How Much Does a Diesel Particulate Filter Replacement Cost?

The total cost(s) of replacing a DPF on light vehicles vary greatly. In fact, costs vary so much that it is impossible to provide even a range of possible costs that will be a true reflection of the actual costs involved in all situations under all possible conditions, so let us look at the main factors that affect DPF replacement costs in some detail-

Diagnostic time/cost

The presence of DPF-related trouble codes and an illuminated MIL lamp does not necessarily mean that the DPF on the vehicle is actually defective. In some cases, it is possible that the exhaust back pressure sensors are malfunctioning, or more likely, that the wiring associated with the sensors is defective in some way.

It is also possible that restricted exhaust silencers downstream of the DPF are causing or contributing to excessively high exhaust back pressures, so to be sure that the DPF is defective, a competent mechanic will perform a series of tests to confirm or eliminate all possible causes of the trouble codes before condemning a DPF out of hand. Moreover, a competent mechanic will also attempt to initiate a forced regeneration of a suspect DPF, which, it should be noted, may or may not be successful.

As a practical matter, this diagnostic procedure could take up to two hours to complete, depending on the vehicle make and model, but note that diagnostic time may be charged at significantly higher rates than ordinary labour charges.

Your location in the country

While it should be relatively easy to source a replacement DPF for most vehicles in metropolitan areas, this will almost certainly not be the case if you live in a remote area. In such a case, sourcing a replacement DPF could take several days, which may incur additional charges and/or fees, such as transport costs, that will typically not apply in metropolitan areas. 

Labour charges

Apart from the fact that labour charges vary significantly between independent workshops and dealership workshops, labour charges also vary between independent workshops and specialist exhaust fitment centres.

This is particularly important to keep in mind because a DPF replacement on a vehicle whose DPF is easy to access can often be accomplished in about an hour or so. However, replacing a DPF on some high-end European vehicles can take as long as four hours or more because the process often requires the removal of much of the (and sometimes, the entire) exhaust system from the vehicle.

NOTE: Be aware that although OEM DPF devices are typically warranted against defects in material and workmanship for relatively long periods by car manufacturers, do not assume that any car manufacturer will necessarily replace a blocked or damaged DPF under warranty conditions. In practice, many dealerships will (often, justifiably) blame DPF failures on things like “you’re driving it wrong”, [i.e., frequent short trips] poor fuel quality, or skipped services/oil changes, and in many such cases, car owners are forced to pay for DPF replacements when they expected the replacement to be free under warranty conditions.

Cost of parts

The retail prices of DPF devices are largely vehicle make and model-specific. For instance, on vehicles that use a passive regeneration strategy, the DPF is a relatively simple device that is usually easy to fit into the larger exhaust system.

However, if a vehicle uses an active regeneration strategy (in which fuel is injected into the DPF) the DPF is significantly more complex in terms of its design and construction. The increased complexity translates into a higher retail price as compared to a simple passively regenerated DPF, and while prices vary based on the vehicle make and model, it is worth pointing out that actively regenerated DPFs can be twice as expensive as passively regenerated units.

Associated labour costs

It is worth noting that in the local context, the poor quality of diesel fuel is a leading cause of premature DPF failures. However, poor quality fuel can, and often does, also cause damage to diesel injection equipment such as high-pressure injection pumps and fuel injectors, which means that it is pointless to replace a DPF that was damaged by bad fuel, without also checking for, and repairing possible damage to injection equipment caused by dirty fuel.

Be aware though, that these kinds of repairs could potentially run to several thousand dollars, so be sure to discuss any possible additional costs with your chosen service provider before you commit to a DPF replacement.

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