Cause and Solution for Duramax Cleaning Exhaust Filter Reduced Engine Power Warning Message

A yellow exhaust light or a cleaning exhaust filter light on your dashboard indicates something is wrong with your exhaust system.

The message usually appears when the DPF gets blocked with fume particles, and smoke can’t escape from the exhaust smoothly.

Don’t worry. It is normal for diesel engines and easy to fix.

In this article, I have discussed possible causes of Duramax cleaning exhaust filter warning messages with solutions.

What Does It Mean When It Says Cleaning The Exhaust Filter?

The cleaning exhaust filter warning message means your vehicle’s DPF or diesel exhaust filter is blocked with particles or exhaust soot and needs to be cleaned.

The DPF reduces diesel vehicle emissions by capturing and storing exhaust soot.

The diesel exhaust filter becomes clogged when it fills with particles, causing exhaust gases to be unable to escape.

As a result, the Duramax engine power is reduced.

There is another emission control system, known as DEF or diesel exhaust fluid, introduced in 2011.

DPF and DEF purposes are almost identical.

Modern vehicles use DEF to meet EPA requirements.

What Happens If Cleaning Exhaust Filter Warning Pops Up?

Clean exhaust filter warning message pops up on the dashboard when the diesel exhaust is not working properly due to soot buildup.

Ignoring the cleaning exhaust filter warning light can lead to 06 problems:

  1. The DPF will become clogged with soot, preventing it from working efficiently
  2. Increases harmful emissions from the exhaust
  3. Reduces the performance of the vehicle’s engine
  4. The exhaust emits excessive black smoke
  5. Reduces the speed of the vehicle, and sometimes the vehicle enters limp mode
  6. Acceleration issues arise.

Duramax Cleaning Exhaust Filter Reduced Engine Power | 04 Causes with Solutions

There are 04 causes of the Duramax cleaning exhaust filter warning light, including a clogged DPF filter, driving for a short time, sensor issues, and leaks.

01. Clogged DPF Filter

Clogged DPF Filter

A clogged DPF filter is the most common cause of Duramax cleaning the exhaust filter reduced engine power warning message on the dashboard.

When the DPF is blocked with fume particles, the message appears.


You need to clean the DPF filter when the message illuminates your dashboard.

After cleaning, re-start the engine, and the warning message should disappear.

02. Short-Time Driving

Short Time Driving

This short period of driving triggers the Duramax cleaning exhaust filter warning message.

It’s difficult for your vehicle’s engine to reach its optimum temperature in a very short driving time.

As a result, diesel waste increases rapidly in the container, and the system illuminates the cleaning exhaust filter light because the filter fails to perform correctly.


Let the engine run for a while after driving for a short time.

Ensure that the engine temperature is kept at an optimum level.

03. Faulty DPF Pressure Sensor

Faulty DPF Pressure Sensor

One of the main reasons for the exhaust filter warning light to come on is a faulty DPF pressure sensor.

The DPF pressure sensor monitors soot levels.

When the sensor fails, it sends a false signal to the ECU that causes a cleaning exhaust warning.


Replacing the sensor is the most effective method of solving the problem.

It will cost you about $230 to $260, including labor costs.

If you hire a professional mechanic to fix the sensor, the cost is almost the same, and there is no guarantee that the sensor will be fixed.

That’s why I recommend replacing the faulty brake sensor.

04. Exhaust Leaks

Exhaust Leaks

When there is a small air leak in the exhaust system, a message may appear indicating that the exhaust filter needs to be cleaned.

Other problems can arise from leaks, such as increased maintenance costs.

In this case, check the exhaust system for leaks when the message appears.

The message may also appear when the vehicle exhaust nuts loosen due to prolonged driving.


Fix any leaks in the exhaust system and make sure it’s working properly.

To prevent leaks, tighten the exhaust nuts properly.

Here’s how to remove Duramax cleaning exhaust filter warnings.


What are the symptoms of a blocked DPF filter?

A blocked DPF sensor causes these symptoms:

  • Decreases fuel efficiency
  • Poor throttle response
  • Reduced engine power
  • Excessive black smoke

Can DPF filter cause loss of power?

Yes, when your vehicle’s DPF is blocked with exhaust soot or particles, it reduces engine power.

You will get a notification on your vehicle’s dashboard.

Read More:

Final Thoughts

You should avoid driving your vehicle at high speeds and revving when the cleaning exhaust filter warning appears on the dashboard.

Your vehicle will enter limp mode if you continue to drive with the warning message.

To ensure safe driving, diagnose and fix the issue to remove the warning.

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