Cars
Fact-checked

At WikiMotors, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is a Diesel Particulate Filter?

A Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) is a device designed to capture and store exhaust soot from diesel engines, reducing harmful emissions. It plays a crucial role in protecting the environment and public health. Periodically, the DPF must regenerate to maintain efficiency. Wondering how this regeneration process works and why it's vital for your diesel vehicle's performance? Let's explore the mechanics behind it.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A diesel particulate filter is a device used to filter out harmful substances in diesel exhaust before venting the exhaust to the environment. Such devices can be fitted on trucks, buses, and other vehicles along with stationary diesel engines to comply with air quality mandates or to address more general concerns about air quality. Use of such filters is not mandated by law in most regions, but often, air quality standards necessitate their use, as it may be impossible to run a diesel engine cleanly enough to meet standards without using a filter.

On an engine equipped with a diesel particulate filter, exhaust gases are passed through the filter before being vented. The filter traps particulates like soot along with unburned hydrocarbons and gases like nitrogen oxides. Filter efficiency varies, depending on design, but can be very high in some filters, making an engine burn much more cleanly and reducing the overall amount of pollution in the air, especially when filters are used on entire fleets of engines and vehicles, like municipal buses.

Some diesel vehicles feature a diesel particulate filter.
Some diesel vehicles feature a diesel particulate filter.

Sometimes, a diesel particulate filter is designed to simply be replaced when it clogs, as will happen over time with the deposition of layers of trapped particulates. Other filters are self cleaning, using tools like a catalyst or incineration of the components to break them down into less harmful byproducts. Other diesel particulate filters must be cleaned by the operator, requiring periodic removal and servicing.

Inhaling diesel exhaust fumes may cause breathing difficulties.
Inhaling diesel exhaust fumes may cause breathing difficulties.

Companies that design diesel engines also develop diesel particulate filter products designed to work with their engines and associated components. It is also possible to purchase third party products for diesel exhaust filtration although using such products may void an equipment warranty, and it is important to select products designed to work safely and effectively with a given piece of equipment. Installation and maintenance can be performed by technicians or the operator, depending on the level of complexity involved and the operator's comfort level with mechanical work.

The diesel particulate filter is one among a range of products designed to address concerns about engine emissions. Designing engines to burn more cleanly involves a cooperative effort from a number of different perspectives to address different sources of pollution. Even the best designs cannot compensate for poor maintenance and it is critical to maintain diesel engines as recommended to keep them as safe and efficient as possible. For engines used in commercial applications, maintenance logs may be required for health and safety reasons.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Some diesel vehicles feature a diesel particulate filter.
      By: Anna Lurye
      Some diesel vehicles feature a diesel particulate filter.
    • Inhaling diesel exhaust fumes may cause breathing difficulties.
      By: jovannig
      Inhaling diesel exhaust fumes may cause breathing difficulties.