WHAT IS A DIESEL PARTICULATE FILTER?
A Diesel Particulate Filter (FAP) is part of the vehicle’s exhaust system. It traps “soot” particles created during the normal operation of the diesel engine. These are the particles which used to be visible from the exhaust pipes of older diesel vehicles as “black smoke”.
WHY IS A DIESEL PARTICULATE FILTER FITTED?
In order to meet European emission legislation, it is necessary for all vehicle manufacturers to fit a filter that cleans up the exhaust gasses leaving the engine.
HOW DOES A DIESEL PARTICULATE FILTER OPERATE?
The filter is made up of a ceramic core which the exhaust gasses are forced through by the temperature and pressure created as they leave the engine. The “soot” particles are trapped in the filter until a predetermined level is reached. At this point the filter will clean itself by a process called regeneration, which increases the temperature inside the filter and incinerates any trapped soot particles inside the filter.
DOES HOW I DRIVE AFFECT THE PROCESS?
In order to complete the regeneration process the temperature of the Diesel Particulate Filter needs to be increased and maintained. When driving on A-roads and dual carriageways, the temperature and pressure of the exhaust gases is sufficient to complete the process without any assistance. If, however, the vehicle is operated in an urban environment, with frequent stopping and starting of the engine and long periods at idle, the temperature and pressure of the exhaust gases is considerably reduced. In this situation, the filter might not regenerate without assistance from the driver. If this situation occurs the driver is informed by the illumination of a warning lamp and a message in the vehicle’s information screen.