How The Lockdown Will Affect Diesel Cars – DPFs At Risk Of Failure

To beat the spread of Coronavirus government advice is to stay at home and only undertake journeys when absolutely necessary. However, if you have a diesel-engined car you may run into an issue with the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) during the current lockdown if you are using your car for short journeys.

How Does A DPF Work?

The DPF is part of the emissions control system on most Diesel cars and controls soot from passing into the atmosphere, making your Diesel more eco-friendly. As you drive the DPF stacks up with soot which it needs to burn off in order to ‘regenerate’ the system.

The easiest way to describe it is to consider this filter canister like a fireplace. You pile wood into it and when it gets near the top, you burn it. Well, in a similar vein, your DPF stacks up with the soot particles, but then needs to burn them out.

However, this can only occur under certain conditions. The amount collected has to be over a certain %, your engine has to be at optimum temperature and it needs to be over a certain speed for a sustained period of time.

Unfortunately, using your vehicle for short journeys prevents proper regeneration of the system. The regeneration criteria will simply not be met and the DPF will become too full and get blocked.

How Do I Know If I Have A DPF Issue?

If you have been driving short distances and not had the opportunity to give your diesel-engined car a good run, you are highly likely to see a DPF warning sign on your dashboard (see below), or something similar to it. It’s advising you that it has become blocked, and that urgent attention is needed.

DPF by BomSymbols
How Can You Fix DPF Issues?

Normally, a quick blast on the motorway can help to clear the DPF, but as government advice is to stay at home you cannot go for a jolly up the motorway to clear the system right now. It simply isn’t going to be accepted as a valid excuse for a trip out by Her Majesty’s finest boys in blue.

However, CickMechanic has a solution that can be carried out AT YOUR HOME. You don’t even need to leave your front door. It is called a ‘Forced Regeneration’ and is completed through the diagnostics system on your car by a trained mechanic with the specific equipment required to do it.

If you think you have a problem with your DPF, then book a FREE phone consultation  with one of our experienced in-house mechanics who can talk you through it in layman’s terms. Alternatively, you can use our new contact-free service to place a booking.

If you have friends with Diesel cars, please forward this onto them as the longer this lockdown goes on, the more likely DPF failures will occur.

Catalytic converter theft and how to prevent it

Your catalytic converter, the part in your exhaust system which turns toxic emissions into less harmful substances, contains this precious metal palladium. With the rising prices for valuable metals like this one, the numbers for catalytic converter theft are also currently rising. Here are some tips on how to prevent and slow down thieves dismantling your car:

Prevent catalytic converter theft by:

  • Parking closer to walls, other vehicles or close to the kerb, to make climbing under your car more difficult.
  • Marking the catalytic converter with an engraved serial number can allow easier tracing as well making it harder to sell.
  • Welding the bolts if the converter is bolted on. This does not stop thieves but makes it harder to remove the converter using only a spanner. The downside to consider is that it not only makes it harder for thieves but also mechanics when they are working on your exhaust system.
  • Get a protective cover fitted to make it more difficult for thieves to remove the converter.
  • Get a catalytic converter alarm that is set off when the catalytic converter is tempered with.
  • Increased security measures, e.g. if possible park in a lockable garage, fencing, park in well-lit areas or CCTV.

What to do if the catalytic converter has been stolen?

In the case when your catalytic converter has been stolen, additional damage might have been caused to the exhaust system. As the converter is removed by force, the act of removal can have damaged surrounding parts as well. This means that you will need to have a mechanic take a thorough look at the exhaust system to determine the extent if other parts of the system have to be replaced as well.

In these cases, our in-house mechanics can help advise you to get your vehicle fixed.

Book your car repair now

Happy driving!

What Is An Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve?

The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system is designed to reduce harmful nitrogen oxides in the emissions. Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) is an irritant that can cause lung damage if people are exposed to it for long periods of time. The EGR valve recycles some of the exhaust gases back into the engine. The gases reduce the temperature in the engine, so less harmful gases are produced. Most cars require the EGR system to meet emission standards, although some engines are now designed not to need them at all.

What happens when the EGR valve fails?

With exhaust gasses constantly flowing through it, you can imagine the EGR valve isn’t too pretty. Eventually, it sticks and clogs with all of the soot from the exhaust leaving the valve open or closed. A check engine light should be illuminated for either case.

An EGR valve that is open continuously will have a constant flow of gases into the engine, meaning the car will idle rough and stall. You will also notice the MPG comes down and more fuel in the emissions, which you can smell. The lower temperatures will also fail your emissions test in an MOT.

A constantly closed EGR valve may cause the fuel to ignite early, as the temperature is higher. This means you’ll hear pinging at low RPM, then loud bangs as you rev your engine. The bangs will leave you with some extensive engine repairs that are very costly so don’t ignore them. It will also fail your MOT, with the high NOx emissions.

To prevent this to happen, have your EGR valved checked and replaced before your next MOT.

Happy driving!

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