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Why oils are important and critical for particulate filters

particulate filter oil

Oil is an essential part of the maintenance of modern diesel vehicles, but it can also have a major influence on particulate filters.

The dirty or contaminated oil can adversely affect the particulate filter, reduce the effectiveness of the exhaust system and decrease fuel efficiency.

Particulate filters are designed to trap soot particles and other pollutants present in engine exhaust.

These filters have a porous structure that allows exhaust gas to flow through them, while soot particles are trapped inside. 

The oils contain materials such as detergents and additives that can reach the filter and gradually start to close the ceramic mesh of the filter. Therefore, the system would cease to perform the catalytic function for which it was designed.

In addition, contaminated oil can release harmful chemicals and gases into the engine exhaust. This can lead to clogging of the particulate filter, formation of carbon deposits and decreased fuel efficiency.

Oil and particulate filters

Why is oil important to prevent particulate filter failure?

Engine lubricants are usually the largest source of ash in the DPF.

Specifically, these are certain additives in the oil, such as metal-based detergents, anti-wear additives and antioxidants, which were developed before the introduction of DPFs.

The new oil classifications contain less of these materials, which means that they contain less ash-generating components, which will prevent clogging of the DPF.

Even 'healthy' engines consume small amounts of lubricating oil and most of it ends up in the exhaust.

Because lubricating oils contain metallic components (from additives and wear metals), some of these non-combustible materials accumulate in DPFs and other exhaust components.

Oil also has other ways of entering your particulate filter, such as leakage and internal oil consumption.

Any liquid, such as fuel, oil or coolant, that enters a cylinder and eventually the exhaust stream will foul the DPF and cause premature plugging and perhaps permanent damage to the diesel oxidation catalyst, the DPF or worse, the SCR.

Tips to avoid oil in the particle filter

In order to avoid problems that oil can cause in the particulate filter we recommend the following advice:

1) If the engine wastes (consumed by the piston rings) more oil than stated by the manufacturer, it must be repaired (replacement of piston rings).

2) An increase in oil consumption means an increase in ash. and a prematurely clogged filter. These ashes cannot be disposed of doing the regeneration The intervals at which the particulate filter attempts to clean and regenerate itself are increased.

     Increasing the frequency of filter maintenance should take into account increased vehicle downtime, additional costs and loss of revenue due to lost trips, etc.

     A record of oil and diesel consumption should be kept so that the increase can be seen and acted upon immediately.

3) Put oil that is certified as a minimum to minimise internal ashing and in case of purchase or replacement, use high quality particulate filters that can trap impurities, dust, metal and ash inside the filter.

4) Do not use fuel additives if they are not approved by the engine manufacturer. These additives may contain particulate matter that can ruin the particulate filter and void the DPF warranty.

5) Never use mixed fuelsThe DPF manufacturer does not approve alternative DPFs, or alternatives not approved by the DPF manufacturer.


As a general rule, it is important to change the oil regularly according to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations and to use high quality oils that meet the manufacturer's specifications. 

High-quality oils have a higher cleaning capacity and help to keep particulate filters clean. In addition, special additives in these oils can reduce the amount of soot and other contaminants that reach the particulate filter.

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