What is DPF Regeneration?


DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) is a device that is used to purify diesel and make it soot-free. It is very helpful in controlling harmful emissions as it traps all the particulate matter in the diesel. It acts as a filter wall on your vehicle’s exhaust system and tangles the solid soot particles when air passes through it. This process continues until it purifies the diesel from its depth. After this, all the waste is removed from the DPF using a DPF solution to prevent blockage. This cleaning will restore the DPF’s health and allow it for further use. 

This article will try to explore DPF regeneration and some of its important aspects. 

What is DPF regeneration?

The process in which the soot burns and turns into ash residue at a high temperature of about 600°C, is known as DPF regeneration. This process is used to renew the DPF filter and make the diesel engine emissions pollution-free. This process doesn’t need to separate DPF from the vehicle for its cleaning.

Types of DPF regeneration

There are three types of DPF regeneration.

  • DPF Active Regeneration 
  • DPF Passive Regeneration 
  • DPF Forced Regeneration 

DPF Active Regeneration 

The active regeneration examines exhaust back pressure by using the filter load limits. The exhaust backpressure increases if the filter is diagnosed with a high soot load. In this type of regeneration, a sudden increase in exhaust temperature makes the filter clean by burning all the soot. 

DPF Passive Regeneration

This type of regeneration is most likely to occur on the highway. It is because the exhaust temperature is higher there. This whole regeneration process is possible due to an oxidizing catalyst converter fixed to the engine. This process needs a temperature higher enough to automatically carry out the soot burning process. In case of the unavailability of this temperature, the timing of this process will change. 

DPF Forced Regeneration

DPF forced regeneration happens when the level of soot increases in the filter to a limit that your vehicle is stopped. It is the time when you need to take your car to the mechanic for proper cleaning that involves the alternation of engine oil and the filter. 

How long does it take for a DPF to regenerate?

The DPF regeneration process continues until all the dirt has burned from the filter. Moreover, the time this process varies in vehicles of different brands. It is said that 20-60 minutes is the approximate time for DPF regeneration. 

So, whenever you feel the performance of your car air conditioner getting lower than usual and your car engine is emitting a pungent smell or changing its sound, it means an active DPF regeneration is going on. It will take some time to normalize things.

Some factors cause DPF regeneration failure and you need to see a mechanic with an unclear question of where the problem is and why your vehicle DPF is not working. Let’s look at some of the factors affecting the working of DPF to clear this ambiguity.

Why is my DPF not regenerating?

Following are the reasons that cause errors in your DPF regeneration. 

  • Short journey
  • Low fuel level
  • Wrong engine oil
  • Turbo failure
  • EGR valve problem

Short journey 

For the DPF regeneration process, the engine is required to reach a specific optimum temperature. This temperature is the basic need of DPF regeneration because it needs a higher level of heat to burn all the soot in the filter. If your journey is too short of reaching the optimum operating temperature, it will cause DPF generation failure. 

Low fuel levels 

The demand for fuel levels varies in different vehicles. The approximate limit of diesel is more than ¼ tank in each car. If the diesel tank does not have enough diesel, the DPF will not regenerate. This fuel will allow your vehicle to continue to move and produce more and more temperature. As discussed above, a higher temperature is required for the engine for this process. 

Wrong engine oil

It is crucial to add engine oil to the fuel tank that enhances your vehicle speed and increases its engine’s temperature to the needed amount. Try to use low Sulphur oil to promote efficiency. Moreover, it’s worth consulting the experts about it. They will recommend the most suitable oil for your engine.

Turbo failure

The poor engine lubricant causes turbo failure and lowers the vehicle’s overall power. It affects the vehicle’s speed and makes it low compared to its original speed. 

EGR valve problem 

Although, EGR valves have a longer lifespan and rarely need replacement. However, the carbon buildup on the EGR valve makes it stick and cause performance issues in your vehicle. In some cases, EGR passages are blocked and need to be replaced. It is also caused due to the production of dense soot. 

Let’s talk about some good checks and advice worth trying to prevent DPF failure. 

  • Check the pressure pipe regularly, clean it or repair it in case of any damage. 
  • Make sure to fill the tank with the correct engine oil. 
  • Check EGR valves if there is any repairing or cleaning required. 
  • Always use the correct additive and check it regularly. 
  • Check if the engine is making enough temperature because a higher temperature is required for DPF regeneration. It’s necessary to take recommended steps in case of lower temperature production.
  • Try to consider these checks if you want to avoid severe issues with DPF regeneration.
  • Now, let’s look at the manual regeneration of DPF and how it is carried out.

How do you manually regenerate a DPF?

The unique innovations introduced a way to regenerate the DPF manually. This method consists of the following steps.

  • The DPF regeneration is interrupted due to the accumulation of highly dense soot: it will prevent your vehicle from further operating and your vehicle can be stopped. At this point, the DPF indicator is turned on by lighting an alarm system attached to the particular vehicle’s instrumental panel. This alarm system alerts the driver to take necessary steps like self-cleaning or some other tricks to move the vehicle.
  • The driver applies stimulation to start the DPF regeneration without taking it to the mechanic. He will work on the brake, accelerate pedal, and check the ignition switch. In some cases, the regeneration process starts here without further effort. 
  • The driver enables the pre-catalyst generator to increase the temperature to a limit. It becomes enough to burn all the soot and particulates from the filter and convert them to ashes. It is said that high Sulphur content in engine oil restricts the DPF regeneration. So, make sure the fuel you’re using has lower Sulphur levels in it.
  • Every vehicle with DPF always contains a pressure sensor detector that detects if the exhaust back pressure is appropriate or not. If the exhaust back pressure is lower than the needed pressure, the light on the instrument panel stops, and it will manually prevent the DPF from generating. 

Let’s explore some diagnosis sequences that will inform you when manual DPF regeneration is required. 

Modern vehicles usually have light warning sequences. However, you must review your vehicle handbook to get accurate knowledge about its diagnosis sequences to prevent any problems in future. Consider the following steps while diagnosis:

  • If the DPF light comes on, it indicates that regeneration is required.
  • Once more, read the manual for instructions. For example, you may be asked to drive for 20 minutes at a regular speed of 65mph. It will enable the regeneration process. 
  • If the DPF isn’t regenerated at this level and fills to over 90% or 45g, the DPF will require repairing. The guarantee will not cover its cost. You have to get it repaired yourself.
  • The forced regeneration is required if the limp home mode is turned on automatically and the DPF excessively begins to load condense soot. In limp home mode, the warning light turned on with the excessive loss of power. 

Final Words

Today, many diesel vehicles come equipped with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter). These filters are beneficial in making the gasless toxic when it emits from your vehicle’s exhaust. Nowadays, it’s becoming crucial to create awareness about the importance of periodic cleaning of the filter to prevent pollution in the environment. 

Manual regeneration is needed in DPF equipped vehicles. This manual regeneration is a better alternative because it generates regeneration automatically. Specific service tools are available for modern diesel engines for DPF regeneration. If you’ve DPF equipped vehicle, it will be better to consider all the preventive measures to ensure your vehicle efficiency and avoid further issues,

This article attempts to provide a complete guide about DPF regeneration. It’s worth using DPF equipped vehicles to ensure a pollution-free environment as cars are one of the major reasons for all the pollution in our surroundings.

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