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DPF Removal
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Technological progress is a marvelous thing. However, while technology brings many advantages, it can also have its downsides. This is especially true for complex consumer items, and more than ever in respect of today’s cars. For many decades, cars remained relatively straightforward mechanical devices that were quite simple to repair. Of course, that was just as well, as repair was something they needed quite often! Reliability was unusual, rather than expected, and the overall life was fairly short. Whilst most cars today will reach 100,000 miles without any major problems, the majority of cars late in the twentieth century were fir only for the scrap-heap after a few tens of thousands of miles.

As with so many other areas of life, the real change to cars came about as a result of developments in the electronics industry. Most early additions and refinements were purely electro-mechanical and often added simply for driver and passenger ease and comfort, such as central locking systems, electric windows and electric sunroofs. However, the really significant changes were linked to the wholesale development of miniaturised electronics, and specifically the computer chip. For the first time, fully electronic control of various engine functions became a reality. Combined with increasingly tight regulations worldwide for exhaust emissions, and the need for reduced fuel consumption, total electronic engine management systems became the rule, rather than the exception. Today, there are virtually no cars that are not equipped with such systems.

Yet as with all things, the old phrase is very true: progress brings pleasure and pain. Although cars are massively more reliable than they ever were, any problems these days are likely to require expensive and time-consuming repairs. The days of the ‘quick fix’ by the roadside are mostly definitely a thing of the past. Whilst reliability is certainly much better, systems are not always as fool-proof and reliable as might be hoped. This is particularly true of DPF systems.

Standing for ‘diesel particulate filter’, the DPF system is fitted to many modern diesel engines as a relatively straightforward way for manufacturers to ensure vehicles meet standards for exhaust emissions. In fact, they are in a way, not the most effective method, but the easiest for manufacturers. They are, as the name implies, simply a filter that is fitted into the exhaust system of a vehicle and removes larger (almost entirely carbon) particles from the gas. This allows manufacturers to use more basic programming of engine management systems that can be identical for vehicles sold in many different countries and with differing standards of fuels.

However, the DPF system is inherently inefficient and can cause problems. The filter, even when new, causes a reduction in engine efficiency and a resulting increase in fuel consumption. But the major issue occurs when systems have been in use for a while. The filter can quite easily become fairly heavily blocked, which can result in a massive reduction of power, increase to fuel consumption and potentially quite serious engine damage. Most systems can regenerate to a large extent, provided the car is driven quite fast and for some distance on a regular basis. This allows the accumulated carbon to burn off. Of course though, this is not always practical, particularly if a vehicle is used most of the time for town driving.

In this case, many people opt for DPF removal, which, as the name suggests, involves taking the filter element out of the exhausts system. Properly carried out, this can enhance fuel consumption and performance, and does not necessarily involve any increase in vehicle emissions. However, the relevant phrase here is ‘properly carried out’. Doing DPF removal properly does not simply entail removing just the relevant physical components. The vital aspect of the procedure is that the vehicle’s engine management system needs to be carefully and correctly reprogrammed.

Done correctly, DPF removal is relatively straightforward and even if there is no actual problem, will reward a driver with an increase in performance and a decrease in fuel consumption. If you have a warning light on for DPF problems, or even if not, this is something to seriously consider, especially if you drive mostly in town or over short distances.


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