EATS System Fault: Causes & Fixes

The global advocacy for the reduction of particulate emissions and nitrogen oxides is growing innovation in the automobile industry. Today, auto automakers are integrating eco-friendly features into the engine exhaust of their product lineups. Volvo and Mack Truck engines rely on the exhaust after-treatment system (EATS) technology to ensure safety and emission protocols.

EATS System Fault- Explained

When you hear EATS, it’s not time to eat the Funfetti Cake common in Phoenix. The exhaust after-treatment system (EATS, in short) is a vehicle system that sifts through and reduces exhaust emissions.

The EATS of diesel engines consists of a diesel exhaust fluid injector and mixer, a diesel particulate filter, and a diesel oxidation catalyst. All these combine to help reduce the amount of emission that mixes with the atmospheric air. 

Once the EATS of a vehicle has a fault, it responds by putting up an indication on the display panel. This promptly alerts the car owner or driver that the system has failed. You don’t want to risk these warning indicators and error codes. You must deal with them in a timely fashion. Else, your car may experience downtime and the associated cost may be catastrophic.

Several components make up the entire after-treatment system of a vehicle, but the specifics depend largely on the emission standards of your engine model. 

Discussing the causes of the failure of the EATS system is critical.  

So, why does EATS System fail?

That’s a brilliant question, I must say. Several things can cause a vehicle’s after-treatment systems to malfunction, and I will talk about a few of them in this section.

Boost Air leaks in the Intake

One of the culprits of an EATS System failure is air leaks in the intake. If air leaks out of the intake or after-treatment plumbing, the engine combustion is the victim. The engine will release excessive exhaust, giving the diesel particulate filter (DPF) and diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) too much soot to deal with. As a result, the exhaust may begin to manifest some unusually characteristic changes. 

A malfunctioning EGR valve

The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve is another suspect when the EATS system fault message comes up. The EGR valve helps control the flow of re-circulated or finely metered exhaust gas. The type of EGR valve depends on the car. Once the EGR valve fails, exhaust gases can find their way into the combustion chamber at odd times. 

Blocked DEF Filter

If the diesel exhaust fluid filter, also called the diesel particulate filter, gets blocked, the rate of exhaust emission increases. The result is that the engine performance becomes stifled. When this happens, your car goes into limp-home mode.  

Failing DEF pump

A failing diesel exhaust filter pump can cause high or low pressure. When this happens, your car engine will refuse to start or stall when you turn the engine on. A low-pressure DEF pump may trigger an indicator light on the dash, showing a low fuel pressure failure code. 

Other things you should look for as possible causes include:

  • Faulty temperature sensor
  • When there is a fault with the DPF filter
  • Faulty air flow sensor 
  • DOC filter 
  • A malfunctioning Nox Inlet or outlet sensor
  • Problem with the ACR filter or ACM
  • A faulty oil/fuel filter.

EATS System Failure- How You Can Fix It

Once you recognize the cause, the next big thing is to know how to fix the problem. A faulty after-treatment system may often result from a major fault in the car engine or operator mishandling. 

Other times it may be a ghost fault that results from a technical error on the manufacturer’s part. Whichever it is, I will talk about a few steps to restore your car’s EATS System to its normal function.

Find and Fix Air Leaks

One of the most effective ways to fix an after-treatment system failure is to find and fix an unmetered air leak. Therefore make it your routine to carry out a regular air leak test on your vehicle. It is as important as gauging an engine’s fuel and oil level before using it.

Always Prioritize Engine Health

Even as humans, many of us follow the saying health is wealth; therefore, make it your habit always to check out your vehicle’s engine health. You should closely monitor some components like DEF and DPF because once the DEF quality is poor, it will no doubt cause problems. 

So if you detect any fault or corrosion, you can quickly change and purchase good quality DEF to avoid future trouble. You should also make it a goal to monitor the oil consumption level because once it begins to consume too much oil, ash can plug the DPF. 

In addition, a coolant leak can poison the EATS System, so it’s best to be on guard against it. If you detect any leak, take it for repairs without delay.

Make Regular Maintenance a Habit 

As a car owner, you should always be alert to spot potential dangers that can harm your engine. Others may think, is that not the job of the mechanics and experts? Well, one certain thing is that experts have a role to play when a fault arises. 

However, you also have the important part of preventing the preventable cause. Prevention, they say, is better than cure. If you refuse to maintain your engine, no repairs can keep it in good order. 

One thing to watch out for is fuel injection system faults, and also check if the air filters are dirty. Why? It often restricts airflow. It is also important to check if the turbocharger oil seal is still intact, as it could be the culprit if it leaks. 

A Wrap

Cars are like humans; if you treat them well, they will serve you well and not break down easily. In this article, I have discussed a common problem that plagues vehicle engines: EATS system failure. I briefly explained what it means, the causes, how to avoid it, and to fix it.

Ignoring this system failure can be costly. Taking proactive measures can help you reduce engine exhaust downtime flowing from after-treatment system failures.

Supposing you follow these few steps, especially on the causes and avoiding the problem. In that case, you will enjoy your vehicle and escape the after-treatment system failure in the best way possible.

  • James Smith

    I'm James Smith, a car enthusiast and a content writer for Daily Car Tips. I have a passion for all things cars, from classic muscle cars to the latest electric vehicles. When I'm not writing about cars, you can usually find me tinkering with my car or checking out the latest automotive trends.

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