**Update** This article has been very popular with our visitors, therefore we have put together a frequently asked questions page for DPF diesel particulate filters to help our fellow motorists.
More people than ever now choose diesel over petrol for their car purchases. It might be a little more at the pumps but it’s been drummed into us that owning a diesel car WILL save you money. Now we’ve already pointed out that you need to do your homework when choosing a diesel car, especially if you don’t do the mileage (Are you really saving money by choosing a Diesel? ) but there is another thorn in the side of diesel ownership that I’ve been stung by with personally.
When I finally decided that a Nissan Qashqai+2 was the car for me, I wanted to ensure that it was frugal enough to meet the needs of an avid hypermiler and also had enough punch to ensure it didn’t feel under-powered. I ended up choosing the 2.0dci lump that gave me the best of both worlds but I didn’t factor in that this model was fitted with the dreaded diesel particulate filter (DPF).
Now after only a couple of months of ownership, I’m greeted by the DPF warning light together with the engine warning light . Most people would reach for the AA card and have the car rushed to a dealership ready to take a pasting on the debit card, but I opted to ring the dealership as I knew they two lights were related and no damage would be done in the short time it’s been on.
After a call to the service man at my local Nissan dealership, he informed me that the DPF collects the soot and nasty things that are produced from the archaic diesel engine in order for it to meet EU emission levels. He went on to advise that the car should be run at motorway speeds in 5th for 15-20 minutes to “burn off” the collected particles in the DPF. This should be done on a regular basis or when ever the DPF light comes on, not great news for some that only very rarely breaks 50MPH.
If this fuel wasting run was not successful the car would enter limp home mode after around 2 weeks and I would HAVE to come back to the dealership for a £275 regeneration of the DPF in their workshop, destroying any savings I thought I would make by opting for the diesel powered Qashqai.
After only a brief Google regarding DPF issues, it seems that this issue has effected many fellow Qashqai owners and drivers from other marques too. The issue has also been highlighted by the BBC’s watchdog program, sadly also featuring the Nissan Qashqai. For those in the UK, click here to watch the episode. In a statement from Nissan to watchdog regarding this issue they said, “The 1.5dCi, 1.6dCi and 2.0dCi engines fitted to QASHQAI include a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to reduce emissions and help protect the environment. The functionality of a DPF may not be suitable for all customers. If your journeys are predominantly urban or low speed, a model without a DPF may be a more suitable alternative.”
My Googling has also revealed a whole array of companies offering DPF removal services with power and efficiency gains headlining together with the promise of no more expensive DPF regeneration costs. I put this past Nissan’s service man who sternly advised me to consider my options “very carefully” as the car would not pass it’s MOT without the DPF in place.
In conclusion, you REALLY need to do your homework before you choose a diesel car fitted with a diesel particulate filter. What should be heralded as an environment benefit may just be a way of main dealers to make a killing.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with diesel particulate filters, have you too been stung by this? Was it something that the dealership advised you on when choosing a diesel and did they ask about your driving habits?
Let us know in the comments below, contact form or our forum.
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**Update time #2**
Firstly, we have been taken back with the number of comments and emails we’ve had regarding DPF troubles. We feel your pain.
The feeling is still fresh in my mind after an unscheduled visit to my local Nissan dealership 2 days before Christmas 2013. The DPF light came on while driving to work a few days earlier, followed by the ECU light just 20 miles later. This short period between the lights didn’t even allow me to get back home before it decided that only the dealership could help me. Being unimpressed was an understatement, my ranting to Nissan fell on deaf years and it went in for a forced regeneration.
The DPF has made a reappearance since with less than 1000 since the costly dealer regeneration. Lucky for me the light went out within around 10 miles but not before I reached out to a local mechanic who is offering some “specialist services” which would remove the problem completely…. for good. I’ll update you all again soon.
**Update time #3**
After a very expensive Christmas and the ever present risk of another costly DPF regeneration I decided that the Qashqai and I should part ways. I was very lucky / wise to have chose a very desirable model and managed to part-ex it at a very good price at my local Mercedes dealer. The car which replaced it was a 2013 C Class C220 cdi AMG Sport Plus.
So far I’ve been very impressed with the car as a whole. Servicing is a little bit more expensive however even with some hard core Hypermiling I’m yet to see a DPF warning light. This doesn’t mean I won’t have any issues in the future and I’ll make sure to keep you all updated as usual.