As with most things in life, there are two sides on the DPF removal debate table.
For some, Diesel Particle Filters (DPFs) are key to keeping our diesel vehicles’ emissions under control; thus, they claim they should not be removed from the vehicles by any means. For the purpose of this post, we will call this group the “environmentalists”.
Undoubtedly, DPF filters help reduce the particle matter that escape through the exhaust gasses of diesel vehicles. That is their major function, they trap the particle matter or soot from the exhaust gasses, only letting the gasses flow. Some studies have concluded that the soot emissions can be reduced by up to 80% using DPF filters.
However, a second group of users, which we will call the “sceptics”, argue that the process of removing the accumulated soot from the filters – called regeneration – can indeed cause even worse harm than not having any filter at all. Incredible as it may seem, this group claims that by burning the accumulated soot during the regeneration process, the resulting particles are much more hazardous for human health than the original particle matter. That’s because the emitted particles after the regeneration process are tiny comparing to the original ones (20nm Vs 100nm). Some health studies have concluded that these smaller particles can penetrate deeper into the human body and that the effects on the long-term health should be revaluated.
For the uninitiated, the active regeneration cycle is a process that takes place every 300 miles approximately where high heat is introduced into the exhaust system in order to burn the accumulated soot. As this process can take up to 10 minutes to complete, city drivers that don’t do a lot of miles can find difficulties to finish the regeneration process in full. Hence, soot can build up in the DPF, blocking it and potentially causing severe damage to other engine components.
In these cases, there are two possible alternatives: sometimes driving the car at high speeds in the motorway can trigger an active regeneration process; but if this doesn’t work, the other alternative is taking the car to the garage for a forced regeneration or, if not possible, a filter replacement. The cost for the latter alternative can be of up to £1,000, so it is not a cheap option. Obviously, the “sceptics” also put this argument over the debate table, as cleaning the DPF filter can result in an expensive invoice for the customer.
Last, we must mention the legal consequences of having the DPF removed. Since 2014 it is illegal to have the Diesel Particle Filter removed from a vehicle in the UK, when the vehicle was fitted with the system in the first place. So, even if a removed DPF system would be very difficult to be spotted during a MOT inspection if the user just removes the internal filter and the vehicle still complies with the emissions regulations, DPF removal service must only be used under the customer’s responsibility.
Please bear in mind that in many other countries, outside the European Union, it is completely legal to have the DPF filter disabled. And that it will bring several advantages to the user, such as a better fuel economy, an increased power, a sharper response, a better overall performance and a longer engine life expectancy.