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Drivers pouring petrol, paint thinner and oven cleaner down blocked DPFs

Petrol, oven cleaner and paint thinner are some of the most bizarre ways fleet managers, garage owners and diesel vehicle owners attempted to resolve blocked diesel particulate filters (DPF) during 2015, according to DPF Clean Team.

The automotive reconditioning expert dived into the call history for its blocked DPF helpline for last year to find some of the most bizarre methods customers have used to try and unblock their DPFs, catalytic converters and silencer units. Other peculiar – and failed – attempts at unblocking DPFs from customers included jet washing the filter, setting fire to the unit and even pouring oven cleaner down the DPF.

As amusing as these methods might seem, such practices are only serving to further damage DPFs, making regeneration impossible, and significantly harming the interior of the filter.

Cameron Bryce, Director at DPF Clean Team, a business that has over 15 years’ experience in the automotive reconditioning industry, explained: “Once a DPF warning light appears on your dashboard, the worst thing you can do is pour any kind of treatment into the filter. Substances such as drain cleaner can remove the interior coating of the filter, stopping future regenerations from working effectively. The result in many of these cases is that the customer has required a complete DPF replacement, which has been more expensive that a professional clean. ”

One of the easiest ways to unblock a blocked DPF is to perform a regeneration of the filter. This can be done by driving the vehicle at a high speed on a motorway for a consistent amount of time. This will cause the DPF to heat up, which burns away the soot and particles that build up in the filter. Setting fire to the filter on the other hand, will remove the filter coating and most likely melt parts of the substrate, restricting flow. Jet washing may remove surface carbon, but DPF Clean Team states that it will not remove any internal carbon or oil contaminants.

Instead, the business is encouraging diesel vehicle owners to seek professional advice as soon as their DPF, catalytic converter or silencer unit becomes blocked, and consider having a professional clean. DPF Clean Team uses ultrasonic technology for a safe and thorough clean of these units, and has a 96% success rate. In addition, a professional clean is almost ten times cheaper than having to pay for a new DPF unit that has been damaged beyond repair through misuse. The business is already working with a number of fleets in the UK to help clean blocked filters, including Leicestershire Metropolitan Police Force, Avis and Europcar.

Cameron Bryce added: “Professional DPF cleaning is a quicker, more accurate, and cost effective solution to unblocking a DPF, catalytic converter or silencer than investing in a new DPF, or risking damage by pouring various substances down it. The process removes all traces of particulate, returning the component back to near new condition. Pouring petrol in the filter, setting it on fire or jet washing it is only going to cause more serious, internal damage and make cleaning and regeneration impossible.”

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