Posted by: motorvationsaab | October 24, 2011

Saab Diesel Particlulate Filter Problems?

Diesel Particle, or particulate, filters (DPF) becoming blocked in the Saab 9-3 is becoming more and more of a problem. This occurs with the cars fitted with the 1.9L Diesel where the filter is fitted, and where the cars are used for repeated short journeys, or spend a lot of time sitting at idle in traffic.

We have put together this article to try to and help folk understand the problem, and, using the tips below ,be able to reduce the chances of their car being affected.

Why do the cars have them?

Simply it is to reduce exhaust emissions.. Since 2006 most Diesel vehicles have them fitted and legislation is in place to make the fitment compulsory to all new vehicles.

What is a DPF?

A diesel particulate filter, sometimes called a DPF, is a device designed to remove diesel particulate matter or soot from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine. A diesel-powered vehicle equipped with a functioning filter will emit no visible smoke from its exhaust pipe. In addition to collecting the particulate, a method exists to clean the filter. This is known as “filter regeneration”. Regeneration is designed to burn off the accumulated particulate matter. Regeneration takes place, automatically (or passively), on motorway-type runs in which the exhaust temperature is high (somewhere between 350ºC and 500ºC).  As the exhaust is so hot it becomes hot enough to ignite the soot particles.

A surprisingly large number of people don’t take their cars anywhere near a motorway so passive regeneration is only going to be possible once in a  blue moon. We have found the problem has mainly been occurring in cars that are driven short distances, ( school runs etc). As a result the car never really gets hot enough for the cars systems to initiate the automatic regeneration process that cleans the filter. The result is that the filters become blocked, the “check engine “ light comes on and there is a gradual loss of power.

 Replacement of the filter is an expensive exercise, usually in the region of £1000.

Tips to keep your filter clean.

If your car is used for short journeys.

  • Every week or so take the car out for a run up your local bypass or short motorway stretch for roughly half an hour at motorway speeds. Occasional harder driving in lower gears should be sufficient to burn off the soot.
  • Use a fuel additive that will enable the cars regeneration process to occur at lower temperatures. Diesel particulate matter burns when temperatures above 600 degrees Celsius are attained. This temperature can be reduced to somewhere in the range of 350 to 450 degrees Celsius by use of a fuel borne catalyst.
  • Avoid the continuous use of “supermarket” diesel.
  • If you suspect the filter may be blocked, a Dealer or Specialist has the computer to carry out a manual or forced regeneration
  • In the event of a completely blocked filter we now have some equipment and a treatment that can clean it, which is much much cheaper than replacement. Call us on 01892 825208 for more information.


  1. Dear Sir,
    I have 2006 DIT SAAB.I have had accelaration problem.I replaced The engine inlet manifold has been replaced as the flaps had gone but the problem existed than replaced the EGR VALVE and fuel heating resistances(4 ea).ı ALSO REPLACED MFD (ON İNLET OF AİR FİLTER ,Air flow sensor)Now its a little better but even the AC İS NOT ON,WHEN I STEP ON GAS,car starts to moving very slowly until 1600 RPM,after 1600-1700 rpm,it speeds up so quickly and so powerfull that you can not imagine.İt slams me back in to the seat with high g force. but its dissaster until 1600 rpm..Blocked DPF MAY THE REASON ı drowe hard on manual couple of times,but still its not accelareting What shall I do Your answer will be apriciated.

    Best regards


    • To be honest at this stage the car needs to be put on Tech2 and any fault codes interrogated and live data assessed.I assume that all the parts fitted were new.


  2. Saab Diesel Particlulate Filter Problems? Motorvation Saab’s Blog, was a awesome blog title to give this post. Where may I actually browse even more with regards to this?


  3. By Any Chance, do you have more blogposts
    like this particular 1 called, Saab Diesel Particlulate Filter Problems?
    Motorvation Saab’s Blog? I just want to read through even more regarding it. Thanks.


  4. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and
    also the rest of the site is extremely good.


  5. Hi

    May I suggest that anyone with a DPF problem check that they have the latest software installed. We have a 2007 9.3 1.9TiD convertible which gave us DPF problems until an independent specialist here in the West Midlands updated the software. When this senses a drop in back pressure caused by clogging in the DPF it prompts a regeneration. I was in communication with Honest John about this who then immediately changed the advice on his site so it looks like he agrees on this point!


  6. Hi I have Saab 95 1.9 deisel 2006 with Dpf issues, I brought the car not knowing about the problem but the condition and miles (70k) suggests that only been used for short journeys, I have had read up on the infamous problem and have learnt how to control it but would love to get it sorted.
    If not been on a high speed run it will drop in performance, mpg and blow out white smoke if I take up to 2500rpm ( I think this is starting to regenerate?) if I turn engine off it seems to reset and drives fine, until I go to 2500rpm again,WHICH IS A PAIN. if I take on a motorway as you say at speed the mpg drops but I can feel this is fully regenerating take about 30 mins then mpg goes back up and runs fine. This will then last for about 300 miles and then start to play up again. I’m using the car as a taxi so as you can image every 3 days I’m struggling with this.

    Your information is great and wondered if you have a resolution to my pain !!! I love the car and would love to get sorted.
    Steve in kent


    • Hi Steve.
      I would be looking to check the EGR valve operation, the swirl flap operation in the inlet manifold, the condition of the DPF and rectify any faults found. If all was Ok, then I would recommend a forced full regeneration and regular use of an additive that reduces the temperature required for an automatic regeneration, and possibly an injector clean. If you would like to discuss the problem please call us on 01892 825208.


  7. I have 2006 9-3 TID. I have been experiencing blocked dpf. I have used several times FBC IT WORKES PERFECT.But it blocked again. My question is if I use always FBC by adding in to fuel to be able to burn soots and carbon particules in lower temps around 300 degrees,rather than 600,will it cause any problem to engine?


    • No it shouldn’t cause any problems. You do need to get the car out on a bypass or motorway at around 2-3000 rpm and keep it there for a few minutes, this allows the car to regenerate the Dpf if is getting blocked.


  8. I have 2007 9-3 TiD and I experience loss of power occasionally. I do around 30 miles on daily basis on motorway so I thought I should not have this problem. Will it be ok to do higher revs e.g. 2-2.5 on 4th gear to burn soots and to regenerate DPF?


    • Yes no problem. If you can run he between 2500-3000 for a few minutes you will achieve the conditions required for the car to automatically regenerate if it needs to.


  9. I have 04 1.9 TDI Saab vector and when I driven up to hill engine starts losing power , from 6 gear to 4 th gear I have to go down to stabilize 100 km. Also when starting car used to pull strongly but now very slow? What could be problem


    • It is impossible to do anything but guess without a proper diagnosis. My thought would be that the most likely issue is a blocked Dpf, or possibly a faulty EGR valve.


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