Diesel Particulate Filter Warning Light – Causes and Fixes

Diesel particulate filter warning light is an indication that this particular filter needs to be cleaned or replaced soon to avoid the car going into limping mode. This is a common challenge that diesel engine vehicle owners must learn to deal with before the problem arises.

A vehicle’s exhaust is bound to build up soot over time from constant combustion. The particulate filter is designed to eradicate the soot from the exhaust. However, the filter can be clogged over time.

Ignoring the soot build-up can be detrimental in the long run. One of the early symptoms that you will have to deal with is the DPF warning light. Find out what triggers the light and how to fix it in the subsequent sections below.

What Causes Diesel Particulate Filter Warning Light?

The primary cause of the diesel particulate filter (DPF) warning light display is a blocked particulate filter. The warning light signifies that the onboard computer system has detected excess soot build-up in the particulate filter, which is liable to trigger limp mode.

Another cause of the DPF warning light display is a defective pressure or temperature sensor. When this component malfunctions, it will send wrong signals to the onboard computer system, which may unnecessarily trigger the DPF warning light.

However, the excess soot build-up in a vehicle’s particulate filter is the major reason why the DPF warning light displays.

how long can you drive with dpf light on

How Do I Fix My Diesel Particulate Filter Warning Light?

If a vehicle’s diesel particulate filter is clogged up with too much soot build-up over time, the vehicle stands the risk of entering into limp mode. This can be a serious problem for your vehicle, hence the need to fix it as soon as possible.

The following solutions will help you understand how to fix diesel particulate filter warning light problem in your car. Ensure to carefully implement the recommended solutions below to clear off the DPF warning light.

Drive beyond 40 mph to trigger regeneration

The most common solution to DPF warning light display is driving at a speed level beyond 40 mph. If you do this, move out of the busy region in your city and locate a long stretched highway.

Once you get on the road, drive at a high-speed level higher than 40 mph while monitoring the engine to keep it around 2500 rpm. This will automatically trigger active regeneration, which in turn boosts temperature.

At this point, the clogs will be converted into gas and exit through the exhaust. Ensure to stretch the car for up to 15 to 30 minutes. After that, the DPF warning light should go off.

Apply DPF cleaning additive

An alternative approach on how to clear a blocked DPF filter is to use a DPF additive. You can get a good DPF cleaner for as low as $13 to $26 and apply the solvent into your vehicle’s fuel tank.

Ensure to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendation in applying the quantity. After that, start the vehicle and drive for about 15 to 30 minutes.

The DPF warning light will automatically clear off within 30 minutes of driving as the additive circulates within the fuel system. So, instead of asking, “How long can you drive with DPF light on?” It would be best to fix the problem immediately.

diesel particulate filter warning light


Q: What is to do when particulate filter light turns on?

The particulate warning light is something you should care about. However, do not panic because you can resolve the challenge in a moment. So, if the particulate warning light comes on automatically in your car, move the car to the highway immediately.

Once you’re sure you have a free road where you can drive without halting at intervals, stretch the car by driving at a speed over 40 mph for about 15 to 30

Q: Is it OK to drive with DPF light on?

Driving with your car’s DPF light on is not ideal. Although the car may not have an issue moving on the road, the problem can be severe in the long run. If you completely ignore the DPF light, you risk your car’s filter building up enough soot to block the filter.

Once the soot build-up reaches a particular level where the filter is blocked, your car will automatically switch into a limp-home mode to help protect the engine from damage.

The limp-home mode will eventually alter the proper functioning of several components in your car to ensure that the engine is protected. In this case, you may not derive satisfaction driving the car.

Q: What does illumination of diesel particulate filter light mean?

The diesel particulate warning light in Nissan Navara is the same as the diesel particulate filter warning light in VW Golf.

When this light comes on in a car with a diesel engine, it signifies that the amount of soot build-up in the vehicle’s exhaust is so high that it can trigger limp mode at any moment.

However, don’t panic if the light comes on in your car. You can fix the problem within a few minutes. Simply drive out of the busy region in your city to a highway where you can drive at high speed.

Once you get on the highway, accelerate and drive at a speed level higher than 40 mph for about 15 to 30 minutes. Once you do this, the temperature will increase and regenerate the vehicle’s filter; then, clear off the warning light.

Q: How do I clean my DPF filter myself?

Manually cleaning your vehicle’s DPF filter is another way to eradicate the soot build-up. All you need is a nice DPF cleaner with an additive. The DPF cleaner neutralizes the soot build-up clogging up the filter.

Once you get a nice DPF cleaner, turn off your car and open the fuel tank cap. Then, pour the recommended quantity of cleaner into the tank and replace the gas cap. After that, start the car and drive around for about 15 to 30 minutes to get the DPF cleaner running effectively.

Once you complete the DPF cleaner application and drive for the recommended time frame, the warning light should go off by itself. Then, you can return to normal routine driving. So, if your car’s diesel particulate filter warning light is flashing, ensure to fix it as soon as possible.

Q: How much does it cost to clean a diesel particulate filter?

Cleaning a vehicle’s diesel particulate filter (DPF) is a critical job to do. Only expert DIYers can do the job perfectly without damaging the filter. Hence, you need to contact a professional auto mechanic to do the job if you’re not sure of doing it nicely.

The cost of cleaning a diesel particulate filter is around $85 to $100. However, if the filter is completely blocked, you may have to budget up to $300.

If you’re contemplating whether fixing your Nissan X Trail diesel particulate filter warning light is necessary or not, kindly note that failure to do so can trigger limp mode and degenerate into severe challenges for your vehicle in the long run.

Final Words

The essence of understanding what to do when the diesel particulate filter warning light comes on cannot be overemphasized. The exercise is likened to a lifesaver for your car; otherwise, you risk the car entering into limp mode.

The cause of the DPF warning light display and the solution have been unveiled above. Pay attention to those factors in order to avoid any complications.

If your car’s DPF warning light is already triggered, simply apply the recommended solutions in this article ASAP. However, if you are not sure of fixing the problem perfectly, kindly contact an auto mechanic to help you out.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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