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.

548 comments

  1. Hi 8 got Toyota Avensis 2017 and has done 23000 miles and DPF is full message is displaying on my screen. Please advise what should i do. Thanks

      1. Hi Chris,

        Thanks for getting in touch. We can’t seem to find any information on your car using the reg provided. Could you please let us know the VIN?

        Thanks.

      2. So basicly you are not telling people anything of any value at all!!!
        People buy a toyota with a dpf that makes trouble for sooo many people, but only thing you are doing is, to continue milking us all for money!!
        Me i just searching for information on the problem with the DPF but, you clearly wont help… So thanks for nothing!!!

      3. Hi Flemmng,
        Thanks for getting in touch with us.
        According to European legislation, it is the law that all diesel vehicles registered after September 2009 must be equipped with a diesel particulate filter.
        Therefore, it was not a decision taken simply by Toyota, and this applies to all other vehicle manufacturers.
        It is in the nature of these filters to become clogged, but they are built to regenerate, which means that the filter is cleaned as the vehicle is driven.
        To make sure that the DPF is regenerated effectively, we would recommend driving your vehicle at speeds of above 40mph for at least 10 minutes, which ensures that the engine and exhaust systems have reached the normal operating temperatures necessary for this process to occur.
        If you have any further questions, we would recommend contacting Toyota in your region for advice.
        Thanks.

    1. Hi Peter,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We can’t seem to find any information on your car using the reg alone. Could you please provide us with the VIN? If you’re not sure where it is, you should be able to find it printed on tamper-proof stickers located just inside the shut line of the front nearside door.

      Thanks.

      1. Hi,
        can you tell me if Yaris reg.no.YD10YJF is fitted with a DPFs please ?
        Thanks,
        Neil

      2. Hi Neil,

        Thanks for getting in touch. We have checked with our technical team and your Yaris isn’t fitted with a DPF, however it does have a catalyst which aids emission control.

        Thanks.

      3. Hi sorry for the delay my vin number is JTMBC1V00D070215 it a 2011 plate rav4 in black

      4. Hi Peter,

        Thanks for getting back in touch. Could you please re-confirm your VIN for us? It isn’t recognised in our system as it should have 17 digits.

        Thanks.

      5. Hi Peter,

        Sorry for the hassle, thank you for providing this. We have now double checked it with our technical team and it appears your vehicle is fitted with a DPF.

        Thanks.

      6. Hi thank you for get back in touch now I no I have dpf filter how do I do a manual regen as I am a low mileage driver

  2. Help please! I’m desperately worried. Bought my 2014 Rav4 2.0 AWD last year. Two weeks ago the DPF full warning came up. Cleared after long drive but then came up again 5 days later and wouldn’t clear. Main (Ford) dealer we bought from has tried to do force regen (it’s just come to the end of their warranty) but it keeps stopping. Says 512%full!! Booked in with Toyota next week but I’m terrified it’s going to cost a fortune to replace parts. Car has only done 58,000 miles. Any advice please?

    1. Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We’re sorry to hear this. Without being able to assess the car ourselves, our only advice at this time is to take it to your nearest Toyota centre as you are doing. It may just be that the soot needs to be neutralised and the filter regenerated manually by the dealer.

      Thanks.

      1. Hi,
        I am facing absolutly the same problem with my toyota rav4, year 2014. Imthe dpf is replaced, a brand new, and again after 500 km the dpf pointer has shown again, and the car lost its power. I vent to authorized dealer, they cleaned it and is showing again, just after few 100 km. Kindly asking for your advise, what you propose, as the authorized dealer here in Prishtina are not able to solve it.
        Many many thaks,
        Isa

      2. Hi. I am also having the same problem with my Rav4 2014 the spf has been cleaned but the light will not go,away. Is it possible that the sensor is faulty?

  3. Thanks for the reply. Took it to our main dealer who did a forced regen and completely cleared it – 5 days later the warning has come up again!! What next please? is it covered under Toyota Extended warranty? main dealer aren’t exactly falling over themselves to help 🙁

    1. Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for getting back in touch. We would recommend re-contacting your Toyota centre to discuss this further. If a manufacturing defect can be confirmed by the dealer the DPF would be covered under warranty (5 years).
      As you may be aware the DPF function can be affected by usage. There are specific driving condition required to allow the DPF to auto regenerate itself and if not happening this could cause an irreparable damage to the part.
      Most of the time to confirm the manufacturing defect, the dealer should be able to find out the cause that triggered the DPF issue.

      Thanks.

  4. Hi
    Can I check if vehicle is fitted with a DPF. 2010 RAV4 CHASSIS NUMBER JTMZA31VOODOO4607
    MODEL ALA35R-BWFGYW
    Thank you
    David

      1. Thank you very much for quick response. I assume the first box on the exhaust system (closest to engine) is a Catalytic Convertor (Part No TOY26100 or 2505126100). If so is there any particular driving style/care relating to this item. Can I check also that Grade ACEA C2 Oil is suitable for this vehicle/engine. Thanks. David

  5. Hi David,

    Yes the ‘first box’ on the exhaust system is a catalytic converter. There is no set criteria like there is for a DPF equipped vehicle but like all diesels they prefer longer runs than shorter. Please also note, the part numbers you stated are not quite correct as per the current version of the parts catalogue. When things return to normal, we would recommend confirming this with your Toyota centre.

    The correct oil grade for this vehicle is 5W30 PFE C2.

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Toyota. Can I ask: re 2010 RAV4 CHASSIS NUMBER JTMZA31VOODOO4607
      MODEL ALA35R-BWFGYW – Where was this vehicle Manufactured/Assembled? Do you know if this vehicle has an Aisin Gearbox? Thank You. David

      1. Hi David,
        Thanks for your comment.
        Our system does not recognise your VIN. Are you a UK customer? If so, could you please provide us with your reg?
        Thanks.

  6. Hello
    Please I have Toyota Hilux I have get dpf full messages on my dashboard so I have change the dpf with a new one Myself but after it the message still on my dashboard , how I can delete the message error ?
    Thx

  7. Does my TOYOTA COROLLA VERSO 2008 has a DPF? I lost power on holiday, and I was told by a mechanic to drive at high RPM. The problem was finally resolved after couple of hours of drive. VIN is NMTEJ16R20R137130. Thanks

      1. Hi. Looking to buy a diesel 2007/08 or 09 Corolla Verso. Is there any info on when the 2.2l engine was fitted with dpf? Or was the 2.2l always fitted and am I better off with a 2006 2.0l? Many thanks

      2. Hi Guy,

        As stated above, 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.

        We need a UK vehicle registration to check whether the specific vehicle you are looking at is fitted with a DPF.

        Thanks

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