Everything You Need to Know About Autos

Why You Shouldn't Ignore a Specific Filter in Your Diesel-Engined Car

Are you one of the many motorists who have opted to get a diesel-engined car? Usually, it's a straightforward choice between petrol and diesel (even though hybrid and electric cars are now starting to come into the equation), but you need to be thinking about your driving habits before you make the choice. Why is the type of driving you do important when you're thinking about diesel, and what can happen if you make the "wrong" choice?

Watching Out for the Filter

Many people rely on their car to get them back and forth to work, and sometimes this is not a particularly lengthy commute or one that takes them onto any highways. In other words, they typically use the car in an urban environment. In a diesel-engined vehicl,e this can lead to problems with a particular component known as a diesel particulate filter.

This filter is installed within the exhaust system of all new diesel-powered cars, primarily so that the vehicle will pass tough emissions legislation set down by the government. The filter's job is to trap particles that are created in the combustion process so that they don't get pumped into the atmosphere in the form of smoke.

How the System Works

This is part of quite a sophisticated system, as something has to be done with the particles that would otherwise accumulate within the filter. To ensure that the filter does not get clogged with an increasing amount of soot, the vehicle is designed to heat the leftover residue up so that it turns into ash, which can be expelled. However, this will typically only happen when the vehicle is travelling at highway speed. This is known as "regeneration."

Ignoring the Warning Signs

If you only use your vehicle in urban environments, stopping and starting frequently and only completing short journeys, then the regeneration process may not work properly. When this happens, the vehicle's filter will become congested, and this will typically trigger a special light on the dashboard. Many people tend to ignore this, as everything seems to be working properly, but if you do so, then the filter will become increasingly congested, and your car will eventually break down.

Preventing Problems

It's not a good idea to let this happen, as a replacement filter is extremely expensive. If you do happen to see that warning lamp, you should immediately schedule a trip on the nearest motorway so that the regeneration process can run its course.

What to Do Next

If you feel that you need any further advice about this filter, or if you know that it's time for a complete service anyway, get in touch with your local diesel service mechanic as soon as possible.