The Importance Of Cleaning Diesel Filters
When was the last time you had your diesel particulate filter (DPF) or diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) cleaned? If the answer is “I don’t know” and your truck is older than a 2007 model, it is time to visit a repair shop. If your diesel engine is newer than 2007, here are a few things you should know to extend your filter life and increase your fuel efficiency.
What Does a Diesel Particulate Filter or Diesel Oxidation Catalyst Do Exactly?
Before we go into detail on why you need to clean your DPF and DOC, we need to discuss how these engine components work together. The DOC protects the DPF. Vapor can interfere with the DPF’s ability to trap and remove particulate matter, so manufacturers route the exhaust through the DOC first, then into the DPF. The DOC forces the exhaust over a honeycomb ceramic structure coated with a catalyst that chemically changes carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide and water. From there, the exhaust gases go through the DPF where it is forced through porous channel walls, trapping and holding the remaining ash and soot.
When Is It Time To Have Your DPF or DOC Cleaned?
A good rule of thumb is to go in for a cleaning about every 200,000 miles or less, depending on your duty style. It is possible to burn off this excess ash and soot on your own using either passive or active regeneration. Passive generation uses the normal exhaust temperatures and nitrogen dioxide to oxidize the build-up, and active regeneration requires much higher temperatures. Even with these different cleaning cycles, it is still important to take your truck to get serviced.
Why Should You Have Your DPF/DOC Cleaned?
When left uncleaned, soot and ash will collect and could damage or destroy your filter. While soot and ash burn off as quickly as it accumulates when driving with a load, it tends to accumulate and stay when idling or driving through slow-moving traffic.
A couple key indicators that prove it is time for a professional cleaning is either a loss in engine performance or an increase in frequency in regeneration cycles. With regular DPF cleanings, you could see:
- Increased fuel efficiency
- Extended filter life
- Higher resale value – if you decide to sell your truck at some point
A dirty filter may not sound like it could cause a lot of damage if left unattended but you’d be surprised at how costly it can be. This makes cleaning a necessary part of maintenance. When you factor in the replacements cost of around $3,000 (if not more), plus the cost of unexpected downtime, neglecting this relatively simple process could greatly affect your bottom line.
If you think your diesel is in need of DPF maintenance, visit our service department now. Our mobile truck service technicians are available to help you around the Upper Midwest.