It can be frustrating and dangerous when your car loses power whilst driving. But for a vehicle to run efficiently, it has to regulate the correct flow of fuel, air, and compression. Once any of these processes has been compromised, you will experience a significant loss of horsepower. Of course, there are various reasons why power loss can occur, with dilapidated spark plugs, a defective fuel pump, or a damaged ignition coil being just a few examples. However, it is also possible that a clogged diesel particulate filter is responsible for slowing down your journeys.
How Blocked DPF Causes Power Loss
If you’re driving a diesel car, then your vehicle will most likely have a DPF. This filter’s role is to remove exhaust pollutant particles or diesel particulate matter from the engine. However, just like any other type of filter, a DPF has a finite capacity. Once it gets clogged up, you will notice your car switching to ‘limp home mode’. This happens because your car is working to prevent any further damage that may happen to the engine.
Moreover, it keeps you from potentially over-fuelling. If you notice your vehicle switching into this mode, you should only drive it for a few miles and take it to our service centre as soon as possible. Ideally, you should get a DPF service every 50,000 km for maintenance.
What Causes a Blocked DPF?
Various factors can cause a blocked DPF, including the following:
It is not uncommon for car manufacturers to specify a low Ash/SAPS oil. Low SAPS oils supposedly produce low levels of sulphated ash—a by-product of diesel combustion. It’s worth noting that high levels of sulphated ash can also prematurely clog the DPF mesh filter. Now, as you increase the mileage and age of your engine, its efficiency will start to decrease. As such, we advise that you change your oil more often than what your engine manufacturer recommends. This way, you can keep the diluted carbon levels down.
Malfunctioning EGR Valves
Exhaust Gas Return (EGR) valves recirculate waste exhaust gases back into the diesel engine to lower nasty emissions. They are responsible for lowering your car’s nitrous oxide emissions. However, when they become faulty, they can cause a host of issues. When EGR valves deprive the cylinder of oxygen, the engine generates higher levels of diesel particulates. So, with faulty EGR valves, your DPF becomes prematurely clogged.
Failing Fuel Injectors
Before, only a few discussed failing fuel injectors as the cause of a blocked DPF. However, it is more common for mechanics to find faulty fuel injectors along with a clogged DPF. Once the fuel injector malfunctions, it feeds too much fuel into the delicate fuel/air mixture. Consequently, the engine runs rich, excessively generating soot that may block the DPF faster.
If you’re driving a modern diesel engine, you should be wary of a faulty turbocharger. Once a VGT operates incorrectly, it can also affect the air/fuel mixture in the engine. In this case, the engine will generate more black soot than usual. Moreover, a faulty turbocharger can leak high levels of oil into the system, which may drown the DPF.
Leaking or Malfunctioning EGR Cooler
Remember that your vehicle’s cooling system must be a closed loop; there shouldn’t be any room for coolant loss. So, if you notice the coolant light illuminating on your dashboard, it’s time for you to check where the liquid is going. If you don’t see any leaks, then your EGR cooler may be leaking internally. When this happens, the cooler pushes the coolant into the exhaust system. Of course, this can damage the turbo and block the DPF with coolant. Often, diesel car owners complain of constant regeneration cycles on their engine. Keep in mind that this causes significant damage to the after-treatment system. Meanwhile, coolant loss in the engine can also be the result of a cracked or bad head gasket.
Idling Excessively or Taking Short Journeys
When you use your car mostly for the city, the start-stop driving nature is unavoidable. Unfortunately, this is also one of the primary reasons why many people experience DPF clogging issues. Moreover, when you’re taking short journeys and driving at low speeds, you’re not setting the conditions necessary for an active or passive DPF regeneration. The truth is, diesel engines are not designed for long idle times. In this situation, carbon builds up in the EGR valve and the DPF.
Get Your DPF Service from the Trusted Perth Mechanics!
As we’ve mentioned, you should get a DPF service every 50,000km. If you want to avoid costly repairs and expensive DPF replacement, bring your diesel car to German Auto Meisters. We employ the finest mechanics in Perth and use premium equipment for performing proper DPF cleaning. We ensure that we will address the blockage efficiently and promptly.
To schedule a routine DPF cleaning and maintenance, contact German Auto Meisters today!