Cost to replace DPF in New Zealand – buy new or clean your DPF?

Aug 19, 2020 | DPF

What are the costs you are looking at to buy a replacement DPF new in New Zealand? Short answer is generally $4k – $8k. Yes, its a BIG cost and very important to factor into your vehicle budget. 

Even if you have regularly maintained your vehicle, a modern DPF Diesel particulate filter in NZ is as big a cost as a transmission or other major part replacement, no way around it – so it is important to know that in advance and understand it is part of your long term vehicle budget.

The reason for this is that whilst it is called a filter, the DPF is a tricky bit of science that uses very expensive materials and processes in order to work. 

The DPF will work fine far in excess of any manufacturer’s warranty – they are not a part that randomly breaks, rather over time they clog up. So in most cases if you have done enough driving to have clogged the DPF, you will be well out of any warranty. It is a replacement part, so it also won’t be covered by most insurances. That unfortunately is part and parcel of owning a modern diesel vehicle, very different from the chuggers of old times.

Most vehicles have a built in process to clean the DPF, but that won’t work forever. If you are at the stage that the DPF is not functioning properly, lights are on the dashboard –  you are going to run into several problems as the engine management cannot control the engines functions the way it wants to.

If you have got to this point, your options are;

  1. Buy a new one. 
  2. Spend a couple of grand on a newer unit out of a wrecked vehicle that still has some life (maybe) left in it.
  3. Get it professionally cleaned out and refurbished
  4. Try cleaning the DPF yourself
  5. Delete the DPF system and get a new exhaust

Out of all of these options, the most cost effective thing to do is get it professionally cleaned. This requires a mechanic removing the DPF and sending it for cleaning at a facility that has equipment that is like a huge vacuum cleaner/solvent washing machine.

In most cases, with a well maintained vehicle, this process will get your DPF back to 80% of its original condition or better (if you bought a second hand vehicle). Of course, if you have totally toasted the unit (through heat and long term blockage) this won’t work, but the average case will be good.

This will only cost you a fraction of the cost of a new one and is still cheaper than buying a second hand unit.

It will cost you;

  1. Labour for a mechanic to remove the unit
  2. Courier to deliver to the cleaning facility and back
  3. Cleaning cost
  4. Labour to put the unit back in.

If you are handy with automotive stuff, maybe you can remove it yourself, but it is a lot quicker when done by a professional with an auto shop lift and tools. The turn-around time for cleaning a DPF from anywhere in New Zealand including removal and sending is usually about a week or less. Remove and send one day, clean within 48 hours, receive and refit within 24 hours.

The key is planning for this and booking your mechanic ahead of time – don’t leave it till its too late!