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.

528 comments

      1. Firstly can I ask if my car has a DPF filter. It is a 2006 Corolla Verso 2.2 D4D:
        VIN no. NMTEA16R90R015378

        If a DPF filter was not fitted as stated to this vehicle could you please send me an email quoting the Vin and a short statement. I need to show this to an MOT garage.

        Secondly can I ask what the smoke limit is for this car. If it has one it should in the bottom right corner of the manufacturer’s plate and in a box. I cannot find it on the manufacturer’s plate. As part of an MOT emissions test this value should used if lower than the standard 3.0m^-1 (for a turbo-charged car first used before 2008).

      2. Hi Oliver,

        Thanks for getting in touch. Your Corolla is not equipped with a DPF.

        In terms of your question regarding smoke limits. These are set by VOSA and the MOT stations have set parameters that they input when setting the vehicle up for a Smoke test.

        As the rules and tests have moved around over the years the tests that this vehicle was manufactured for have been renamed and re categorised so today we must rely on the VOSA expected parameters.

        The MOT station should set the correct standards and if the vehicle falls short of these tests, repairs will need to be carried out on the vehicle to bring it back to the expected standards.

        For further help with this we would recommend contacting your nearest Toyota centre. You can find your nearest dealer, here: https://www.toyota.co.uk/forms-v2/forms?tab=pane-dealer

        We have also emailed you directly.

        Thanks.

  1. Hi, i have a 2020 Toyota Hilux Radar cruise 2.8L diesel with particulate matter problems. The scan result says : Particulate matter temperature sensor circuit general electrical failures. I want to know where the particulate mater temperature sensor is located as the car is a brand new car. Because of this the check engine light is on parmanently with the pre collision light. Thank you.

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment.
      We would recommend contacting the Toyota distributor in your region for further help with your enquiry.
      Thanks.

  2. Hi,does my toyota avensis GL14BXD fitted with a dpf or not??pls need ur help.if so how far I can make short run and how far I do long run after that.many thanks in advance

  3. Hi Johan,
    Thanks for getting in touch with us.
    Your vehicle is listed as having a DPF on our system, and this can be confirmed in the Owners’ Manual.
    We would recommend referring to this manual to prevent any maintenance issues.
    Regarding short and long journeys, if your vehicle consistently covers only short distances, the DPF will fail to regenerate. On longer journeys, this system can purge due to the heat build-up allowing this process to occur.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi There,
      I have Toyota avensis T27 2.0d4d 2012 model,
      My car make some particular and white-grey puff in short roads and when the warming engine the too much, I changed before 10k Km engine petronas 5w30 c4 also 2 months ago repairing fuel injections,
      Please could you give me an idea about this issue?
      Regards.

      1. Hi Mustafa,
        Thanks for getting in touch with us.
        We’d recommend contacting the Toyota distributor in your region for further help with your query.
        Thanks.

  4. Does my corolla verso T180 reg DA06 OZK have a DPF filter as i am getting error code p2002 when the engine management light comes up.

    1. Hi Robert,
      Thanks for your comment.
      We’ve checked with our technical team, and vehicles of this model and age were fitted with a DPF.
      For an engine management light, we would recommend taking your vehicle to your nearest Toyota centre in order to diagnose the issue and have this resolved.
      You can find your nearest centre, here: https://www.toyota.co.uk/forms-v2/forms?tab=pane-dealer
      We can also see from our records that your vehicle has an outstanding recall for an airbag sensor, and we would suggest booking it into a Toyota centre in order for this to be carried out also.
      Thanks.

  5. Have the dpf issues been fixed on the new 2021 year 2.8lt 200hp Hi-lux as this engine seems be under class action in Australia.?

      1. Hi Ashley,
        Thanks for getting in touch with us.
        Could you please provide us with your UK reg? We can then look into this for you.
        Thanks.

      1. The information given is what one should not do without. It’s informative,teaches,and keeps one updated. Ft Hanks

  6. Good Morning,

    Could you tell me if engine code 1ND-TV (2007/05 Auris 1.4 D4D) has a DPF?
    VIN: SB1KC56EX0F003960

    Thanks

  7. Hi Manuel,
    Thanks for getting in touch.
    Our databases only cover UK vehicles, so we would recommend contacting the Toyota distributor in your region for further help with your query.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Lakhte,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      This is technically possible, but this would only be as an aftermarket solution rather than with a Toyota centre.
      Thanks.

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