If you are familiar with the Euro 6 Emissions Standards and the more stringent ‘real world’ testing for emissions and harmful particulates you’ll understand the car manufacturers quest for cleaner new cars and in particular cleaner diesels.
If you a buying a new diesel car there’s a very good chance it will be equipped with an AdBlue system. Lots of leading manufacturers are embracing the technology including Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, Peugeot, Citroen etc. Often there will be a clue if the technology is present in a vehicle with the use of words like ‘Blue’ and/or ‘SCR’ to describe the model, derivative or engine.
Diesel cars have been under the microscope in recent years with a lot of emphasis on harmful NOx emissions and particulates which are a bi-product of diesel engines. These are harmful to the environment and have been linked with causing health issues too.
What Is AdBlue And How Does It Work?
AdBlue is a water-based solution that breaks-down harmful NOx emissions which are a bi-product of diesel engines.
AdBlue is NOT a fuel additive, the solution is stored and filled-up via its separate reservoir/tank.
New diesels are equipped with systems that inject AdBlue solution into the exhaust system at high temperatures, the process is called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR).
At high temperatures the AdBlue solution is converted into an ammonia-based vapor that reacts with harmful NOx emissions.
The chemical reaction results in NOx emissions being converted to water and harmless oxygen and nitrogen gases.
Manufacturers say AdBlue technology can reduce harmful NOx emissions by as much as 90% whilst also seeing a gain in fuel efficiency with as much as a 5% increase in mpg.
Filling Up And Monitoring AdBlue Levels
Where Can I purchase AdBlue And What Does It Cost?
You can purchase AdBlue from garages, service stations, car accessory and auto shops and it is readily available to buy online.
Expect to pay around £1.00 to £1.50 per litre of AdBlue (the larger volumes will be cheaper, for example 10 litres can be purchased for around £10 if you shop around). A lot of the smaller bottles do have a handy design that means they can screw directly on to your reservoir filler making them mess free and easy to use.
There are also blue pumps usually located next to diesel fuel pumps appearing in increasing numbers at garages and service stations around the UK, how much you’ll need to fuill-up with depends on your tank size which can anyhting from 5-20 litres.
How do I fill up with AdBlue?
AdBlue has its own separate reservoir/tank and you will usually you’ll find a blue filler cap next to your diesel filler. If you are unsure consult your vehicle owner’s manual or get assistance. Some manufacturers have chosen less conspicuous locations, like under the boot floor, with some even hiding the refill cap away under the spare wheel. The key is to look for the distinctive blue cap.
What if I put ABblue in the fuel tank?
Never put AdBlue directly into your fuel tank as it can cause damage to your fuel tank, pump and injection system which could be very expensive to rectify. Furthermore, if you start the engine after putting Adblue into the fuel tank, the results could be catastrophic and you could have a potential write-off on your hands.
What happens if I put diesel in the AdBlue tank?
If you put diesel fuel into the Adblue tank, do NOT turn the ignition or start the engine as it could cause serious damage to the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) and AdBlue injection system which will not be cheap to repair. Immediately call for assistance, if you have breakdown cover, call the RAC, AA, Green Flag etc for help.
How long does AdBlue last?
Obviously it will depend on how much mileage you do, the type of vehicle and how much stress you put the vehicle under. The AA guidelines state that consumption of one litre of AdBlue can range from 350-650 miles of travel.
Obviously, the size of the AdBlue tanks vary from one vehicle to another too, so refills could be anything between 3,000 to 12,000 miles.
How Will I Know When I’m running Low?
All vehicles that are equipped with AdBlue technology will have warning lights and/or level indicators, if the warning light come on (typically a yellow light) you are into your reserves.
What If I run out of AdBlue?
Once you see the yellow warning light you are into your reserves, don’t go in to a blind panic but don’t put-off filling up the AdBlue tank for too long either.
If you run out of AdBlue completely you will typically see a red light. Once the ‘empty’ red light has kicked in, you will not be able to restart the vehicle after switching the engine off, so head straight for a garage or auto store. Around 5 litres should be enough to make sure your car will restart again if you completely exhaust the AdBlue tank.