Cars with diesel engines are equipped with a particulate filter. A particulate filter stops soot that is carried along by the exhaust gases. Nowadays, every diesel car is equipped with a particulate filter, due to strict environmental requirements. A soot filter is also often referred to as DPF (diesel particulate filter). The combustion process of the engine produces soot particles, which are the result of incomplete combustion. Soot is small particles of carbon to which harmful substances such as hydrocarbons, sulfur and metal oxides adhere. When an incorrect combustion process takes place, due to a lack of oxygen, or due to a mixture that is too rich, soot emissions will increase. A diesel particulate filter ensures that the particles of exhaust gases that flow through the filter's entry channels are retained. When this process has repeated itself long enough, the diesel particulate filter can become clogged. By starting a regeneration process, the accumulated soot particles will be burned. All DPF diagnostic tools can be found below.
Why regenerate a particulate filter
Regenerating a diesel particulate filter is necessary when it is (almost) full. There are roughly two types of particulate filters: self-generating particulate filters, or particulate filters where a regeneration must be started manually. In a regeneration process, soot particles are burned and the particles are converted into harmless substances. Regeneration should be done regularly to prevent a a blocked diesel particulate filter.
The car's engine management system is programmed to automatically and periodically clean the DPF while driving, when the engine is at operating temperature and when there is sufficient time to complete the cleaning process. The regeneration process will be successfully completed for many motorway kilometers, but for shorter distances this process can be terminated prematurely. This can lead to a blocked DPF. A manual regeneration is necessary to burn the particulate filter empty.
Reset diesel particulate filter with a diagnostic tool
Resetting a particulate filter with a diagnostic tool is necessary when the particulate filter is blocked. With a OBD device with DPF reset function, a regeneration process can be started manually to burn the DPF clean. When a regeneration is forced to start, the temperature is raised above 600 degrees. To realize afterburning of soot particles, a temperature of at least 600 degrees is required. Special particulate filter diagnostic equipment is required to manually start an afterburning process. The suitable equipment for resetting the particulate filter can be found on this page.