Replacing your diesel vehicle’s EGR cooler isn’t cheap—depending on your make, model, and local rates, prices for a basic removal and replacement can range from $500 to well over $1,500. Cost aside, the job is tedious and can take as long as 8 hours, even for a skilled technician, which means you’ll be out of a ride for at least a full working day.
Needless to say, if you can avoid replacing your EGR cooler or encountering any other issues with the EGR system in your vehicle, you definitely should. In today’s post we’re going to discuss how your EGR system works, why the system is prone to clogging, and what to do about it so that you can save yourself a whole heap of money and time.
Let’s dive in with the basics:
The Purpose of Your EGR System & How it Works
EGR stands for exhaust gas recirculation. This system’s primary function is to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines, but it also offers a few other benefits to drivers, especially those with spark ignition engines (SI engines). The EGR system in an SI engine helps vaporize liquid fuels and thus reduces the necessity of fuel enrichment. For all engine types where an EGR system is found, drivers will usually also be able to enjoy a certain degree of knock resistance and ignition quality for some fuel types.
In a nutshell, your EGR system provides several different benefits and is a very necessary component of your vehicle. However, this system can be prone to clogging. Let’s take a moment to discuss why that happens and how to recognize the early warning signs of a clogged EGR system—which, as we discussed at the beginning of this post, is pretty important if you want to avoid a big repair bill.
Why EGR Systems Get Clogged & Symptoms to Look For
If you consider the purpose of an EGR system—to reduce NOx emissions—then it’s not a stretch to imagine what happens when that system gets clogged. That’s right; those emissions are fed back into your engine. This, as you can imagine, is potentially problematic and can lead to even more problems in other components of the engine.
Over time, particulates and other debris can build up in the EGR system, particularly in the valves, cooler, and pathways of the unit.
Now that you understand how clogging occurs, let’s pause for a moment to discuss a quick but important note: many diesel owners (particularly on popular internet forums) have been known to use or promote the use of “EGR delete kits,” which remove the EGR system from the vehicle entirely in a misguided attempt to resolve these issues.
Using an EGR removal or “delete” kit is a terrible idea for a number of reasons, and not just because it’ll set off your “check engine” light—perhaps the most important one is that removing your EGR system is illegal. If that’s not enough to motivate you(!), know that the removal of the EGR system will cause your engine to not run anywhere near as cool or as clean, your vehicle will cause more pollution, and you may cause more damage to other parts of your vehicle.
With that out of the way, let’s get back to the topic at hand and quickly cover how to recognize a potentially clogged EGR system:
- Slow, rough, or otherwise difficult acceleration
- Reduced fuel efficiency
- Difficulty or outright failure of turbocharger
- EGR trouble codes
If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, here’s what to do about it:
The Solution: BG’s Diesel EGR System Service
The easiest way to maintain and restore your diesel vehicle’s EGR system is with BG’s all-inclusive service. The BG Diesel EGR System Service is performed in two parts.
The technician working on your diesel vehicle will use the BG Diesel EGR System Rinse product alongside the BG Diesel EGR System Cleaner, which is installed using the BG 64 Diesel VIA supply tool. This tool is a must-have, because it helps avoid engine teardown—saving technicians and customers a substantial amount of time.
In addition to reducing emissions, this full service also restores fuel economy, improves cold start, and smooths out the idle. This is accomplished by the removal of deposits from the cooler, valves, and other components of your EGR system.