How To Avoid DPF Problems

By on 12 October 2020 / Leave a comment Updated on: 3rd February 2021

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) issues are becoming more and more common every year. In fact, nearly all diesel vehicles currently on UK roads come fitted with a DPF, particularly earlier DPF-equipped vehicles (built circa 2010-2015) are commonly starting to see problems. Soot build-up is inevitable and as cars age the problems will only worsen, aged and damaged filters cannot function efficiently to clear blockages and build-ups without intervention.

Garage services commonly associated with fixing DPF-related issues tend to be very expensive and could leave you without your car for multiple days. Check out some of these alternatives to keep your diesel vehicle running at it’s best and keep annoying issues at bay.

The Best Options to Prevent DPF Issues Arising

DPF Cleaning Additive

Undoubtedly the most commonly used method of cleaning and preventing DPF issues is to use an additive solution and for good reason. These products are well regarded by thousands of customers and have regularly proven to solve blocked filters whilst also helping prevent further particle build ups down the road.

These additives mix with your fuel to reduce soot produced in combustion and allow the DPF to be cleared of blockages in regular driving scenarios. These formulas are often complex and feature a whole host of possible benefits, though some question whether these additives really work.

There are hundreds of products out there, but make sure you buy one from a reputable brand with excellent customer feedback. To make it easier we’ve pulled together five of the best DPF cleaners from around the industry to get you started.

Regular High-Load Driving

DPF’s in most vehicles actually have an active regeneration state, whereby they can remove soot particles and essentially clear themselves to function properly once again. This will usually require the car to be taken to higher temperatures than are created during short trips and town/ city driving scenarios.

To achieve this cleaning affect, it is advised to drive your vehicle at 50mph+ for a period of at least 10-15 miles, such as on the motorway. This will get your exhaust and DPF up to full temperature and allow for the regeneration to take place. The process should help prevent issues occurring as regularly, though this solution may be less helpful for vehicles already experiencing issues, heavy blockages are not easy for the vehicle to shift without external intervention.

Maintaining and Servicing Your Vehicle

Maintaining your vehicle and keeping to the manufacturers recommended service intervals is always important to maintain reliability and uphold your cars value. What you may not realise is that keeping your engine running at its best will also reduce the likelihood of DPF issues rearing their ugly head.

Keeping your engine functioning at maximum efficiency (regular oil changes, replacing spark plugs etc…) will minimise soot and carbon particles emitted from the exhaust. Less emitted particles, means less chance of a blockage, also giving your vehicle the best chance of clearing the DPF itself using the motorway driving techniques mentioned above.

Servicing your vehicle is about more than just stamps in the book. A car that you look after well is likely to look after you in return. Again though, this is a method that only works as a preventative measure, taking your car in for a regular service is highly unlikely to solve DPF issues already present, look to garage services or additives in that case.

Using Good Quality Fuel

Our final recommendation is to use high quality fuel in your diesel vehicle. This, like maintaining your vehicle will keep it running at it’s best, minimising the chances of problems occurring and giving you a better experience as a result.

We recommend always sticking with well-known fuel stations, names that you recognise and see nationwide. It may also be worth investing the extra few pounds on some premium diesel fuel, though not available at every fuel station premium fuels generally have a better combustion and produce less soot emissions as a result. The extra few pounds per fill could save you expensive DPF bills in the future as well as giving increases in performance and fuel economy.


Unfortunately, many of the methods here won’t turn your fortunes around if you’re already experiencing issues. In that case it is likely best to turn to DPF additive cleaners. Regular motorway driving, sticking to the service schedule and using high-quality fuels however may just prevent problems from starting or reoccurring in your ownership. Driving your car as it was intended and treating it with the respect it deserves will always pay dividends and lead to a more reliable and trustworthy vehicle.

Some of you may have noticed at this stage that there is no mention in this article of DPF removal. This was popular here in the UK for a few years but is actually illegal, could land you with a fine and will definitely lead to an MOT failure. Therefore, if the DPF is already causing issues take it down to the garage or get some cleaning additive in that tank. Warning lights and poor running may scare you at first but remember that it doesn’t always take huge investment to get your car back to its best once again.

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Jack Gill

Car journalist and fully qualified mechanical engineer, Czok’s newest contributor and long-time automotive writer. Lifetime passion for all things automotive, from new supercars to rusty old hatchbacks. If I’m not behind the wheel, I’m likely under the bonnet or browsing the classifieds. Having spent over 5 years in the automotive industry and under the bonnet of my own car at home, I want to share the knowledge and learning that I have gained, with others without the time to study or the expertise, who just want their car to get them from A to B every day. We aren’t all interested in trawling through endless internet pages and forums. I aim to gather all the information up and roll it into a quick summarised format, to give only the information you really need.

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