Why the Particle Counter at the MOT test is Important Garages
Since 1 January 2023, measurement with a particle counter has become a mandatory part of the MOT for diesel cars with soot filters in the Netherlands. In Belgium, this has been the case for some time. In Germany, the date is July 1, 2023. It means that a particle counter must be used in the periodic inspection of diesel vehicles with a particulate filter.
With this test, an inspector determines whether the new permanent requirements regarding particle numbers are met. This method is more reliable than current ways of checking.
A particle tester must be used during the MOT to check whether the car meets the standard of 1,000,000 particles per cubic centimetre. Using this criteria 20% of particles are allowed through.
In preparation many garages have bought a particle counter, but what does the new soot particle measurement mean in practice?
In Belgium (which works slightly differently from the Netherlands) if the particle counter is too high during an MOT inspection 1 year is given to bring the reading down. In the Netherlands it must be immediately. The challenge for the technician is the same in both countries: how to get diesel cars with particulate filters through the particle counter test successfully and efficiently.
Excessive emission values on the particle counter: possible causes
· EGR valve fouling so it cannot function properly. The valves and injectors will foul because the car's computer wants to regulate emissions but cannot. · The soot filter clogs up or a blockage occurs elsewhere in the intake and exhaust system. · Something goes wrong with the diesel injectors.
What is the solution?
Darren Darling, founder of The DPF Doctor Network and, longstanding brand ambassador for JLM Lubricants is expert in diesel particulate filters and DPF problems. He says: "“JLM Lubricants’ range of professional maintenance additives can be used on a regular basis for preventative maintenance. This will help protect the vehicle, reduce emissions, and save money on fuel consumption. Products in our workshop include the world class leading JLM DPF Cleaner, and the DPF Clean and Flush system for when the DPF is really blocked. Also JLM’s DPF Regen Plus and Emissions Reduction Treatment are excellent preventative treatments to help maintain low emissions and protect emissions components. The JLM range goes as far as offering a high-quality engine oil flush which is essential to help clean an engine with oil contaminated by particulates.”
Finding the cause of the problem is crucial because if the cause of the contamination is not found and fixed the newly cleaned filter will block again. It is crucial that the technician recognises the symptoms after careful testing with the particle counter.
Why using the right DPF Cleaner is crucial.
Periodically the DPF will enter a regeneration ‘cleaning’ phase where the temperature in the filter is artificially elevated to burn off the particles thereby reducing the filter’s ‘soot’ load,” For this to happen the vehicle must be driven for a minimum distance, at high revs on the motorway for example. The regeneration cycle must complete. However, many diesel vehicles are driven in environments where these higher temperatures are never achieved. The particle load in the DPF continues to rise without ever being burnt off. This can result in complete blockage of the filter requiring a professional clean. This is where DPF cleaning additives such as the JLM DPF Cleaner can help by introducing a catalyst into the filter that helps burn off the particles, even if the vehicle is not driven optimally.
However, not all DPF additives are the same. There are significant differences depending on the type of catalyst used as the base ingredient. Ferrocene, or iron, is a commonly used catalyst which assists particle burn by artificially increasing the temperature in the DPF. Although achieving the overall aim of reducing the particulate load in the filter the downside is that the elevated temperatures of over 800 C risk irreversible damage to the DPF core, particularly with additive overuse. Iron-based catalysts also result in increased levels of ash deposits which can only be removed with an off vehicle physical clean of the DPF.
JLM DPF Cleaner uses Cerium and Platinum. These precious metals help carbon deposits in the DPF burn off at a lower temperature, around 400 C. This not only helps protect and extend the life of the DPF core, but it also produces less ash, again extending DPF life.
A new DPF can cost upwards of 2,000 euros, but a particle counter can indicate too high values after only a few hundred kilometres of driving. It is therefore important to look at the cause of the problem. Because simply replacing the particulate filter is often not the solution.
Soot / DPF filter warning light
If there really is something wrong with the particulate filter a warning light on the dashboard will appear. In this case, JLM DPF cleaner is the solution. You simply pour it into the fuel tank. As mentioned earlier unlike other particulate filter cleaners on the market, the active ingredients of Cerium and Platinum lowers the combustion temperature of the soot. This enables fast and safe regeneration of the particulate filter/ DPF/diesel particulate filter (even on shorter trips).
During an MOT inspection, a rejection on the emission values may occur without a light on the dashboard. This could be because the particulate filter is partially clogged due to short distance, stop start driving. The DPF cannot regenerate. Driving the car at high revs is unlikely to solve the problem.
Internal carbon cleaning of the engine system is a solution
A car failing to regenerate properly often has a clogged particulate filter combined with a dirty air intake, EGR and fouled turbocharger. This results in high emissions and heavy build-up of soot particles because the car's engine is not performing optimally. Internal cleaning of the EGR / Air intake system is a powerful first step using the JLM Diesel Intake Extreme clean toolkit.
The JLM Diesel Intake Extreme Clean treatment cleans the air intake, combustion chamber, intake valves, throttle valve, injectors, and variable turbo blades of a contaminated diesel engine. It restores the original airflow so that the power unit in the front can once again take in clean air and perform better.
Now a 2nd step often follows, namely cleaning the particulate filter without disassembly! Watch the instruction video here https://youtu.be/z2GwLQl1aWk
For heavily blocked DPFs The JLM Diesel particulate filter cleaning fluid, combined with the JLM Diesel DPF Cleaning Toolkit is the answer. The DPF can be cleaned on the vehicle without dissembling it and within 60 minutes. Saving the workshop time and the motorist, money.
Tell your customer how to prevent a clogged particulate filter
Prevention is better than cure. Many particulate filter problems are caused by the motorist’s driving patterns best summarised as short distance stop start driving at too low operating temperature of the diesel engine. Technicians must advise customers on what they can do to keep the DPF healthy. Here’s another important tip.
JLM DPF ReGen Plus is a preventative agent for new and old diesel cars with a soot filter and prevents annoying and costly problems and breakdowns. DPF/ Diesel particulate filter cleaner ReGen Plus keeps the particulate filter in optimal condition so it does not have to be replaced.
Pass the test with the particle counter and achieve a smooth MOT inspection
JLM Lubricants range of trade tested globally popular products help technicians to solve problems in sustainable and effective ways. To ensure the particle counter does not result in a customer’s car failing, choose particulate filter cleaning products that will ensure the car passes the particle counter test at the lowest cost.
To discover why Darren Darling and his global network of DPF Doctors – topflight independent workshops - choose the JLM Lubricants’ range of DPF products please visit our product pages.
There has never been a more important time to ensure the products you use on customers vehicles really are the best – promises, performance and price.
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