Editor’s Viewpoint PMM November 2017.
Diesel Particulate Filters – that’s DPFs to you and I – have been fitted to the exhausts of diesel vehicles for well over 20 years now. It wasn’t until the landmark Euro 5 legislation in 2009, however, that DPFs were catapulted into the public eye. This particular piece of European statute made it mandatory for a DPF to be fitted to new diesel vehicles, as part of the concerted push to lower harmful emissions. A couple of years later, when these DPF-equipped vehicles inevitably poured into the aftermarket, technicians were faced with a raft of legal, technical and health & safety-related challenges.
“Whether you are a fan of the DPF or not, rules are rules. Yes, there’s the ever-present issue of wanting to please your customers, but at what cost?”
Indeed, of all the ‘ingenious’ devices conceived by the vehicle manufacturers, it seems that the DPF is perhaps the most infamous and polarising. The comments on an article published on PMM Online a few weeks ago, for instance, served as an interesting microcosm of the wider debate.
The article contained news that two Sheffield-based mechanics have been given a two-year testing ban after the DVSA found that they were selling a DPF removal service.
Since February 2014, it has been the case that if a vehicle that was originally fitted with a DPF is found to have had it removed, it will result in an MOT failure. At around the same time, the DVSA formally advised MOT garages that if they offered a DPF removal service, the agency would consider that this ‘brought the MOT Scheme into disrepute’. It therefore stands to reason that a reputable, professional MOT garage would not touch the murky business of DPF removal with a 10-foot torque wrench.
Apparently not, as evidenced by the gentlemen from Sheffield who were found to be breaking the rules. And whilst many of the comments on the PMM Online article were scathing about the complete ignorance exhibited by many so-called ‘garages’, there was some surprising discord. It seems that many in the trade view the DPF as one big ‘scam’, with many questioning the effectiveness of the regenerative process in actually limiting emissions at all, while there was also some implied support for the behaviour of the banned mechanics.
Whether you are a fan of the DPF or not, rules are rules. Yes, there’s the ever-present task of having to please your customers, but at what cost? Rule-breaking and morally-questionable working practices reflect badly on the trade as a whole.
Just as the DPF debate was catalysed by legislation, so too is the current broader discussion surrounding emission levels and the requirement for cleaner sources of power, which has transcended industry and become a global issue. In this edition of PMM, Harrison Boudakin of Automate explains the current rate of progress in the evolution of vehicle powertrains, and Neil Pattemore questions the apparent apathy in the aftermarket when it comes to embracing the new technology and capitalising on the opportunities it presents. It’s fascinating, albeit slightly terrifying, to read about the technology that is on the horizon – and no dout the electrified future will throw up a wealth of new controversial tech that we can all butt heads over!