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Particulate Filter Regeneration: Everything you need to know

By Roel Klein - 13 Feb 2023

As the owner of a modern diesel car, it is important to know how to regenerate your particulate filter. The particulate filter is an important part of the exhaust system and is designed to remove harmful particles in the exhaust, with the goal of improving air quality. Unfortunately, these filters can become clogged with soot and other contaminants, leading to loss of performance and a warning light on the dashboard. Fortunately, regenerating the particulate filter can often be done yourself or you can have a professional do it. Please note that the procedure varies greatly by make and model, it is often important to have a solid basic knowledge of how a car and its exhaust system works.

DPF regeneration

A diesel particulate filter is also known as a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter). Regenerating the DPF is necessary to prevent the filter from clogging and preventing the vehicle from performing properly. Once the particulate filter warning light comes on, you need to take action as soon as possible. This could be regenerating the particulate filter yourself, having it done, or even replacing the entire particulate filter. This depends on the problem, therefore properly diagnosing the particulate filter system is important before starting the regeneration procedure.

Particulate filter light on

If the particulate filter warning light is on, it often means that there is a clog in the particulate filter and it is time to regenerate. After you've checked for yourself if this is actually the case, you can possibly start working on it yourself. It is important to know that ignoring the warning light can lead to serious problems with your exhaust system and the vehicle in general, especially the engine. Therefore, it is important to take quick action when you see the light come on.

Starting particulate filter regeneration

There are several ways to start particulate filter regeneration, depending on the type of vehicle and the type of particulate filter. Many modern vehicles regenerate automatically when the vehicle is traveling at high speed, but some vehicles can start regeneration manually using the buttons on the dashboard or by using a special software program or OBD2 device. Here are some general steps you can follow:

  • Drive the car warm: Soot filters must warm up to regenerate effectively, so it is important to get the vehicle warm before you begin regeneration.
  • Activate regeneration: The regeneration of the particulate filter is often activated by the vehicle, but as indicated, you can sometimes do this with a button or menu option in the vehicle. When this is not the case, you can use an OBD2 device or special software.
  • Drive at high speed: During regeneration, you often need to drive the vehicle at a higher speed so that the combustion processes in the exhaust heat up further and burn the soot.
  • Check the status: Monitor the status of the particulate filter during regeneration. Some vehicles have sensors that display the status and warn when regeneration is complete.

Particulate filter regeneration with OBD2

As indicated, it is also possible to regenerate a particulate filter with an OBD2 device. OBD2 devices are specific scanning tools specifically designed to communicate with your vehicle's onboard diagnostics system. This means that you can regenerate your particulate filter by using the software on the OBD2 device. In addition, the OBD2 device also allows you to diagnose and resolve other error codes in your vehicle, keeping your vehicle in top condition. Please note that not all OBD2 devices can regenerate the particulate filter. Want to know which devices can regenerate your particulate filter? Then check out our "soot filter regeneration" page.

How long does particulate filter regeneration take?

Regenerating the particulate filter usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes. Keep in mind that the time it takes to regenerate the particulate filter depends on the type of vehicle and the degree of clogging. Some vehicles can be regenerated in just a few minutes, while others require more time. It is also important to note that when regenerating the particulate filter, often your vehicle must be driven at high speeds to complete the regeneration.

Particulate filter regeneration BMW

Specifically about BMW regeneration, we get a lot of questions. BMW vehicles are equipped with modern particulate filters that automatically regenerate when the vehicle is traveling at high speeds. However, if you experience problems with regenerating the particulate filter, you choose to use one of our devices or contact the BMW dealer for assistance. They can help you properly regenerate the particulate filter and resolve any error codes that may be interfering with regeneration. Would you like to use a device from us? Can you check out our BMW diagnostic equipment devices.


In this article, we have explained to you how to regenerate your particulate filter. Whether you use an OBD2 device or regenerate the particulate filter manually, it is important to know how to keep your particulate filter in good condition. If you have questions about regenerating your particulate filter, contact your dealer or repair shop for more information. Of course, you can always contact us for equipment advice as well. This way you can keep your car in top condition and improve air quality for the environment, so you can continue to drive carefree.