Diesel has had a difficult few years, but an extremely popular technology is striving to give this fuel a makeover and keep diesel vehicles viable. The application of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) resulted in a technological milestone. Many of these systems employ diesel exhaust fluid or DEF. So, what exactly is this DEF? Let’s find out.
What Is Diesel Exhaust Fluid?
DEF is a combination of deionized water and urea sprayed into the exhaust system of diesel automobiles to convert nitrous oxide into nitrogen and water vapor. This technology, known as selective catalytic reduction (SCR), and car makers deployed it in 2010 to fulfill Environmental Protection Agency emissions limits. This method meets the regulations without sacrificing engine performance or fuel economy. DEF is not a gasoline additive, and it is stored in a separate tank within the vehicle.
DEF is required for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with diesel engines manufactured after 2010. The vehicle will inject DEF into the exhaust system to fulfill emissions rules. The engine’s performance will be diminished or the vehicle’s speed will be impaired if the vehicle runs out of DEF.
How Often Should You Refill Your DEF Tank ?
This question primarily depends on the diesel vehicle in question and its fuel efficiency. Per original equipment manufacturers, regardless of the load, an average light-duty truck would require 2-3 gallons of DEF every 800 miles. However, most modern vehicles with an average of 20 mpg or above will travel 8,000 to 10,000 miles on a full tank of DEF, which is typically 10 gallons. Each truck is unique; for instance, a Ram truck has a gauge that shows the amount of DEF left in the truck, GM has a digital reading, and Ford has a primary low DEF indicator.
Where Can I Purchase DEF?
Remember, DEF is not available everywhere. Truck stops typically sell DEF in large bottles holding numerous gallons of fluid. Some gas stations may stock DEF, but don’t bank on it. Remember the engine will shut down instantly if you do not replace an empty DEF tank. Some notable places to buy DEF are Travel Centers of America, Target, Walmart, Love’s Travel Stop, Flying J Truck Stops, SAPP Brothers, Pilot Travel Centers, Petro Stopping Centers, NAPA, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts.
How Long Does Diesel Exhaust Fluid Last?
DEF or diesel exhaust fluid has a two-year shelf life. However, how long it will last is subjective as it evaporates if subjected to temperatures above 86°F (30°C) or to direct sunlight for an extended period. All DEF packaging should have an expiration date. If you have expired DEF, you can mix it with water at a 1:10 ratio and spray it in your garden.
The market will not ditch diesel anytime soon. We rely heavily on diesel-powered automobiles. So, until we are ready to eliminate internal combustion entirely, we must continue to innovate. Our goal should be to keep things as clean as possible using advancements like diesel exhaust fluid.