The fitting of a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) became compulsory during the introduction of Euro 5 emissions legislation introduced in 2008 although some larger Diesel engines used in Automatics and 4×4’s had DPF’s fitted much earlier in order to comply with EU4.
All manufacturers had completely complied with the legislation by the end of 2010, this means that finding a brand new diesel car without a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) fitted is now largely impossible, and the recent introduction of Euro VI now means that newer diesels are using SCR (Adblue Additive) based systems, which carry just as many problems as the earlier Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF)
Since removing the DPF in the UK and most of Europe is now illegal and in the UK *may* also leave you open to prosecution and insurance cover being voided, so the only option if you want to avoid the whole DPF fiasco (and the associated expense it brings), is to buy an older diesel car, under 2.5L and which was manufactured before the Euro V regulations.
Its worth noting that a lot of car manufacturers began fitting early versions of the DPF well before 2008, this was down to the fact that some larger engine cars, and those fitted with Automatic gearboxes, struggled to meet the earlier Euro 4 emissions standards, and so you are likely to find the DPF systems fitted to some larger engine cars and 4×4’s manufactured as early as 2004, and in the case of Citroen’s and Peugeot, their version of the DPF (FAP) appeared on their early HDi engines in 2002. However, the FAP system on HDI engines seem to be more reliable than the later systems fitted by other manufacturers due to the additive which is added to each tank of fuel, but even then they are not problem free or any cheaper to fix when (rather than if) they go wrong.
Here is a list that I have compiled of diesel engine cars, which are not believed to have DPF systems fitted. This list was compiled during a seven month period whilst I decided which older DPF free car to buy and is the result of contacting the manufacturers in order to obtain the information, but even so it is not exhaustive and should be considered as a work in progress and I will be add to it as facts are established and comments left.
Cars WITHOUT a Diesel Particulate Filter
BMW – E36 & E46 320D Models do not have a DPF and the E90 163BHP models also did not have a DPF fitted, until the 177BHP engine was rolled out in 2007. This also applies to the detuned 2.0 318D engine. The 118D and 120D are the same engines as used in the 3 series, although the 123D had a DPF factory fitted from its release. All X1’s are fitted with DPF’s
Pre 2004 330D, 530D & 525D, X5 models do not have DPF’s fitted – these appeared on 3.0D models from MY 2005.
Diesel Particulate Filters were fitted to the X3 2.0D from around MY2005, all X3 3.0D engines have DPF’s
BMW’s also have a cosmetic method of identifying whether a Particulate filter (DPF) is present, assuming that a standard non modified exhaust is fitted, BMW cars which have straight exhaust tailpipes have DPF’s fitted, those without DPF’s have a tailpipe which points slightly downward.
Mercedes – All pre 2003 models do not have DPF’s. Some 220cdi series cars had DPF’s fitted in 2004 and 2005 production years, but this was put on hold due to negative customer feedback, and so most late 2005 to Early 2008 C220cdi cars did not have DPF’s fitted.
The ML320CDI and 280CDI had a DPF fitted from early 2006, and it is believed that all of the 280CDI and 320CDI 3.0L engines shared the same introduction date. The previous Mercedes ML270 CDI didn’t have a diesel particulate filter, nor did any Mercedes model using the same 5 cylinder diesel engine.
VW – All early 1.9L 69bhp, 90bhp, 105bhp, 110bhp, 130bhp & 150bhp TDI, SDI and 140bhp PD TDI engines do not have DPF’s fitted and neither did the early 2.5tdi V6 engines before 2005.
The later 140bhp CR engine did not have a DPF fitted until around 2007 / 2008 Note:- all of the 170BHP versions of the 2.0 TDI engine do have a DPF.
The 3.0 TDI VW Phaeton also did not have a DPF present until around 2005 /6, at the point it was offered in the Touareg (all 3.0tdi Toureg’s have a DPF, the early 2.5TDI models don’t).
The best, most reliable VW Diesel Engines are by far the 130bhp PD engine, and very early 90bhp – 130bhp TDI engines, but these are getting rare. Avoid the 2.0 140BHP engine, as despite not having a particulate filter, they do tend to eat their own engines, writing off the car!.
Audi – See VW above, in addition the 2.7 V6 TDI engine did not have a DPF fitted until some point in 2007, however care should be taken with early 2.7TDI models as a DPF was available as a factory option and may have been chosen by a minority of original owners.
All Audi Diesel Engines have SCR (Adblue Additive) based systems from 2011, and these are also best avoided due to a set of their own problems.
The best, most reliable Audi Diesel Engines are by far the 130bhp PD engine, and very early 90bhp – 130bhp TDI engines, but these are getting rare. Avoid the 2.0 140BHP engine, as despite not having a particulate filter, they do tend to eat their own engines, writing off the car.
Seat – As VW & Audi
Skoda – All early 1.9 TDI / SDI and 140BHP PD technology TDI models do not have DPF systems, interestingly Skoda were late in rolling out the CR engine and DPF fitment, and some 2010 140bhp Octavia cars can be found with the PD version of the TDI engine still fitted and therefore were built without a DPF. However the 170BHP version of the 2.0 engine has always had a Diesel particulate filter (DPF) fitted.
Skoda clearly identify its DPF equipped models with an options code in the service book and a sticker in the spare wheel well. A code of ‘7GG’ indicates that a DPF is fitted, and ‘0GG’ indicates that the car does not have a Particulate Filter fitted.
The best, most reliable VW Diesel Engines are by far the 130bhp PD engine, and very early 90bhp – 130bhp TDI engines, but these are getting rare and showing their age now in terms of refinement. Avoid the 2.0 140BHP engine like the plague, as despite not having a particulate filter, they do tend to eat their own engines, writing off the car!.
Alfa – See Fiat models
Volvo – No pre 2004 /5 diesels had Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) fitted, the later D5 engine used on the XC90 did not have a DPF in its 163bhp variant (pre 2006) but they were introduced on the new models with a higher BHP. Early XC90’s without a DPF can be identified by a ‘D5’ badge on the back, whilst XC90’s with a Diesel Particulate Filter, have a “2.4” badge instead of “D5”. All newer diesel Volvos made after 2006 are likely to have a DPF.
Fiat – 105 bhp & 115 bhp 1.9 8V Multijet engines do not have a DPF. All 1.3 JTD engines and the more powerful 16V 1.9 engines have a DPF fitted.
Vauxhall / Opel – Early 1.7Di, 1.7DTi and 1.7CDTi engines manufactured by Isuzu do not have DPF’s, nor do the 2.0 and 2.2 Dti engines used in the Vectra and Frontera. The early 2.5 V6 Diesel made by BMW and used on the Omega upto 2001 also does not have a DPF and nor did the 3.0 V6 Diesel used in the Vectra / Signum before 2006.
All Vauxhall / Opel 1.9CDTi engines have a DPF fitted, and can be very problematic.
Vauxhall / Opel 1.3 CDTI engines are a little more confusing, since some cars were fitted with particulate filters from introduction, then there seems to be a period from 2006 – 2007 where they were omitted from some models such as the Corsa & Combo Van. I recommend doing the exhaust test detailed at the bottom of the page to check for the presence of a particulate filter.
Saab – 2.2 dti engines did not have a DPF nor did the pre 2006 3.0 V6 used in the Vauxhall Vectra. The 1.9 tid version is more of a gamble as there are a mixture of DPF and Non DPF models circulating the market as early models could also be fitted with a DPF as a factory option. All TTID versions of the 1.9 engine DO HAVE A DPF and are VERY problematic
Landrover – All early TDi engines such as used in the 90 and 110 series are reliable old school diesels, which do not have DPF systems fitted. Nor does the TD5 engine used in the Discovery, the early 2.7Tdi V6 engines did not have DPF’s fitted until around 2007, although it may have been offered as a factory option.
The Freelander 1 1.8L diesel and later 2.0 TD4 (which used the 2.0 BMW Engine) do not have DPF systems, and neither does the early 2.2 TD4 (158 bhp) Freelander 2 from its introduction in 2006 until 2010. All Freelander SD4, ED4 and the TD4 version released in 2010 (147 / 150bhp) do all have DPF’s fitted.
All Evoque models have diesel particulate filter (DPF) systems fitted.
Citroen / Peugeot – Particulate filters on French cards are refered to as ‘FAP’ rather than DPF. Very early 1.9 turbo diesel engines made before 2000 are all non FAP, however the 2.0HDi is more of a gamble as there are both FAP and non FAP versions from approx 2001 onwards. All newer 2.2 HDi and 1.6HDi engines have FAP based DPF systems fitted as standard, and this includes the Mitsubishi Outlander and Peugeot Hdi models which use the Citroen engines.
Of all of the diesel car manufacturers, the Citroen / Peugeot ‘FAP’ system, although not immune to its own expensive problems, seems to be the more robust and less delicate of the bunch, especially in relation to short journeys, possibly since they were introduced years ahead of other manufacturers, and use a purpose designed additive, to aid and improve regeneration.
Honda – all of its I-CTDI engines manufactured before 2008 do not have a DPF fitted.
Ford – All 1.8 diesels such as the TDDI and TDCI do not have a DPF
Kia – Early Diesel Cars using the 2.9 CRDi, 2.5CRDi and 2.0CRDi engines did not have Diesel Particulate Filters until a roll out which took place on newer 1.4 CRDi, 1.7 CRDi & 2.0 CRDi engines between 2008 – 2010 (Do the exhaust test described below to check if a DPF is present if looking at a car manufactured between these two years)
Kia Ceed 1.6 CRDi engines are rumoured to not have DPF’s fitted as they meet Euro V emissions standards without one.
Toyota – Pre 2006 Toyotas do not have DPF’s. All T180, SR180 and 2.2 Auto transmissions have a DPF, however the standard 2.2 Diesel manuals did not get a DPF fitted until 2010.
Problems with Toyota DPF Systems are even starting to find their way onto the comments section on Toyota GB’s own blog. Toyota also clearly point out that their DPF systems are not covered under their vehicle warranties. So buyer beware – those four figure repairs could be looming!.
Apart from Peugeot and Citroen, its a safe bet that diesel cars made before 2003, will be DPF Free, however from that point it becomes a little bit more of a gamble especially the closer you get to 2008 model years.
Since some manufacturers also dabbled with testing the water with randomly fitting DPF’s to their cars between 2004 and 2008 or offered them as Factory options to their customers, it means that there are some models dating from the same period which have a DPF and others which don’t.
One easy, non mechanical way of checking if a car has a DPF fitted is to check the exhaust pipe. A DPF removes soot, and so cars with them fitted will have a clean exhaust pipe, simply run your finger around the inside of the exhaust pipe outlet, if you get a sooty finger, then the car is unlikely to have a DPF.
Got a DPF and now thinking of removing your problematic Diesel Particulate Filter? – Don’t! and here is why!
If you are having problems with Diesel particulate filter (DPF) blockages, then please read our section on Alternatives to replacing a blocked DPF Filter
If you are facing the expense of a new replacement Diesel Particulate Filter and don’t like the expensive dealer quote, then save hundreds by Buying an Aftermarket DPF Filter