Basal Plane Dislocations (BPD) in SiC are thought to cause degradation of bipolar devices as they can trigger the formation and expansion of stacking faults during device operation. Therefore, epilayers without any BPD are strongly recommended for the achievement of long-term reliable bipolar devices. Such epilayers can be achieved by supporting the conversion of BPD into Threading Dislocations (TD), which depends on the epitaxial growth mode (as described in literature). In this work, the influence of several pre-treatments of the SiC substrate prior to epitaxial growth and different epitaxial growth parameters on the reduction of the BPDs in the SiC epilayers was investigated on 4° off-axis substrates. The dislocation content in substrates and epilayers was determined by Defect Selective Etching (DSE) in molten KOH. The averaged BPD density in epitaxial layers can be reduced to < 100 cm-2 for substrate preparation techniques and to < 30 cm-2 for well-suited epitaxial growth parameters. A certain combination of epitaxial growth parameters leads to < 3 BPD/cm2 in the epitaxial layer.