Choosing the Right Diesel Particulate Filter for Your Heavy-Duty Truck

Choosing the right diesel particulate filter (DPF) for your heavy-duty truck is imperative. It removes soot created by gas exhaust, drastically reducing harmful emissions. Below, our mechanics share their expertise regarding diesel particulate filters.

Determine if You Need a New Filter or Not

Diesel particulate filters only have a finite capacity — meaning the trapped soot will need to be periodically “burned off” or emptied to regenerate the DPF. Before you order yourself a new filter, let our mechanics take a look and determine if the problem can be resolved another way. Sometimes, regeneration of the DPF halts because of underlying issues. This could be a problem with your glow plugs, thermostat, lambda sensor, the DPF sensor itself, or a number of other causes. It may turn out that you don’t need a replacement at all!

image of macro view dpf

Preventing Diesel Particulate Filter Issues

The best diesel particulate filter is the one you already have. By taking proper precautions, your filter should last you many, many years. There are two ways that diesel particulate filters can regenerate: passive and active. Passive generation happens automatically when your RPM gets high enough, usually when traveling fast. To make sure the regeneration process has enough time to clear the soot, we recommend traveling over 40mph for at least 15 minutes each time you use your truck.

If your DPF is not regenerated passively, your truck’s computer system will detect a dirty filter. Then, it raises the temperature of the exhaust for 10-15 minutes to automatically clean itself. However, if this process is interrupted too many times, the DPF warning light may come on. If this happens, avoid short trips and stop-and-go traffic until the problem is resolved. Take a detour on a high speed motorway for at least 15 minutes to allow the regeneration process to complete.

Ignoring your DPF light can have catastrophic consequences, so be sure to address the problem right away. If, after these steps, you still cannot get your DPF to clear: do not hesitate to reach out to the trusted team at M&L for high-quality truck service!

Refer to Your Owner’s Manual

In the event a replacement is necessary, diesel particulate filters are something you will not want to purchase aftermarket. It’s crucial that you follow the guidelines your OEM (Original Engine Manufacturer) has laid out regarding this important part. DPFs are not interchangeable, so you will need to find the one exactly right for your make and model. If you’ve misplaced your owner’s manual, a quick Google search may provide you with the answer you seek. Or, give us a call and we can take care of everything for you!

By taking the time to get to know what a diesel particulate filter does and how to maintain it, you shouldn’t have many troubles with this truck part. However, when it is time for a new DPF, our team is happy to call your OEM and/or do the research for you. We also replace the part and test to make sure the light is off and the system is working properly. Go ahead — hit the easy button!

Meet M&L Heavy-Duty Truck Mechanic, Travis Tilghman
Meet M&L Heavy-Duty Truck Mechanic, Travis Tilghman

Travis Tilghman has been a mechanic at M&L for 4 years, specializing in light-duty vehicles and small engine repairs. His first car was a Dodge Mini Van and his favorite tool is the hydraulic press.