Halfords Autocentre has now become one of the many UK garages / auto centres offering DPF cleaning services to motorists.
They claim that this new service in response to concerns over diesel car pollution, however our experience with DPF issues puts it firmly down to customer demand and high dealership regeneration prices.
When we were initial made aware of this newcomer to the DPF cleaning industry we got in touch with Halfords PR team for a little more information. What we got back was the usual press release with very little information what this new service actually offers. My requests for more information on what their DPF cleaning processes actually involves fell on deaf ears, leaving me no choice but to get on the phone to a local Halfords Autocentre to quiz them direct. My call was very enlightening.
Their website shows that they offer two types of DPF cleaning. These are a DPF Maintenance Clean and a DPF Deep Clean, below are the juicy bits from the website
DPF Maintenance Clean
Regular preventative treatment
Our DPF Maintenance Clean is a professional workshop treatment designed to be used every 6 months to prevent the build-up of soot in the DPF. Book in today and have the peace of mind knowing your DPF is being kept clean, potentially saving you hundreds of pounds.
We believe in this product, so we guarantee that should your DPF need replacing or deep cleaning we will take the cost of any regular treatments you have had with us in the previous 12 months off the repair bill, if we do the repair for you.
DPF Deep Clean
One-off treatment for blocked DPFs
DPF Deep Clean is a professional workshop treatment designed to clean Diesel Particulate Filters that have become blocked due to a build-up of soot. It is a much cheaper solution than replacing the DPF.
The treatment will include either a direct flush into the DPF on a ramp or a soak overnight, then a diagnostic regeneration of the DPF to reset the engine management system.
This deep clean treatment is guaranteed to work on 95% of cars, dependent on the level of soot and the condition and age of the filter. If it doesn’t work we’ll take the cost off the DPF replacement, assuming we do the replacement for you.
What they actually do
In my call to a very helpful “Dave” at local Halfords Autocentre, I asked for a little more information regarding what they actually do to save your DPF and I was a little shocked.
Their maintenance clean is basically just adding
snake oil a DPF cleaning additive to the fuel tank. This service is charged at £35, so the additional of a useless chemical seems a little steep and completely unwarranted in our eyes, especially considering you can waste less than £10 on Amazon for a bottle of STP / Wynns Diesel Particulate Filter Cleaner. Read more about DPF cleaning additives here!)
The DPF deep clean does offer a little more for your money. In conjunction with the snake oil above, they perform what was described as a “forced regeneration” (more on forced DPF regeneration here). This is the same process which a dealer regeneration would take but without a key stage. A forced regeneration is performed by heating the DPF filter to extreme temperatures to burn off the particulate which is blocking the filter. This process requires the engine to be held at high revs for a sustained period. A byproduct of this is that both the engine and engine oil will be subjected to immense heat, which is why a dealer should also perform an oil and filter change with a forced regeneration. Oil quality is a key factor when DPFs are concerned so the lack of an oil change after Halfords process is a very disconcerting. This also points to why Halford’s DPF cleaning services are substantially cheaper than dealer prices.
Halfords deep cleaning service certainly is a better idea than having the filter removed, however if you do take the plunge we would suggest that you also treat your car to an oil and filter change with the manufacturers recommended low SAPs (low sulfated ash, phosphorus-sulfur) oil. Even with the oil change it could cost less than half of what a franchised dealer would charge.
With regards to the maintenance “clean”… don’t waste your money!
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You might also find the articles below of interest.
- The Diesel particulate filter (DPF) FAQ
- The Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve EGR FAQ
- Our top five tips on keeping your DPF clean
- Diesel remap & tuning boxes will my diesel particulate filter DPF cope?
- DPF Cleaning specialists reveal top 10 vehicles with DPF issues
- Which cars have the most DPF problems?
- Skoda Octavia iii 2013 Diesel Particulate Filter DPF – Owner’s Manual – Regeneration FAQ