The Ins and Outs of DPF and DOC Cleaning

Exhaust from a diesel engine can be harmful to the environment and human health. So, to make the exhaust cleaner, manufacturers started adding an aftertreatment system to their trucks in 2007. This includes a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) and Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).

What Is a DPF Filter, and What Is a DOC?

The purpose of exhaust aftertreatment technology is to prevent harmful diesel particulates and gases from escaping into the environment. Because the exhaust from these engines creates pollution, new emissions standards were set, and the DOC and DPF are two of the tools used to meet those standards. 

The DOC and DPF are filters that work together. First, the exhaust is sent to the DOC, where it is chemically altered. Then, the exhaust gases move through the DPF, which is able to trap and hold any soot and ash that remain. 

As you can see, this system is designed to catch ash and particulates before they’re released, thereby helping to make the exhaust from your vehicle cleaner. But you have to maintain and clean the DOC and DPF. If you don’t, they won’t be able to do their job and your DPF filter could be damaged to the point that you have to spend thousands of dollars to replace it.

DOC Cleaning and DPF Filter Cleaning: A Basic Guide

Keeping your DPF clean can help extend the life of the filter itself, but it can also boost fuel efficiency. And when you’re ready to sell your truck, having a clean and working aftertreatment system may also help you get more money for your vehicle. 

What is the best way to clean a DPF filter? To help you get started, we’ve compiled some information below that covers not only how to clean this filter, but also when to do so to keep your truck running smoothly.

How to Clean DPF Filter

Here’s a frequently asked question: how do you clean the ash out of a DPF filter? Well, one way would be to go to a professional to have them take care of it. That’s easy enough! But, in addition to that, you can use active or passive regeneration on a consistent basis so you can keep things as clean as possible. 

In terms of cleaning methods, some options include pulse, liquid, or thermal cleaning. Leaving it up to experts may be smarter than taking a DIY approach, though, as certain cleaning methods could end up doing more harm than good. For example, while you might find some individuals claiming that you can clean a DPF filter by pressure washing it, this method might also result in damage to the filter itself in the process. And the same holds true when using chemicals to clean the filter yourself. 

A professional who knows how to thoroughly clean a DPF filter will also know how to check everything from the ports and substrate to the flow and weight of the filter. They’ll know how to look for signs of damage before using water and air to remove particulate matter, and they’ll test the filter to be sure it’s back to working as it should.

When to Clean DPF Filters

In addition to inspecting your aftertreatment system on a regular basis to look for problems like leaks, it’s generally a good idea to clean your DPF filter every 200,000 miles or less. 

However, if you start to notice problems like an increase in the frequency of your truck’s regeneration cycles or a decline in your engine’s performance, those are signs that your filter might be in need of a thorough cleaning.

Need to Have Your Peterbilt Truck Serviced?

Whether you need help with your aftertreatment system or any other part of your truck, Peterbilt is here to help. Check out our services, and feel free to schedule your appointment conveniently online whenever you need it. 


Updated on April 21, 2021