly added before refueling, this product will pay for itself. On the one hand because of better fuel consumption and on the other hand because many expensive repairs are required

Can you clean a diesel particulate filter yourself?

Prevention is always better than cure. However, sometimes it is already too late. If this is the case, you should look for a way to clean the DPF. After all, replacement is an extremely expensive affair. There are two ways to clean the diesel particulate filter. You can have it professionally cleaned at a specialized company. The costs for this are easily around €500. Significantly cheaper than replacing the particulate filter, but still a significant expense. Another option is to clean it yourself with an additive.

With Lindemann’s Total Care Diesel you can clean your DPF yourself. This product lowers the combustion temperature of soot, making it easier to burn. It also contains a very high level of active cleaning agents.

These ensure that in addition to the diesel particulate filter, the injectors (and the rest of the fuel system), the turbo, EGR valve and the intake system are also cleaned. Hence the name “Total Care Diesel”.

The product is easy to add to the fuel tank. One 1 liter can is suitable for 40-80 liters of diesel. This video explains in a simple way how it works.

It may seem strange that a £54.95 product can solve a problem that typically costs £500 – £1500. However, there is a logical explanation for this. When a particulate filter is full of ash, an additive will not be able to offer a solution, since the ash cannot be burned again. In addition, an additive will not be able to solve electronic or mechanical problems.

In practice, however, it appears that in the vast majority of cases the above problems are not the cause. This means that the particulate filter is simply unable to burn the soot. The Total Care Diesel can then lend a hand here. The fact that the rest of the intake and exhaust system is also cleaned is an added bonus!

If you are already convinced, there is the possibility to order the product via our webshop. You can go to the webshop via the “Order Direct” button. 

Questions about this blog? Feel free to contact us without obligation! We usually respond to an email the same day!