AdBlue: if you are driving one of the latest clean emission Euro6 diesel cars, no doubt you’ve already topped up the special tank on your new car with the additive. But what is this new substance if you haven’t come across it before, why is it important to the well-being of your vehicle and how often should you have to add it to keep it in tip-top condition? Here we explain in detail the do’s and don’ts of using AdBlue.
New Euro6 emissions regulations for diesel cars came into effect from September 2015 (a year later for vans) and were introduced to target a host of harmful gases linked to respiratory disease.
The new rules especially focus on nitrogen oxides (NOx) and cut the permissible limits for NOx from 180mg/km to just 80mg/km. The aim is to reduce these harmful emissions, thereby limiting the impact on the environment and public health.
Many major European cities, including London and Paris, are currently looking at banning diesels at certain times and on certain days that don’t meet the Euro6 regulations.
To meet the new targets, vehicle manufacturers have largely turned to a process known as Selective Catalytic Reduction which involves the injection of a Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) into existing gas circulatory systems and which assists in the breakdown of harmful NOx. This DEF is commonly known as AdBlue.
Clean Air Zones, such as London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, require diesel cars and vans to be Euro6, otherwise a daily charge is required to enter the zone.
What is AdBlue?
AdBlue is actually a synthetic urea which works by turning nitrogen oxide into harmless steam and nitrogen. It is stored in a tank, like fuel, and an increasing number of diesel vehicles, but typically those with larger engines, are being fitted with AdBlue tanks. However, certain manufacturers may refer to it simply as ‘Emissions Additive’.
AdBlue is not injected into the engine as a fuel additive. It is added to the catalyst system in the car’s exhaust system.
AdBlue is consumed in proportion to engine usage. It is estimated that a passenger car will consume approximately 1.5 litres of AdBlue for every 620 miles. The size of AdBlue tanks vary, too, so when you need to top up depends on your driving style, the number of miles you cover, and the size of the tank. A dashboard warning light will let you know when it is time to top up.
Use of AdBlue has been common on trucks and buses since 2006 following the introduction of Euro4 regulations for those vehicle classes.
Whose responsibility is it to top-up with AdBlue?
AdBlue is considered a consumable similar to fuel. Therefore it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure the AdBlue tank is kept topped up and to pay any costs associated with doing so. AdBlue must never be added to fuel. AdBlue is always stored in a completely separate tank. However, in many vehicles the AdBlue filler will be located next to the fuel filler.
It should also be noted that any damage incurred through the misuse of AdBlue such as adding it to either petrol or diesel tanks, or a breakdown resulting from low AdBlue levels, will not be covered under maintenance or recovery arrangements.
Maintained leasing contracts do not cover AdBlue costs. However certain lease providers will top up AdBlue as part of a routine service.
Drivers should make themselves aware of their responsibilities by consulting their vehicle handbook.
Lookout for Using AdBlue Part 2 – The Dos & Don’ts
Source: Fleet Alliance