Doctor Diesel

In a bit of a pickle

Web05Dear Doctor Diesel,
Please could you give me some help and advice? In April 2013 I purchased a 2011 Skoda Fabia 1.6 TDI. I asked the salesman if there would be any problems regarding the DPF filter and he said that he had not had any complaints from cars he had sold. He said if the DPF warning light came on to just take it up the motorway for 20 minutes, which would sort it out. Three months later, the warning light came on, so I took the car up the motorway, and that did do the trick. But three months later, the DPF warning light came on again, but this time I had to take the car up the motorway every week to clear the filter. I then found out I could have the DPF filter removed and contacted a company which removed it, and the Skoda now runs a treat with no problems. The company told me that the car had been given a smoke test, so it would be legal for the MOT test in August 2014. A friend has now told me that having the DPF removed was probably not legal, as he said he had read about this in a magazine, and said my car insurance would also be void. I spoke to my car insurance company to tell them that the DPF filter had been removed and they said that it would not affect my car insurance in any way. So Doc, can you tell me, will I have to have the DPF filter put back in the exhaust? What other advice can you give me?

Difficult one this John. The legal situation was indeed rather woolly until a few months ago, when it was clarified by the Government issuing MOT test instructions that, as from February 2014, any car tested and found to have had its DPF removed would definitely be failed. Some companies may still get around this whilst leaving the empty DPF on the car, but by taking all the contents out and changing the ECU software. We have always, over several years, warned readers against DPF removal, and the possible illegality. I’m afraid that you will indeed have to have a DPF put back, and you have every reason to go back to the supplier and try and bully them into doing it free of charge ­– not that they will have kept your old DPF box, I fear. You could go to your intended MOT station before this and just see what they say about what they would do if you bring the car in without a DPF, but don’t get your hopes high. Sorry I can’t be more helpful, but this is the way it is.

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