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Fuel Efficiency

AdBlue: What is it and how does it impact me?

11th December 2017 | morphsites Support

In a continuous battle to drive down emissions, the latest breakthrough Manufacturers have mostly settled on is an aqueous solution called “AdBlue”, below we look at what AdBlue is and how it will impact you as a diesel vehicle driver.

If you drive a modern diesel car or van you may have noticed a filler cap labelled ‘AdBlue’ next to, or near your vehicle’s fuel cap. You may not have noticed this, especially if you haven’t had your new car for long. Drivers who cover a lot of miles, however, have found that refilling their AdBlue tank has become a new maintenance job to add to their list – although topping up is a simple and straightforward process.

AdBlue has come to be used as manufacturers were forced to tackle the issue of harmful Nitrogen Oxide emissions from diesel vehicles in a bid to comply with new emission regulations called “EURO 6”. Most Manufacturers, including the main German Marques (BMW, Mercedes and the Volkswagen Group – including Audi) have found that ‘selective catalytic reduction’ (SCR) technology is very effective at getting their diesel engines to meet Euro 6 targets. SCR works by injecting minute amounts of the urea+water solution into exhaust gases to dissipate and breakdown the Nitrogen Oxide into separate quantities of Nitrogen and Oxygen, this solution is most commonly known by the brand name AdBlue. Where Mercedes vehicles bear the BlueTEC badge and Citroens with BlueHDi engines utilise AdBlue as a means to reduce their Nitrogen Oxide emissions.

If you drive a diesel vehicle, and you’re unsure whether your car uses SCR technology and AdBlue, have a look in the vehicle handbook, then check to see if there’s an AdBlue filler cap where the manual indicates it should be. Most vehicles will have the AdBlue located next to or very near to the diesel fuel cap, however, other vehicles have the AdBlue filler location hidden under carpet in the cabin itself, so be sure to have a look around for it.

If your car does use AdBlue, there will be a time when the fluid needs at least topping up so it is well worth noting where the filler cap for it is in your vehicle. Another thing to note is that the solution will degrade over time and won’t just deplete through use, an idea of how much solution will be used is roughly 1.5 litres per 600-650 miles covered, however if you drive the vehicle hard or fast this will impact the consumption level of AdBlue. When the time comes to top up your AdBlue, be careful! Although AdBlue is a non-toxic solution, it is corrosive and can cause irritation to your skin, eyes and lungs so be sure to wash your hands after filling to avoid ingestion or contamination. In addition, be sure to rinse and wipe any spills off the bodywork as quickly as possible, due to it’s corrosive nature AdBlue can damage paintwork.

Noting the above you are probably wondering whether or not it would be an idea to keep some AdBlue in your boot “just in case”, this isn’t recommended as if there are any spills or worse still, leaks of the fluid, this could damage the interior of your car. It is also worth noting once you have filled up with AdBlue, if you have some leftover in a bottle don’t store it in the garage or house, overtime the solution will degrade and the chemical composition will be changed by airbourne contaminents, rendering it unsuitable for use.

So how much will AdBlue set you back? Some Manufacturers include AdBlue top ups in their servicing, but this isn’t guaranteed across the board and depending on the volume which your car can hold, isn’t guaranteed to get you through until your next service. AdBlue is now widely available, if you want to buy in bulk – 10 litre quantities can be purchased online through the likes of Amazon and eBay, smaller quantities can be purchased from car accessory shops such as Halfords or your local equivalent. It usually costs around £1 per litre, but in smaller quantities can cost a little more, for example the refill bottles which you can buy from the dealerships are £1.50 (on average) for a one litre bottle.

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