Does the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Have a Diesel Particle Filter (DPF)?


From: Nathan

Firstly, many thanks for your time.

I have a 2011 diesel Forester (it's done 150,000km) that I do a daily 220km commute. 190 of those kilometres are on moving freeway. I certainly shouldn't get any DPF issues as its not doing school and shopping trips.

However, the DPF light is flashing every 5000km, meaning I need to book it into the dealer about once a month, and I'm just waiting for them to slog me a quote of several thousand dollars for a new DPF.

I love the diesel for the daily distance I do, need something to tow over a tonne, and a wagon. Slightly higher ride is good for my local roads too, so I'm looking at a Santa Fe diesel.

Does the 2014 Santa Fe have a DPF? I haven't been able to find much on the Net to answer this. 


Hello Nathan,

I couldn't find much about it on the internets either, so I asked Hyundai. According to Bill Thomas, Hyundai Australia's PR boss, the Hyundai Santa Fe does not have a diesel particle filter.

DPFs are not required under Australian law. Vehicles can meet Australian emissions laws without them.

Problem with DPFs

There’s been a meteoric rise in the sale of light diesel vehicles on Australian roads. When you add diesel cars to diesel SUVs the growth is staggering: up from about 92,000 new diesel vehicles sold in 2008 to more than 164,000 in 2013. That’s a rise of almost 80 per cent.

Diesels offer staggering economy compared with petrol – typically 30 per cent more, as well as three to four times the torque production of a petrol engine at 2000rpm, which explains why they seem so strong in the mid-range.

But diesels have a problem in our increasingly urbanized environments. The exhaust contains ultra-fine particles, which health experts warn are dangerous for us to breathe.

For this reason, manufacturers increasingly incorporate diesel particle filtration into the exhaust systems of modern diesel vehicles. Unlike many other filters, which become clogged and need to be replaced routinely, diesel particle filters (DPFs) regenerate in service – or, at least, that’s the theory.

What this means in practice is that the vehicle’s DPF traps these potentially harmful particles and waits until the operating conditions are right. When the exhaust system heats up, the filter then ‘regenerates’ – it burns the particles away. In theory, the DPF is maintenance-free.

However, many DPFs in service today just don’t get the opportunity to regenerate. The vehicle needs regular highway running to heat up sufficiently – and many owners just don’t achieve that because short stop/start runs around town are all that they do.

According to Ausstats, driving in Australia is increasingly urbanized. Passenger vehicles Down Under drove almost 170 billion kilometres in 2012 (that’s a bit over four million laps of planet earth…) and 125 billion of those kilometres was driven in urban areas. Three-quarters of the driving we do in Australia is in built-up areas – and that’s an average. It means many of us never – or at least infrequently – get out on the open road.

DPFs that don’t get out on the open road don’t regenerate. They get clogged up – that hurts performance and triggers a fault in the engine operating system. In some cases, the engine enters ‘limp home’ mode, leaving owners virtually stranded, and in other cases an engine-check or other warning light on the instrument panel activates. In either case, an inconvenient, expensive and/or time-consuming trip to the dealership for DPF cleaning, manual regeneration or replacement, is soon to follow.

If more diesel vehicle owners scheduled in a 30-minute drive on the highway every fortnight, the problem would almost certainly go away – but the fact is, people just don’t use their cars in this way. 

Cleaning the DPF Could Prolong its Life

The simplest option, on vehicles that have not yet become problematic, is to pre-emptively treat the vehicle with a standard dose of Liqui-Moly DPF Anti-Clog in every third tank of fuel. Liqui-Moly DPF Anti-Clog is specifically formulated to prolong DPF life in vehicles used predominately in stop/start conditions by promoting efficient combustion and reducing particle build-up. It certainly beats having the family car enter limp-home mode in the middle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge…

For vehicles that have suffered significant build-up of soot in the DPF, use Liqui-Moly Pro-Line DPF cleaner. Instead of the high cost of DPF replacement, Liqui-Moly Pro-Line DPF Cleaner is a cleverly designed, integrated cleaning system that allows the filter to be professionally cleaned in 30-60 minutes – without any need to remove the filter from the vehicle. Access to the filter’s internal parts is afforded through pressure or temperature ports in the exhaust system, using the Pro-Line DPF Cleaner’s specialized tooling. The process is a two-part cleaning and flushing approach, with the product delivered directly onto the filter’s surface. Step one involves dissolving encrusted soot using the cleaning solution, and step two enables flushing the dissolved soot sufficiently to allow exhaust gas to facilitate a conventional regeneration. This is something you'd get done at a mechanical workshop.

Liqui-Moly Pro-Line DPF Cleaner was awarded ‘Best New Product for Import Cars’ at last year’s Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada – the world’s largest annual aftermarket trade fair.

Together, these products from Liqui-Moly form an integrated, two-system approach to the problem of particle filter congestion in modern diesels. Liqui-Moly DPF Anti-Clog is used as a preventative measure, while Liqui-Moly Pro-Line DPF Cleaner cost-effectively cures the problem in filters that have become clogged as a consequence of excessive stop/start operation.

More on Liqui-Moly products.

DPF Deletion Services

You can potentially delete the DPF from the exhaust system, although this is a somewhat specialised job. Chip Tuning, based in Londonderry (on Sydney's western outskirts) has several DPF delete options for problematic vehicles. It's something you might want to consider - but depending on how and where you use the vehicle, deleting the DPF could be illegal. (This is perverse, because current emissions regulations don't require them to be fitted...)

More on Chip Tuning's DPF deletion options.

See also:

Hyundai Santa Fe Elite CRDi Video Review and Road Test