On Sunday we had a family party to go to at 3.30. No major problem, except we spent Saturday night at a different party over 200 miles away. So there was a bit of stress, running around, getting organised, needing to leave by 11 really and finally setting off at 11.30. Google maps on Samsung Note 2 informed me itÂ would take us 4 hours and 3 minutes to get home, I was confident I could trim that down without speeding.
I don’t speed. I drive efficiently, I use cruise control, minimise acceleration and deceleration by planning ahead. It’s very rare the revs go above 2000. I get excellent fuel efficiency. What I didn’t know was I was storing up a whole different kind of problem. I’d never heard of a DPF or what can go wrong with it.
All that was about to change.
The first hint I had that something was wrong was as I pulled onto a roundabout while exiting the M1. Nothing happened when I put my foot down – I shifted through gears and got moving again, deciding I must have somehow slipped into the wrong gear. Then about an hour later, cruising (literally in cruise control) down a dual carriageway, my speed started to drop off and putting my foot down made no difference.
As you can imagine, with three children in the car this was more than a bit scary. I knew I was near a big services and thought my best bet was to try to get there, and I’d got dp on speakerphone describing the problem to him. Then suddenly it all got much worse as a load of warning lights lit up, one saying DPF, another with what looked like skid warning on it and a third that made me think of the check engine light. We were yards from a layby. I hit the hazards and headed for it.
One level of insurance cover we’ve kept up over the years is breakdown cover. The RAC have never let me down yet. They quote a two hour time to reach me, and turn up in 25 minutes. The chap was cheerful and comforting but in the end unable to fix the car and he was concerned that if the DPF broke it would pump diesel into the oil system and that would be the end of our engine. So having nursed us to the services, he arranged for us to be recovered.
Now, since all this, I’ve looked into the DPF. It’s a filter meant to keep soot or if the air. An excellent idea. It should regenerate on motorway runs, but only if you get the revs up, in our car over 3000. To achieve that needed 3rd gear and 55 miles an hour and it didn’t work. Maybe I didn’t run it for long enough, but the mix of lights that came on didn’t give me much confidence that we only had one problem. The whole thing makes me incredibly cross though. I drive safely and economically, without sudden acceleration or deceleration, meaning I never rev the engine. I understood that to be good for the car and the environment. It’s not good for the DPF though, and it may cost us Â£1000 to have it replaced. Which means my driving style isn’t economical at all.
How does that make any sense? And how come I’ve never heard of this before?
Don’t tell me I should have read the manual. Nobody reads car manuals. But do me a favour. If you’ve got a diesel, educate yourself on DPFs. You’ll thank me for it.