The lucky particulate filter and problems Is there a solution?

Modern diesel engines are required to mount a filter particles, a pollution control system being a source of problems for many users and manufacturers. Let's see what is and what is the particulate filter when the problems and possible solutions derived from these incidents arise.

In recent times it has grown a plague among engined cars diesel, a headache unexpected not only for users but also for manufacturers. It is incidents arising from particulate filter incorporating mechanical diesel to meet Euro V antipollution regulations and the forthcoming Euro VI.

There are few drivers who have had to take their new car to the shop several times due to problems with the happy filter. In addition to the hassle of having to go to the shop and stay without a car for the duration of the review, customers also suffer a great disappointment to see that your brand new car every now fails.


As said earlier, most of today's diesel engines incorporate a active particulate filter, also known as FAP or DPF, for its acronym in French or English. This is a pollution control system which allows to burn the soot particles generated during some stages of combustion, reducing the level of pollutant particles that are expelled through the exhaust.

"Let's see what the particulate filter, why and how we can fix it fail."

He explained in a simple way, what happens is that these solid particles are retained in the porous walls of the filter and they are eliminated from time to time in what is called "regeneration phase". In this phase the filter temperature is raised to incinerate the soot and clean the system. This regeneration cycle is performed more frequently during the first 1,000 km of shooting.


The above process is very beautiful and very simple, working perfectly in the wonderful world of theory. In practice, what happens is that each driver gives a personal and specific use to your car that may not be best suited for the perfect functioning of FAP.

The problems come when the car is used only for urban routes, where it is not possible to reach the minimum temperature required for regeneration. Since the temperature does not rise enough, no soot is combusted causing continue accumulating filter particles without cleaning until it saturated.

Are also problematic short journeys, in which the cleaning cycle can be interrupted to complete because usually needs 10 to 25 minutes (the time depends on several factors). Every time the engine starts, it automatically retries the regeneration and as not enough time to complete the process is repeated over and over again, until the system gives up, it assumes that something is wrong and shows an error message in the instrument cluster.

Therefore, whenever possible we should try to avoid turning off the engine when the regeneration process is being performed. Some models have a witness who indicates being done, others not. If there is no witness will have to resort to our senses and try to perceive idling is usually more noticeable vibration, the engine sound is hoarse, it increases the instantaneous fuel consumption and a slight smell of oil is clear.

If the filter is filled is usually light a witness in the instrument cluster to indicate that the system needs a forced regeneration, which entails an inevitable visit to the specialist. The car can still be used normally, although in some cases the benefits are reduced because the electronic system of the engine enters a emergency mode or breakdown To avoid damaging the filter. Another consequence of the excessive accumulation of soot in the filter is that regeneration cycles are performed more often and each less kilometers, increasing fuel consumption.


For now, manufacturers offer few solutions this recurring problem. In fact, brands usually do not consider it as a "problem car" because it only happens to one part of users, with an incidence derived from the "misuse" of a vehicle with particle filter installed.

In official workshops, what they do is Clean the filter by hand cars that have problems with FAP. Some brands also make a electronic reprogramming of the engine control unit (software updates) so that the new configuration of filter regeneration is better driving habits of the user to customize a solution that sometimes works and sometimes not. As a small consolation, it is normal that this problem between the guarantee and copper nothing to the user, but not always.

Go outside the official workshop, The best practice solution is to occasionally traveled by road to allow the cleaning cycle is completed automatically. No exact rate or time for correct regeneration of FAP, but usually with a distance of more than 30 minutes by road with the engine 2000 to 2500 rpm is usually sufficient.

Lately there have been companies offering additives they promise to extend the life of the particulate filter or achieve more efficient cleaning. Many of them are useless, other (a small portion) can minimize the effects of some particulate accumulation in the filter. So far I do not know any really effective, so is not the most advisable route to address these issues.

Another solution, more drastic but effective, is the annulment of FAP. Some unofficial workshops can empty the filter and reprogram the electronic control unit so that it is not used, so the car would work normally and will not cause problems. The main problem with this method is that, as it can not be done in an official workshop, the guarantee would be lost. Another issue associated comes from the ethical point of view, since using this method the car will pollute more and, basically, it comes to getting the opposite.

You see, the moment the approach is quite uncertain as it is a technology that takes a few years in our cars. Incidents with antiparticles filters are not unique to a manufacturer, All manufacturers have had and have their problems with the filter of yore as modern diesel engines need to equip it to meet anti-pollution regulations.

Now it have patience and hope that manufacturers give the key to put back the car to service the needs of all types of drivers and not the reverse.