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  • Writer's pictureAustin Fleet Services


Diesel particulate filter (DPF) maintenance is critical yet continues to plague fleets because of a lack of guidelines on when you should perform service. With the number of variables involved with cleaning intervals and the diversity of a fleet, it’s extremely challenging to forecast. You also look at the fact that DPFs are sealed trash cans, and you have no idea when they’re almost full. This leads to endlessly pumping garbage into it until it can’t take anymore, and you have a problem on your hands.

The solution most fleets are following is to be proactive instead of reactive. Many go the route of increased aftertreatment regeneration; however, this has been seen to compound the problem. It’s intended to burn off soot particles left behind by escaped fuel, these particles begin to stack as black smoke. Alongside soot, ash is the biggest element being trapped by a DPF.

DPF MAINTENANCE: SERVICE OR REPLACE? The words out of many OEMs mouths for years have been your DPF should get you at least 400,000 miles. However, the question is what kind of maintenance was needed to get you that far? It is not really clear no matter who you ask. Some say you should service annually other say it depends on how frequent you are having a high idle time and low exhaust temperatures.

Best-case scenario, it’s ash and not soot that is causing you problems with your DPF. The best way to fix this is to do DPF maintenance by removing the DPF and having it cleaned. This generally involves utilizing a high pressure, high volume “air knife” so any material in the tiny channels within the DPF loosen. Next, you flow-test the filter and see what level of restriction there is. There may be a degree of remaining material that requires the DPF to be exposed to very high temperatures for up to eight hours. This will allow for the residue to be blown out by reducing it to a much finer material. The problem with this traditional approach is that it is only 30-40% effective.

A groundbreaking new approach to DFP servicing is a 4-stage ultrasonic restoration service can remove up to 99.6% of the ash and soot accumulated in your DPF. This allows you to retain your OE filter indefinitely. You receive all the benefits of a brand-new Original Equipment (OE) filter at a fraction of the cost and with a one-year performance guarantee. Fleets have had to learn to restructure the PM if they are looking to reduce the DPF issues. After years of trying and failing on streamlining their preventive maintenance processes, it always comes down to the fact your aftertreatment maintenance isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. DPF canisters should be inspected regularly, cleaning the sensors and any exposed contacts to make sure nothing is stuck or contaminated.


Did you know we can assist with your DPF maintenance?

You can connect with a member of our team to schedule your service with the professionals here at Austin Fleet Services.


NEED TO GET AHEAD OF A DPF BUILDUP? GIVE THESE THOUGHTS A TRY AND SEE IF THEY WORK FOR YOU ON YOUR NEXT DPF MAINTENANCE CHECK. TRY USING BIODIESEL It’s been claimed that burning biodiesel emits less particulate matter than petroleum diesel. In turn, this causes fewer regens to yield and less maintenance on the aftertreatment system. The oxygen in biodiesel can produce 50% less soot than petroleum diesel.

CHECK YOUR ENGINE OIL The latest CK-4 engine oils contain approximately 1% ash by volume where others are boasting as low as 0.4% ash. There is no zinc or phosphorus in the additive which is a cause for ash buildup in your DPFs. The critical piece of this is to avoid cheap, off-brand oil as a replacement or temporary measure. Using low-ash engine oil will reduce your ash build up in the DPF significantly. Premium oil such as Chevron Delo is also known to extend your DPF lifespan.

HEAT UP YOUR ENGINE Diesel engines can pass so much unburned fuel through the exhaust system on a cold start. Before we had DPFs, it used to be huge clouds of smoke. The clouds of smoke are still there but they are now trapped in the DPF. The solution to this is to preheat your engine before starting. Findings have shown that when you warm the engine coolant to 165 degrees before turning the ignition reduced soot by approximately 66% at a 40-degree ambient temperature. At a 70-degree ambient temperature it was reduced by 27%.

DPF maintenance can be a nightmare, time-consuming, and costly. There are processes you can put in place that will allow you to soften the blow. However, the longer you put it off the more problems you will see in the future. Therefore, the experts at Austin Fleet Services offer swift DPF maintenance for all their clients. We can turn around the 4-stage ultrasonic restoration service which can remove up to 99.6% of the ash and soot accumulated in your DPF in one day. Contact us today to get booked for service.

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