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.

545 comments

  1. Hi I have a D4D Toyota Avensis from 2007 VIN NUMBER SB1DD56L50E038956 reg of car YE07TCX can you tell me if this car have a DPF fitted?Thanks

    1. Hi Marius,
      Thanks for contacting us.
      We’ve checked with our technical team and, as your vehicle is older, it is fitted with an Oxidisation Catalytic Converter to reduce emissions.
      Thanks.

  2. Hi, Is it true that dpf regeneration might be even every 100km distance ? (It is not full for sure) Rav 4 2015 mov 2.0 d4d 125km

    1. Hi Krystian, thanks for your comment.
      This is something that your local Toyota Centre will be able to help with.
      Thanks

      1. Hi Edgaras,
        Thanks for contacting us.
        We’ve checked with our technical team, and your vehicle is not equipped with a DPF.
        Thanks.

      2. How much does it cost to get my dpf manually regenerated at a main dealer
        Toyota auris 2010

  3. Hi. Please tell me if my car is fitted with a DPF.
    Registration FN09SSU
    Chassis VNKKC96390A217666

    1. Hi David,
      Thanks for contacting us.
      We’ve checked with our technical team and, from the information available, it would appear that your Yaris is not fitted with a DPF.
      Thanks.

  4. I am having some issues with my Toyota Verso. The engine management keeps coming on and I am told it’s the DPF filter that keeps causing the problem..
    How can the DPD filter be regenerated?
    I regularly drive on motorway but don’t know how it has been driven in the past as I have only had the vehicle for the last six months.
    The vehicle concerned is NX65OJK and has covered 92000 miles.

    Any help with this matter would be appreciated

    1. Hi Muhammad,
      Thanks for getting in touch with us.
      DPF regeneration occurs automatically when the engine and exhaust system has reached normal operating temperature and the vehicle is travelling at over 40mph.
      Therefore, to make sure that the DPF regenerates successfully, frequent opportunities should be created for the ECU to complete this programme, which requires regularly driving the car at speeds of above 40mph for at least ten minutes.
      If the engine management light stays on, you will need to take your vehicle to your nearest Toyota Centre for the soot to be neutralised and the filter to be regenerated manually.
      You can find your nearest Toyota Centre to make an appointment here: https://www.toyota.co.uk/forms-v2/forms?tab=pane-dealer
      Thanks.

  5. Hi can this cause acceleration taking it’s time to build up and black smoke emitting from exhaust pipe,if so can you advise if my car has a DPF reg is PX07YYJ 2LITRE AURUS DIESEL, MANY THANKS

    1. Hi Jackson,
      Thanks for your comment.
      We’ve checked with our technical team, and your vehicle is listed with a filtration system in the exhaust system.
      Regarding the smoke, we would advise taking your vehicle to your nearest Toyota Centre for further investigation into this issue.
      You can find your closest dealer here: https://www.toyota.co.uk/forms-v2/forms?tab=pane-dealer.
      Thanks.

  6. I have a 2008 avensis diesel. When exactly did dpf replace catalytic converters in European models. And is it possible for a diesel exhaust to have both components?

    1. Hi,

      Catalytic converters have been fitted to most cars from 2001, and DPFs have been fitted from late 2009. Therefore, it is possible for a diesel car to have both.

      Thanks

    1. Hi Alfred,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      In the UK, the DPF is designed to regenerate by neutralising the soot, burning it off at a high temperature within the exhaust system whilst the vehicle is running.
      This takes place when the engine and exhaust system has reached normal operating temperature and the vehicle is travelling at over 40mph.
      We would recommend taking your vehicle to a Toyota Centre in your region in order for them to assess your car and rectify any issues related to this smoke.
      Thanks.

  7. Hi, I have a 2014 hilux and says on diagnostics DPF full,I have had it professionally cleaned but cannot reset the values in the ecu, can you help?

    1. Hi George,

      We only have information on UK cars, so recommend contacting Toyota in your region.

      Thanks

  8. Hi please could you tell me if my 2007 3.0lt turbo diesel hilux has a DPF fitted
    Thanks, Patrick

Leave a Reply

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