DPF removal still a big problem

Thousands of garages still offering deletion services

Published:  21 October, 2015

Despite a government crackdown last year, a large number of garages are still offering DPF removal, according to a new report by the Independent on Sunday.

Air pollution from diesel particulates has been linked to 29,000 deaths a year, however the report finds garages and tuning shops are still advertising services to remove DPFs and re-programme ECUs to allow for enhanced performance, cheaper servicing or to trick emissions testing equipment.

In the wake of the VW scandal, testing authorities across Europe have been focusing on diesel engines. Last week, police in Spain raided eight garages in Madrid after a tip-off that they were removing DPFs and reprogramming software. However, in the UK, a legal loophole allows garages to remove the devices without fear of prosecution. An Independent on Sunday investigation has found that more than 1,000 garages, backstreet mechanics, and tuning firms are offering this service, often for as little as £250. It is only an offence to drive a car without a factory-fitted DPF.

The revelation that thousands of drivers are still flouting the law by having their DPF removed and accompanying software altered has dismayed clean air campaigners.

Simon Birkett, director of Clean Air in London, said the scale of DPF removal uncovered was "shocking" and added: "Frankly, at least VW had a chip, even if it cheated during testing. Removing factory-fitted DPFs involves tricking or disengaging the whole emissions chip, all the time, on gases and particles."

Chris Roberts, managing director of Quantum Tuning, which provides DPF deletion-capable software to around 300 garages and tuning firms, said garages were responding to demand from customers who don't have the money to spend on a £1,500 new filter for a car that might be worth £2,000. He told the Independent: "Either they scrap the car or get something done about it. If they are going to have it done, they may as well have it done properly by a garage that will explain what the MOT implications are, as our dealers do." Mr Roberts said many customers viewed driving without a DPF as comparable to a minor speeding offence.

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