AdBlue: A Guide to the Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Its Role in Diesel Engines

You might've heard the term "AdBlue" buzzing around if you're thinking about purchasing a diesel vehicle or already own one. AdBlue, also known as diesel exhaust fluid, plays a crucial role in your diesel engine's performance and efficiency. 

This nifty substance has a fascinating job in making our vehicles greener, but many are still unfamiliar with what it is and how it works. That’s where Driva steps in. Let's delve into this a bit deeper, shall we?

Understanding AdBlue and its Components

AdBlue is a non-toxic, colourless liquid, specifically designed to reduce harmful emissions from diesel vehicles. This concoction comprises two main components - an aqueous urea solution and deionised water. It might sound a bit "science-y," but simply put, urea is a substance found in urine, and deionised water is just purified water.

But here's the intriguing part - the urea used in AdBlue is of an exceptional grade, purer than what you find in cosmetics or fertilisers. Similarly, the water used is demineralised, which means it's cleaner than tap water. These high standards ensure that AdBlue functions effectively in reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines.

You're probably thinking, "What about diesel cars and diesel fuel efficiency?" You're spot on! AdBlue isn't just for big trucks; it plays a crucial role in personal diesel cars as well. By assisting in reducing harmful emissions, AdBlue can indirectly enhance the efficiency of diesel fuel in your vehicle. 

Now, that's what we call a win-win!

How Much Does AdBlue Cost?

Compared to products like engine oils, AdBlue is relatively cost-effective. However, its price is subject to change, affected by branding and influenced by the energy-intense process of urea production, predominantly dependent on natural gas.

As a rough estimate, you could expect to pay up to $30 for a 2.0-litre bottle from a car dealership, and approximately $50-60 for a 10L bottle. We checked Supercheap Auto for these prices at the time of writing.

You'll also find AdBlue at auto-accessory stores, offered by brands you may recognise from their engine oils. Always verify if the product is compatible with your vehicle; if unsure, opt for AdBlue from your car manufacturer.

Remember, AdBlue can last for a year or more on the shelf, providing you with multiple refills

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    Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) Technology and AdBlue

    Let's dig a little deeper now and talk about a fancy term called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR). It sounds like jargon, but it's crucial to the AdBlue magic.

    Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology is an integral part of this emission-reducing process. Here's how it works: AdBlue is injected into the exhaust stream of your diesel engine, where it turns into ammonia and carbon dioxide. 

    These substances then interact with nitrogen oxides, breaking them down into nitrogen and water vapour, harmless gases that are released into the atmosphere.

    Imagine having a powerful little cleaning crew inside your vehicle's exhaust system, scrubbing away at the nasty stuff, that's what SCR and AdBlue are doing together! And the importance of this process cannot be overstated, especially considering the stringent emission standards set by authorities worldwide. 

    It's not just about passing emission tests; it's about keeping our environment clean for future generations.

    AdBlue and Its Role in Diesel Cars

    So, where does AdBlue come into play for diesel cars? SCR technology has been a standard in diesel engines, especially those designed to meet the Euro 6 emissions standards and beyond.

    These guidelines were developed to make cars more environmentally friendly, and without AdBlue, reaching these standards would be a tall order for our trusty diesel engines.

    But don't worry, vehicle manufacturers have got it all sorted for you. AdBlue is usually stored in a separate tank (yes, separate from your fuel tank!) in most diesel cars that meet these emissions standards. You might have seen a small blue cap near the diesel fuel filler; that's where the AdBlue goes.

    Remember, never mix up your diesel fuel and AdBlue; they serve different purposes and have different storage spots.

    An essential part of maintaining your vehicle is to ensure that your AdBlue tank is always filled. Manufacturers have designed modern cars to give you a friendly nudge with a dashboard warning light if the AdBlue is running low. Some vehicles even refuse to start if there's insufficient AdBlue, ensuring your vehicle remains eco-friendly.

    On top of this, by reducing the levels of harmful nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gases, AdBlue also aids in extending the lifespan of components like the diesel particulate filter - saving you money in services in the long run too!

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    The Use of AdBlue in Australian Cars

    Australia is no stranger to the use of AdBlue in diesel cars. You can find this technology in a range of diesel-powered vehicles from passenger cars to light commercial vehicles. If you're driving a Ford Everest, or perhaps a Land Rover Defender, then you're already a part of the AdBlue club!

    Additionally, other popular models such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volkswagen Touareg and Tiguan, and most Audi diesel SUVs use AdBlue as part of their commitment to cleaner emissions. A few diesel-powered vans, including the Ford Transit and the Mercedes-Benz Vito, are also proud members of the AdBlue family.

    In your vehicle's owner's manual, you'll find specific instructions on where and how to refill the AdBlue. When you get your car serviced, the mechanic should also check the AdBlue levels and top it up if necessary. It's just another part of the routine to keep your car running smoothly and cleanly!

    Practical Aspects of AdBlue

    Now that we've delved into the science of AdBlue, let's talk about the practical aspects. Where can you buy AdBlue? It's readily available at most fuel stations across Australia, and you'll often find AdBlue pumps located next to diesel ones. For those who require larger quantities, AdBlue is also available in bulk supply from various distributors.

    Keep in mind that not all AdBlue is created equal. Always look for products that meet quality standards, such as the International Standard ISO 22241 or those endorsed by the Verband der Automobilindustrie.

    One important point to remember is that due to increased global demand, there have been occasional short supply issues. So it's a good idea to keep your AdBlue tank topped up and perhaps keep a spare container handy for emergencies.

    Importance of AdBlue in Environmental Sustainability

    The environmental impact of AdBlue cannot be understated. By reducing harmful nitrogen oxides emissions from diesel engines, AdBlue plays a crucial role in our efforts towards environmental sustainability. The process of transforming harmful exhaust emissions into harmless nitrogen and water vapour is a significant step towards cleaner air and a healthier planet.

    As we look to the future, the importance of AdBlue in diesel engines continues to grow. With advancements in engine technology and increasing environmental consciousness, the use of AdBlue is expected to become even more widespread.

    To cap it off…

    In conclusion, AdBlue is an essential component for the modern diesel engine. Not only does it help to reduce harmful emissions significantly, but it also ensures that our vehicles run smoothly and comply with stringent environmental standards. It's an affordable solution that makes a big difference to both the performance of our vehicles and the health of our planet.

    Remember, keeping your AdBlue tank filled isn't just about avoiding that pesky warning light - it's about taking care of your vehicle and playing your part in protecting our environment for future generations.

    Thinking of buying a diesel vehicle that’ll use AdBlue but don’t have the capital? We’ve got you. Find your perfect car finance rate in only a few clicks - it’s really that easy.


    Will diesel trucks run without AdBlue?

    While diesel trucks can physically run without AdBlue, modern diesel trucks equipped with SCR technology will go into a limp mode or even stop running entirely if the AdBlue tank is empty. This is due to emission regulations compliance.

    How often do I need to refill the AdBlue in my vehicle?

    The frequency of refilling AdBlue varies based on your vehicle model and driving habits. However, a general rule is that a full tank of AdBlue should last roughly 10,000km. Always monitor your AdBlue warning light for timely refills.

    Can I refill AdBlue myself or do I need a professional service?

    Yes, you can refill the AdBlue yourself. The AdBlue tank is usually separate from the diesel tank and has a blue cap. However, ensure to follow your vehicle's owner manual for instructions to prevent any damage.

    What happens if I ignore the AdBlue warning light on my dashboard?

    Ignoring the AdBlue warning light is not recommended. If your AdBlue tank runs dry, your vehicle may limit its performance or even prevent you from starting the engine. This is a measure to comply with emissions standards.

    Can you use urine instead of AdBlue?

    No, you cannot use urine as a substitute for AdBlue. Even though AdBlue contains urea like urine does, the urea in AdBlue is of a much higher grade and purity, and is combined with deionised water. Using urine can harm your vehicle's SCR system.

    Philana Kwan

    Philana Kwan is the marketing coordinator at Driva she has a demonstrated history in customer service excellence and is knowledgeable in all things car and finance related. When she’s not working Philana enjoys learning new things and keeping up with the latest trends in marketing and technology.

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