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Does your diesel particulate filter (DPF) need to be replaced?

By Trent Giunco, 05 Aug 2019 Advice

Does your diesel particulate filter (DPF) need to be replaced?

How you drive and maintain a car fitted with a DPF affects its lifespan

Alarm bells might be ringing if you own a diesel-powered car, with news of a class action lawsuit filed against Toyota raising concerns over a device called the diesel particulate filter (DPF). Here is the lowdown on what's happened with the Toyota models involved and what you can do if you own any vehicle with a DPF.

All diesel cars have a DPF

Firstly, clogged DPFs aren’t an issue consigned just to Toyota. All diesel cars are fitted with a DPF and how you drive them greatly impacts their effectiveness. Low speeds and short trips are the major causes of blocked diesel particulate filters; long journeys with sustained higher speeds are required for regeneration – the process of hot exhaust gases burning off trapped soot inside the filter. So if your Hilux is going to be living a CBD life from one worksite to the next, it might be worth considering the petrol variant.

Read: Toyota sued over quality concerns for its most popular models

Poor servicing could also lead to issues sooner than if it’s well-maintained and it is important to use the right type of oil. Use the wrong one and it could actually clog the DPF further instead of cleaning it. Frequently running the gauntlet and driving on the low-fuel light may also cause cars fitted with DPFs to skip the regeneration faze to save fuel, so this should be avoided, too.

A clogged DPF could cost you money in the short term as it can increase fuel consumption, while in the long term it might lead to more expensive mechanical implications. Faulty parts or not, how a DPF-fitted car is driven and maintained goes a long way to determining its lifespan.

Toyota DPF class action

The class action filed against Toyota regarding the quality of a certain DPF concerns the Toyota Hilux, Prado and Fortuner fitted with the 1GD-FTV 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder.

While a recall hasn’t been released by Toyota, it’s been announced that Hilux, Prado and Fortuner variants fitted with the 1GD-FTV built between October 1, 2015 and July 26, 2019 are affected. According to VFACTS sales records, the number of Toyotas sold with the 2.8-litre diesel is more than 250,000. The hardest hit is the Hilux with around 176,000 units sold in the time frame.

MORE Diesel particulate filters explained

Toyota is aware of the faults and has previously issued a statement to owners: “Toyota dealers will reprogram the engine control module, ensure the DPF has been regenerated and conduct a smoke test. If the smoke test is negative, the DPF will be replaced. All inspection work and replacement will be completed free of charge to the customer.”

Toyota Australia says it’s “unable to comment as this matter is before the courts”, however, the lawsuit (instigated by legal firm Bannister Law) claims that the DPF fitted to the 2.8-litre diesel engine doesn’t periodically burn off particulates (soot) trapped in the system. The claim seeks compensation for things like loss of income, reduction in vehicle value and excess fuel consumption.