Do You Need to Service Your Diesel Particulate Filter?
Most new vehicles today are fitted with a diesel particulate filter, designed to remove harmful engine emissions, so they are not sprayed into the atmosphere instead. While these are meant to perform a certain amount of housekeeping by themselves in the form of regeneration, they are not designed to be foolproof. So, from time to time, you will need to take your vehicle in to get this component serviced. What do you need to know about this procedure?
How These Filters Work
Essentially, a diesel particulate filter traps soot that is developed during the combustion process. Within the outer casing, there is a structure that has a spongelike consistency and traps these soot particles as they flow through the exhaust system. When the chamber becomes congested, a sensor will send a signal to the vehicle's computer, increasing the internal temperature so it burns off the residue. Some vehicles achieve the same objective when driving down the road (such as a motorway) at a certain speed. If you have a vehicle that is equipped this way, you need to schedule a journey like this from time to time if you typically only use your vehicle for a commute.
While the process of regeneration is effective, the filter will also trap other contaminants that cannot burn off during each cycle. Instead, this turns to ash and becomes trapped within the filter, building up slowly but surely over time.
Signs of Congestion
If your filter becomes overly congested with this ash, it will certainly affect engine performance and the typical flow of gases through the exhaust system. You may begin to notice that your vehicle seems sluggish or that you are paying more for fuel at the pump, and when this happens, you will need to schedule a visit to a technician for a professional clean.
Specialist Cleaning Techniques
When you take the vehicle in for this type of service, the technician will use compressed air and sometimes other techniques known as "bake and blow." These processes will loosen the residue and either blow it out into a waiting receptacle or dissolve it.
The Risk of Damage
If trapped ash within the filtration cells begins to harden, you need to take action as soon as possible. In the worst-case scenario, this hardening may actually crack the filter casing, and you would need to get the entire component replaced.
Talk with your car servicing centre about diesel particulate filter cleaning so that you can schedule your visit.