Toyota DPF: understanding your diesel particulate filter

Although Toyota’s passenger car range is predominantly focused around petrol-electric hybrid powertrains, the Land Cruiser, Hilux and Proace models are fitted with diesel engines. A diesel particulate filter (DPF) is a feature of these models.

What does a diesel particulate filter do?

The DPF is fitted within the exhaust system and is designed to catch soot particles and nitrous oxide (NOx) from the combustion process that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The DPF is highly effective and traps around 80% of these harmful particulates.

Why do modern diesel engines need a particulate filter?

European legislation places strict exhaust emissions targets on all vehicle manufacturers. From September 2009, the Euro 5 legislative standard came into effect, part of which required all diesel cars registered from that point on to be equipped with a diesel particulate filter, or DPF.

These filters are used throughout the industry in all diesel-powered passenger vehicles, and their efficiency is vital now that increasingly stringent Euro 6 emissions standards are in force.

Do I need to replace a diesel particulate filter during normal servicing?

Diesel particulate filters do have a capacity limit and can become full. But unlike traditional air, oil or pollen filters that need to be exchanged manually at regular intervals, the DPF has a much longer service life and is designed to regenerate to restore its performance.

The car’s electronic control unit (ECU) is programmed to do this automatically, neutralising the soot by burning it off at high temperature within the exhaust system while the vehicle is running. All modern cars with diesel engines follow this procedure.

How does this regeneration occur?

The regeneration occurs automatically, usually without the driver being aware that it is taking place. In the majority of cases, the process is carried out when the engine and exhaust system has reached normal operating temperature and the vehicle is travelling at over 40mph.

However, if your driving is limited to urban areas, the low speeds and frequent stops mean the conditions for normal regeneration do not exist. In these instances, the ECU monitors the accumulation of soot and instructs an alternative regeneration programme to begin well before the filter becomes saturated.

This programme injects small quantities of fuel into the engine after combustion, which increases the temperature within the exhaust system and creates an environment where it is possible to safely burn off the soot.

This method is very successful within the small percentage of vehicles where normal regeneration is not possible. However, due to the nature of city traffic, the regeneration process can be interrupted when the vehicle completes its short journey and is turned off. If this occurs, the ECU is programmed to recommence the process when the engine is restarted and back up to temperature again.

How can I ensure that the DPF regeneration process completes successfully?

By creating frequent opportunities for the ECU to complete its normal regeneration programme. Quite simply, this means regularly driving the car at speeds above 40mph for a period of at least ten minutes.

Will I be warned if all DPF regeneration processes have been unsuccessful?

Very occasionally, use of the vehicle might be such that it will have been impossible for the ECU to complete the administration of any regeneration procedure. At this point, the DPF will have become overloaded and stopped functioning, so the vehicle will illuminate a warning light in the dashboard. It will then be necessary for the soot to be neutralised and the filter regenerated manually at a main dealer.

It is extremely unwise to ignore this visual warning as the DPF can become irreparably damaged. What’s more, it is illegal to remove the filter entirely.

550 comments

  1. I have a toYota hilux 2007 KUN_25 D4D motor. VIN number AHTFR22G306008521. Do I have DPF? Thnksa lot.

    1. Hi Vladi,
      Thanks for your enquiry.
      We are only able to provide information about UK specification vehicles, so we would recommend contacting the Toyota distributor in your region for further help with this.
      Thanks.

  2. have a Toyota Auris 1.4 D4D, even with mixing oil with oil, I sent it for cleaning, but it still causes me the same problem

    1. Hi Ali,
      Thanks for contacting us.
      If you are experiencing issues with your vehicle, we would recommend taking it to a Toyota Centre in your region in order for them to diagnose any potential issues.
      Thanks.

  3. My avensis requires a DPF clean out and is booked in locally at a main dealer. However the DPF warning symbol failed to show the fault, rather the VSC and Auto parking brake lights came on and l had to have it checked out as the brakes were in perfect order.

    1. Hi Colin, we’re sorry to hear that.

      Your local Toyota Centre will be able to take a look at your Avensis in person and advise on this.

      Thanks.

      1. Thanks for replying. Should l avoid using the vehicle until l get the filter cleaned ?

      2. Hi Colin,
        Thanks for your reply.
        Unfortunately we are unable to advise on this as we are not technically trained.
        Thanks.

  4. I have toyota yaris 1.4d4d Registration number CV58VZC VIN NO: VNKJC963X0A203321
    Does it have DPF please?

    1. Hi Safari,
      Thanks for contacting us.
      Our technical team have advised that this vehicle is equipped with 2 oxidation catalytic convertors for exhaust treatment/cleaning.
      There is no Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) installed.
      Thanks.

      1. Thank you very much for replying. Cam you also check if its chain driven or cam belt please?

      2. Hi Safari,
        Thank you for your reply.
        As this vehicle has the 1ND-TV engine, it has a timing chain.
        Thanks.

  5. Hello

    I have a specific question, does my car have a DPF, if doesn’t have and it’s a DPNR, what is the difference, i’m just asking because i had a code about pressure and cleaned with a Dpf cleaner, no problems so far, but when i had that code on the dashboard showing check engine,4×4, and something else, there is no light with a catalityc on the dashboard like the other cars.

    Thank you

      1. Hi Stan,
        Thanks for your comment.
        This vehicle has a 2AD FHV engine which is equipped with a DPF.
        Thanks.

  6. ihave toyota hilux 2020 europe vin No_AHTHB3CC602027845 , Model-GUN125L-CNFMXW. on the instrument panal 4 warning light flash on at the same time 1-check engine warning light 2- slip indicator light 3- Pcs warning light 4- master warning light . on multy information display 1- check engine visit your dealer 2- precollution system mallfunction visit your dealer. where is the problem? * but iam after swich off the engine on the engine compartment fuse box pull out EFI fuse & reset thefuse after that start the engine & goas out warning light on the instrument panal.

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      Unfortunately, we can only offer advice on UK specification Toyota vehicles.
      Please contact Toyota in your region for further help.
      Thanks.

  7. Hi
    I have a 2014 proace van, warning message “Particle Filter Level to Low , Needs Repair.” Does this mean I have to put an additive in with the diesel?
    Regards
    Bob

    1. Hi Robert,
      If your van has a warning message, we would recommend taking it to your nearest Toyota Centre as soon as possible.
      The centre will able to physically inspect your vehicle and provide any necessary repairs or recommendations.
      You can find them using this link – https://fal.cn/3h2dT
      Thanks.

  8. Hi. I have urban cruiser 1.4 d4d. Driving 90 % city. ECU performing active regeneration every 20-30 miles. I went to garage for flush and forced regeneration. Technician can’t see any errors stored in ECU but dpf still regenerating at same intervals.

  9. hi, I have an issue with my DPF, whenever I pressed regeneration key, it take an hour to clean DPF. But after I drive it for like two hours, DPF full message pops up on the display, and later it reads DPF FULl ENGINE SERVICE REQUIRED. It’s a 2014 Toyota LandCruiser. Please assist what course of action to take

    1. Hi Habib,
      Thanks for your comment.
      We would recommend taking your vehicle to your nearest Toyota Centre.
      They will be able to physically inspect your vehicle and provide further recommendations.
      Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *