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DPF, EGR & ADBLUE
DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter)
If you own a diesel car, you probably have a Diesel Particulate Filter. However, you may not know exactly what this is or how to maintain it.
Diesel Particulate Filters have been fitted to Diesel-fuel cars for almost two decades now, but if not maintained or tampered with, there could be serious consequences for your car.
Here, we explain exactly what they are, what they do, why you need them and how to look after them.
What is a Diesel Particulate Filter?
A Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) is a filter that captures and stores exhaust soot (some refer to them as soot traps) in order to reduce emissions from Diesel cars.
But because they only have a finite capacity, this trapped soot periodically has to be emptied or 'burned off' to regenerate the DPF.
This regeneration process cleanly burns off the excess soot deposited in the filter, reducing the harmful exhaust emission and helps to prevent the telltale black smoke you used to see from Diesel vehicles, particularly when accelerating.
Euro 5 exhaust emissions legislation was introduced in 2009 to help lower car CO2 emissions effectively made DPFs mandatory, and since then, around one in two new cars a year have been Diesel-powered.
How Do I Tell If My Diesel Particulate Filter Is Blocked?
If the DPF is becoming clogged with soot or a fault develops in the system, an orange light will typically appear on the dashboard as seen below.
They usually look like this with a piped box that has dots in the middle, although they can slightly vary from manufacturer to manufacturer – check your handbook for more information.
What Causes A Diesel Particulate Filter Blockage?
Short journeys at low speeds are the prime cause of blocked Diesel Particulate Filters.
This is why car manufacturers often go as far as recommending city-bound short-hop drivers choose a petrol car instead of diesel (and it’s why Diesels are something of a rarity in the city car sector).
Other things that are bad for DPFs include poor servicing.
A Diesel Particulate Filter on a poorly serviced car may fail sooner than a well maintained one. Generally, they should last for at least 100,000 miles.
It’s important you use the right type of oil as some oils contain additives that can actually block filters.
Performance modifications can damage a Diesel Particulate Filter, as can using low-quality fuel and even running the car frequently on a low fuel level as the car may avoid DPF regeneration in order to save fuel.
Our Solutions For DPF Issues,
DPF assessment (diagnostics)
What Is The EGR Valve?
The EGR valve is designed to reduce the emission level of most modern vehicles. This valve reintroduces a part of the exhaust gases into the engine (between 5% and 15%). This mechanism allows complete combustion of the fuel and a reduction in pollutants, including nitrogen oxide.
Some cars have a mechanical EGR valve, actuated by the gas flow, while others have an electronic one. Electronic EGR valves tend to be more fragile and more susceptible to gas buildup.
However, to fully understand what an EGR valve is, it is necessary to explain what EGR stands for. It is an acronym for " Exhaust Gas Recirculation".
How Does The EGR Valve Work?
You don't need a degree in mechanical engineering to understand how the EGR valve works. The operation is in itself very simple. The EGR valve takes some of the exhaust gases, i.e. without oxygen, and reintroduces them into the engine's intake manifold.
In this way, the air that reaches the engine comes partly from the radiator and partly from the exhaust system. This process makes it possible to reduce the percentage of pollutants, which is an increasingly difficult parameter for car manufacturers to meet.
The EGR valve is always controlled by a specific section of the control unit. By means of a series of sensors located in the exhaust manifold, the control unit regulates the opening or closing of the valve, thus regulating the air flow to the engine.
What Problems Can An EGR Valve Cause?
The most typical problem with an EGR valve is clogging. If you have read the previous paragraphs where we explained what the EGR valve is and what it is used for, you can imagine that exhaust gases are not the cleanest thing in the world. Every time the engine is running, gases pass through the EGR valve.
In the long run, these gases tend to deposit particles against the walls of the EGR valve. These particles build up over time and cause the valve to clog. If you are afraid that you have a clogged EGR valve, we recommend that you check for one or more symptoms of a clogged EGR valve.
Our Solutions For EGR Issues
EGR assessment (diagnostics)
What Is AdBlue?
AdBlue is an exhaust fluid, not a fuel additive. It's stored in a separate reservoir and is topped up via a (usually) blue filler cap located either next to your fuel filler, in the boot or under the bonnet.
It's a trade name registered by the German car manufacturers association, but is the most recognised form of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).
What Is AdBlue Made Of?
AdBlue is a colourless, non-toxic mixture of urea and de-ionised water. It’s not actually blue at all.
Lots of people think AdBlue is made of pig urine – it’s not. The urea used in AdBlue is a high purity man-made solution – pig urine wouldn’t be pure or sterile enough for a commercial product.
How Does AdBlue Work?
Tiny amounts of AdBlue are injected into the flow of exhaust gases. At high temperatures AdBlue turns to ammonia and carbon dioxide.
Inside the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) catalyst, harmful nitrogen oxide in the exhaust reacts with the ammonia and is transformed to harmless nitrogen and water.
What Happens If I Run Out Of AdBlue?
If you run out of AdBlue while you’re driving, then the engine's power and performance will be reduced to limit its emissions. Once you’ve stopped, you won’t be able to restart the engine if the AdBlue tank is empty.
The car will give you plenty of warning that the AdBlue tank is running low. You'll usually see a text warning on the dashboard at around 1500 miles to go followed by an amber warning light.
Our Solutions For ADBLUE Issues
System assessment (diagnostics)