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Everything You Should Know about Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) refers to a high quality operating fluid that is employed in combination with diesel vehicles and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology. It is a 32.5% solution of high-purity, synthetically manufactured, urea in de-mineralized water. It is located in a separate tank on the vehicle, and is easy to deal with, non-toxic and safe for use. Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) consumption is computed as a ratio of diesel fuel use, also called as the “dosing rate” or “treat rate”. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles generally have a dosing rate of 2-3%. Below are a few of the most essential things that you must know about diesel exhaust fluid.

Roles of DEF

Most diesel-powered on-road vehicles manufactured since 2010 employ SCR technology and require DEF. Some examples are heavy-duty trucks, diesel pick-ups, delivery vans, and European luxury cars. Diesel powered off-road equipment like those used for agricultural and construction has been mandated to use SCR technology since 2014.

How to Maintain DEF Purity

DEF purity is vital. One essential aspect in maintaining DEF purity and quality is the kind of dispensing system used. Closed system containers have a valve coupling system that protects the container opening on drums and totes (IBC) to prevent debris, dirt, bugs, etc from getting into the container and contaminating the DEF. On the other hand, open system containers are drums or totes that do not feature a valve insert in the container’s opening, which signifies that dirt or debris can get into the container and contaminate the DEF.

Buying DEF

Due to the fact that almost all diesel-powered passenger cars and trucks made since 2010 are equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and require DEF, it is available to be purchased at most fueling stations. Truck stops also typically have a DEF pump right on the fuel island. You can also buy DEF at most OEM shops, as well as other dealers and distributors.

Running Low on DEF

The EPA mandates all truck manufacturers to integrate some kind of staged warning system (some offer actual gauges) to make the driver know about exactly how close to empty the system is. Whether a vehicle goes into a “limp home” or lower engine power or constrains the number of times you can turn the engine on will be dependent on the specific car or truck model, but at some point it will not start. In essence, you should treat your DEF tank the same way you treat your fuel tank; you definitely do not want to leave yourself stranded because you did not pay attention to the indicators.