If your Toyota car was manufactured after 2010, then it is very likely to have been fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) which is a device designed to remove harmful particulates from entering the atmosphere, simply by removing the soot particles from the Exhaust before they are expelled. Unfortunately, DPF’s are less than reliable and can be very expensive when they go wrong (which they often do), and Toyota are not immune from DPF problems. However cars made before 2006 are unlikely to have a DPF fitted, so you can breath a sigh of relief as you won’t be facing bills of four figures!.
On Toyota Cars manufactured between 2006 and 2010 it gets a little more complicated, as the DPF was only fitted to cars with higher emissions, which includes some 4×4 and Auto Models.
All T180, SR180 diesel engines, as well as those with the 2.2 Diesel with an Auto transmissions have a DPF, however the standard 2.2 Diesel manuals did not get a DPF fitted until 2010.
The chances of getting a blocked a DPF, and seeing the dreaded warning light appear on the dashboard, are increased ten fold if you do a lot of short journeys, the type where the car never reaches normal operating temperature and fifth (or sixth) gear. A DPF needs a long journey of at least 20 – 30 minutes every few hundred miles, in order for the car to reach the required operating parameters, in order for the DPF to regenerate and burn off the soot that it has collected.
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a blocked DPF, then you will probably be made aware of this, when a warning light appears on the dashboard, at this stage, the DPF is probably salvageable from a drive down the motorway, keeping the engine rev’s at around 3000rpm. This ensures that the coolant, oil and exhaust gas temperatures reach the required level for a regeneration attempt. If the DPF manages to regenerate itself, congratulations, you should be ok for a few more hundred miles, and have dodged the DPF bullet!. However you will need to make sure that you take the car on regular motorway journeys, to avoid a repeat of the DPF blocking in the future.
If the Regeneratio didn’t begin and complete after 30 minutes of driving, then you may have to spend some money! but first, check out the advice here. Are the DPF problems covered by Toyota’s Warranty?, well according to Toyota’s Own Blog, it seems something of a gamble, a gamble which is generally in the favour of Toyota!, at least according to the replies on there from Toyota staff, where it seems that in most cases, DPF problems won’t be covered by their Warranty. Personally I think it is wrong for Toyota to refuse to replace a DPF whilst the car is under Warranty, it also perhaps proves how much faith Toyota have in their own engineering, if they cannot cover a key emissions component, for the duration of the Warranty.
I’ve posted a few times on the Toyota Blog, advising their disgruntled customers, to avoid paying four figure sum’s to Toyota Dealers in order to replace their non warrantied DPF, when a simple clean will return the DPF back to as new condition, at a cost of around £300 – £400. Amazingly these blog posts were never approved by Toyota staff, despite the fact that they are refusing to honour the warranty and their customers were now facing huge bills, I guess it indicates that Toyota aren’t into helping customers, they just want to make money from the failing components.
I would reward Toyota for this attitude, by avoiding their dealers and instead of meekly handing over four figures for a new DPF, you should be able to get the existing one removed and professionally cleaned from one of the many DPF cleaning companies for a fraction of that price. If the worst should happen and the DPF is even beyond cleaning, then please check out our DPF Aftermarket page, for a list of Aftermarket DPF replacements, which can be fitted to Toyota cars. Once purchased take the DPF to an independant dealer or even a back street exhaust fitter and you should be able to have it fitted within an hour, for much less than the dealer labour charges.