DPF Regeneration Instructions And How To Keep Your DPF Healthy!


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DPF Regeneration
Your car is fitted with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) and you have heard a lot of stories about expensive repair bills, regenerations and additives... So you look on the internet for how you keep your DPF healthy and how 'DPF Regeneration' is performed!! Good news.... Its not all doom and gloom when it comes to your DPF

Firstly, what is DPF regeneration?

Well to best answer that, let's take a look at what the DPF actually does.... The DPF is a particulate filter, fitted to the exhaust system on diesel cars, it is designed to trap harmful particulates in the exhaust gases. Once the amount of trapped particles otherwise known as soot loading becomes too great engine ECU senses this and carries out the DPF regeneration process.

Now we know that, we can better understand DPF regeneration.... A question I  often see is what is the point in the DPF trapping the particles if it's only going to chuck them out the exhaust during regeneration? Answer is, it does but it doesn't. What happens is the during regeneration the exhaust gets to a hot enough temperature, ideally around 600 degrees celsius, that through some clever chemistry, the harmful particles or hydrocarbons react with the catalyst inside and become less harmful particles. I'm sure we have all heard of our good friends H2O and CO2 otherwise know as water and carbon dioxide. 

So what can be done to keep your DPF clean and happy?

So it turns out, short trips and urban driving don't do your DPF and favours, only assisting in filling the DPF faster. This is because when an engine is cold it doesn't burn fuel as cleanly as when the engine is hot, another side effect is that the exhaust doesn't get hot enough for a long enough period of time to carry out the DPF regeneration. So how can you combat this. Well depending on how many short trips you do over a week or fortnight, the best thing you can do is get your car on the dual carriageway and then drive according to the following points!!
  • Ensure engine is at operating temperature.
  • Drive in fourth or fifth gear.
  • Drive above 50 mph.
  • Keep engine speed between 2000 and 3000 rpm.
  • Keep going for at least 20 miles. 
As long as the above is followed, if vehicle senses that a DPF regeneration needs to be carried out it will do so automatically without the need for any diagnostic tools!!! 

 Another thing you can do, is to use either the more expensive diesels such as BP Ultimate or other premium fuels, or a good diesel additive. This is because better diesel has a higher cetane rating, the higher the cetane rating the better the combustion quality or cleaner burn, in turn not loading the DPF as much, resulting in less frequent DPF regeneration processes. A good side effect of using better diesel is better EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) health and it helps to keep the engine internals cleaner.

Another step to take is to ensure servicing work is carried out at the correct time and to the correct standard. See here. What is a car service.
This is because some vehicles have an additive tank which needs filling with the correct additive as part of some service schedules.

So what actually goes wrong with your DPF. Well some common issues are...

  • The pressure differential sensor can fail.
  • Too many DPF regenerations have been carried out. (They have a limited lifespan).
  • The DPF has become overloaded and automatic regeneration is not possible. In this case you need to force the regeneration process using suitable diagnostic equipment.
  • The DPF can break apart internally. 
  • The temperature sensor can fail.
  • The additive tank can run empty. (If fitted).
There are other failures but these are the most common.

For some people the cost of DPF failure is too great, and in an attempt to prevent further failure they seek to remove the DPF entirely more on that here. DPF Removal.

I hope this helps in your mission to avoid large DPF repair bills! Have you had any DPF problems? Let us know in the comments!!!


  1. I have had an 08 Vectra SRi 150 Diesel for 11 months now and there has always been (to a greater or lesser extent) a 'smell' coming from the exhaust, but no black smoke. The EGR valve has been checked three times in this period, it was cleaned once and then checked a couple of times and it has been clean since. However the smell persists. My job is such that I only do very short trips several times each day. Occasionally I drive a comparatively long distance (approx. 40 miles) and recently (2 weeks ago) I drove 200 miles approx. twice. The emission light (engine block) on the dashboard is now displayed (again) and I am still getting the smell. Is the problem likely to be the DPF? Thanks in anticipation. DaveN.

    1. The "smell" is most likely from fuel additive - unless blue smoke, then engine is burning oil. Approx. once a week, let engine reach normal operating temp., and do a couple of accelerations from low rpm in 5th gear http://libak.dk/dpf.html

    2. Thanks for your responses. I presume you mean fuel additive that I have put into the fuel. I have not done this recently although I did try a fuel additive for the dpf but that was months ago. The engine does not appear to be burning oil ie. no blue smoke. I am now getting the InSP service display

    3. Sounds like your fuel rail is leaking and the smell is entering through the air vents. Replace with a second hand one job done.

  2. I have just been been to the garage to have a regeneration done . I never had a clue about this filter particulate . They advice I do 2 hours drive on a motor way like twice in a month. I do short drives and thinking of disposing it . I need an advice on how to maintain it without going on spending at the garage

    1. Iv just sold my car with a DPF I never had any problems as I used an additive called Archoil AR6500 it's a twin pack 2,100ml bottles add 1 at every fill rack 1 treats up to 80ltrs it worked for me and most of my last 20 thousand miles was stop start town driving now and again a run on motorway and not once did I have the DPF light on infact I never ever felt the car doing a regen never did my fuel use increse doing regens I just never new or felt the process doing what it's ment to do I only sold my car as it was nearly 3,years old and bought. Petrol one iv still got loads of the additives left and I would buy a car again with a DPF became if you use an additive as a prentative you should never have problems untill the DPF is past it's sell by date hope this help get back to me iv got plenty additives left

  3. Hi,
    Can the additive mentioned above be used on a mercedes C220 CDI?

    Thanks for replying.

    1. Use the above additive it will clean your DPF infact your whole fuel system you will think your driving a new car that's how good it

  4. Hi,

    Re: Benz C220 CDI 2010

    My check engine light is on, ran diagnostic check, came up with DPF issues, just replaced my DPF Filter, but still has the light. Tried the process of forcing regeneration and uses BP Ultimate fuel, light still on, but prior to carrying out the process, car was in limp mode but now its out of it because it goes beyond 3000rpm.

    Any suggestions please?


    1. Your needing the above DPF additive that will clean out your whole system

    2. Hi re the additive AR6500 you can only try I'm not trying to sell you this additive it's just in my case it worked for me I just read about this on a site called powerenhancer there was lots of reviews on what to do and what to use the person who owns the site and gives out free advice on what to use and do if you have a perticular problem go on there and get advice it's free I'm not an experts on DPF issues but iv read loads about it and this is the main reason I changed my car to a petrol one as most of my driving is in town stop start my engine only got upto opperating temp when I drove on the motorway ?? Folk should know now that when you purchase a Diesel car new or used from a garage if you do lots of town short trips ect and be told if a diesel car is best or petrol iv been reading what the AA has been saying & the site Honest John and there views are diesel cars can be more exspensive now to run and maintained Also read fleet owners are now thinking of changing to petrol re your car I would try the AR6500 and follow up at every fill 6ml of AR6200 or AR6300 and I'm 100% sure you will have less emission problems Please let me know how you get on because 1 day I might buy another diesel car

  5. Hi re the Dpf additive I read the review on the AR6500 and become a member of powenhancer and got a 10% discount &"free p&p iv now got AR6500 I put it in and filled my tank and I noticed a very very big difference after 80. To 100 mls my trips have been town driving and hay bingo no Dpf light iv now done over 500 mls since using I also bought ar6200 that I add 6mls at every fill and not once has the Dpf light come back on my car is running like it's not done for a long time my Mpg is better no knocking noise when start from cold I put ar9100 in my oil I wish I had knew about this before as iv spent a lot on forced regens my dpf light would have been on by now but like I say I'm driving a different car I'll keep you up to date with how things Ho but very happy thank you

    1. I have had lots of problems with DPF blocking up, one time on theA5 car came to a halt the dpf had failed It had to be replaced .no indication on the dash board. sinec then Dpf had to be regenerated, got on to Vauxhall they told me to run the engine to high teperture to get the system cleaned. they said there wont be any dash board light indication, just take car for a long run. keep rev's up over 2000 do this at least every 2 weeks.

    2. 2010 Subaru Legacy TDI - I put an injector cleaner into my tank and within a 100km my DPF light came on. After 90km (low power and high fuel consumption light went out and i breathed a sigh of relief - too prematurely. Over ensuing weeks and over much varied running light would come on and then after time go out. THEN it started flashing!! Manual said "DON"T DRIVE!! See your dealer". I was a long way from home and getting cranky so I ignored it and gave it a good high rev burn over several hundred kms. Went out for a while... then back again! Damn. Saw DPF specialists, regular mechanics - all sorts. In desperation I sought out and bought a bottle of DPF cleaner (Wynn's I think) for $23 (I'm not much into witchcraft).
      Hot damn - it worked. Went into Subaru for diagnosis. They said that fault diagnostics needed reset but the car was healthy!!! Wow. After being quoted $3,500 for new filter was i relieved.... 10,000kms later she's still all good!

  6. Bought Vauxhall Insignia Feb 2014 DPF light come on after 6 weeks bought the ar6500 mentioned above work like a dream never had light on again I used every 3 to 4 thousand Mls also use ar6200 5ml every full tank my car runs better more mpg like driving a different car iv now become a member of Powerenhancer I get discounts and free P&p and iv worked it out what I spend on the additives I more than save no garage bills for limp mode better fuel economy and a better car to drive so I never worry about the light coming on and having to drive to get high revs to get the light out

  7. I have honda cr-v, 1.6 4wd diesel. Approximately every 2000 km have problem with dpf. Is it true that after dpf forced regeneration it is neccessary to change the oil?

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. mitsubishi canter with dpf....i use liqui molly brand with dpr cleaner and it helps.....however i hear stories of people overseas removing the dpf with the help of a computer.....and there trucks run perfect after a bit of trial and error....its a crappy system and most manufacturers have passed on the problem to customers.....

  10. Re the dpf removal In the uk it's against the law so we are stuck with the nightmare filters Iv had a lot of success with the cleaner I use and not really had any problems since using but I'm definitely going back to petrol as now it will work out a lot cheeper than diesel

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  12. Interesting read with some valid perspectives. I have mixed views on the main recommendation. While the intentions are good, implementing it may be challenging in practice and have unintended consequences. Appreciate the food for thought though. sound barrier mat


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