Drivers warned over AdBlue refills

Published 10 January 2015

Company car and van drivers could end up stranded if they fail to act on a warning light to top up on diesel exhaust fluid, according to a fleet management company.

An increasing number of fleet operators will be taking delivery of diesel vehicles that comply with new Euro 6 emissions rules. Many of these use diesel exhaust fluid - known widely as AdBlue - to reduce exhaust gases and ensure the vehicles comply.

Vehicles that require AdBlue will have warning lights to alert the driver that the diesel exhaust fluid reservior will need refilling. Consumption of the fluid will vary according to the fuel consumption of the vehicle.

Gil Kelly, operations director of Venson Automotive Solutions, said: "Motor manufacturers are fitting [some] diesel vehicles with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to meet Euro 6 emission standards, which focus on the reduction of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) which is more prevalent in diesel than petrol-engined models,”

“These new-generation low emission diesel models use AdBlue, which is continuously sprayed into the exhaust gas, upstream of the catalytic converter to assist in the breakdown of harmful NOx.

"The problem is, if the AdBlue fluid runs out, the vehicle won’t start.”

If a car is equipped with SCR technology it will have an AdBlue tank. The location of the tank varies across manufacturers and from model to model, but is often close to the diesel tank or in the boot, under the carpet, or in the engine compartment. It can usually by identified by a blue cover.

Kelly added: "Manufacturers will typically top up the tank at time of service, but consumption of AdBlue can vary enormously according to vehicle type and model, vehicle load, environmental conditions, driving requirements and driving style.

“For instance, a vehicle may use more fluid on mountain roads or towing or if a driver accelerates a lot, just like with fuel.

“Additionally, with many of today’s diesel vehicles having variable servicing intervals, fleet managers need to encourage drivers to keep a watchful eye on tank levels to ensure their vehicle will start.

“To further complicate matters, AdBlue tank capacities vary from model to model, with motor manufacturers calculating the average miles a tank of AdBlue will last.

“The more economically a car is driven, the less AdBlue will be used. Vehicles using AdBlue are equipped with special dashboard warning lights, but again the message displayed varies across manufacturers, despite everyone agreeing that if the tank is allowed to run dry, the vehicle will not start."

AdBlue can be bought at retail outlets, dealerships or service stations, with some manufacturers providing AdBlue free of charge, if supplied through one of their dealerships.


Jim spalding    on 10 January 2015

Have I gone to sleep and woke up 20 years or so in the future, because I didn't comprehend any of this..

infewerwords    on 11 January 2015

How much does AdBlue cost per mile?

thomas0469    on 12 January 2015

I do not know the prices in the UK. Here in Germany, Adblue at the truck pump does cost about 55 Eurocents per liter. Passenger car consumption ist typically about 1 Liter per 1000 km. The cost of adblue per mile driven is neglible, unless one goes the the dealership to have it filled up. But this is not necessary, it is not more difficult then filling up the windshield washer fluid. Does one go the the dealer to fill the windshield washer reservoir?

Crown Oil    on 12 January 2015

To Infewerwords - The cost of AdBlue firstly depends on the volume purchased and which supplier you use. Then, depending on what vehicle you drive, how you drive it and where you drive it the cost can increase again if your vehicle usage requires a higher level of AdBlue to be used.

We supply AdBlue for commercial purposes and you can find a lot of information on our product page

Richard Young    on 17 December 2016

Does the mileage remaining indicator reset? I've topped mine up for the first time today on my insignia and I'm not sure it has. I drive a lot, I'll be filling up every couple of weeks and I'm paranoid the car will shut down even though the tank is filled. Any help would be appreciated.

Charles Firbank    on 20 December 2016

My new Skoda Superb 2.0ltr diesel has an Adblue tank and after 4000 miles of economical driving (54 mpg) the warning light came on. I therefore filled the tank and expected the light and mileage warning to go out - oh no. The car has been with the dealer and Skoda Technical for 5.5 weeks and still it is off the road. Don't buy a car fitted with this technology.

P Preston    on 20 December 2016

Can a AdBlue system be added to a Euro 5 car system

tonylathes    on 23 January 2017

Only if you want huge trouble and vast expense to save a total output of 0.00000000000000000000000000000001% Co2

rmoo    on 12 February 2017

To tonylathes -Its nothing to do with Co2, its NOx which is the problem. Apparently with all the improvements in Diesel cars the NOx levels have increased and so this process eliminates the problem or at least reduces it by 90% or more, bringing Diesel down to Petrol engine pollution levels and retaining the economy. With this you can throw the pollution argument back in the face of the greenies with their highly polluting carbon neutral wood burners which create over twice as much pollution as cars and are pushing pollution up to unacceptable levels in large towns and cities.

   on 26 March 2017


Does a car diesel that has add blue still have dpf on the exhaust and rengen or is does that take place of dpf please help thanks

Kerry Timbrell    on 2 April 2017

My 2016 Discovery Sport had the warning light come on at just over 4000 miles. Luckily there were no small bottles of the Ad Blue so bought 10L. It took the whole lot.

   on 7 April 2017

Usually these cars will have first an oxidation catalyst to burn off unburnt hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, then a DPF filter, and after that the exhaust is clean enough for the SCR (selective reduction catalyst) where the ad blue is injected. This video shows the Peugeot Citroen layout; other manufacturers should use the same idea, but layout may be different, e.g. all 3 things close together between engine and exhaust.

Pete McMorrow    on 17 April 2017

I have a 2012 2lt ford mondeo any idea how it would cost to add an adblu tank

   on 18 April 2017

I just bought a hyhundua xi20 ! I did not know it was ad blue the salesman did not tell me it was so or give me advise on it ! How do I stand on my consumer advise rights ?

Peter O'Neill    on 11 May 2017

I bought a VW Transporter brand new waited months for it to arrive, light came on and it transpired that the ad blue had become contaminated and I had to spend over £2,000.00 having a new tank. How this happened when its a new vehicle I don't know but it wasn't a part that the warranty covered. The light has come on again and if its the same thing ......

Don't touch a vehicle with this requirement.


Richard Ellis-Jones    on 11 June 2017

Would not buy a car fitted with this system, total load of problems, diesel costs too much so this is an added burden that I refuse to pay,

Just bought a new 2017 Ford Mondeo 2 ltr diesel no ad blue needed , very pleased, superb car, all this ad blue is more crap from the eu.

Vote with your feet buy a car without it

HairyJones    on 17 October 2017

AdBlue is a convenient way for manufacturers like VW Group to make their cars comply with emission standards as their engines are not efficient or clean enough. As you said, just focus on buying cars that do not need AdBlue. They are trouble, especially after a few years or higher mileages.

Peter Nwosu    on 9 August 2017

Must say had a Mercedes C class with this feature for just over past two years and frankly its a pain and incremental costs. Has only come on a a few times but in aggregate I have needed more than 10 litres of the stuff and its not necessarily easy to buy especially given the risks of driving when warning light is on. I am with Richard Ellis Jones and for my new car next year will avoid one with this Ad Blue feature.

   on 10 August 2017

Ford transit 2017 with ad blue. Nothing but problems across the board with this system. Ford have dropped a clamber on this. Avoid at all costs

ken oak    on 15 August 2017

i have a bmw x5 and have done 8860 miles before I put in just under 10ltrs of adblue,the computer reset straight away and says I now have 9000 miles range.
10ltrs of adblue was £11 in tesco
that works out at 0.00124 pence per mile.

   on 11 October 2017

I'm just getting to grips with this whole adblue system. As a volunteer roll for age UK, i drive a 2017 transit luton. I put 5ltrs in it at the end of August and now it's asking for more. It's clocked 3800 miles from new. Can't speak for the other drivers but I try to drive it as steady as possible. I'm sure this system looks attractive on paper to the manufacturer and the EU but not sure for the owners/drivers.

   on 18 October 2017

I have an Insignia in for a software update which drained the adblue so they refilled but the warning light wont go off and my garage don't seem to know how to sort it??

Dave Sweet    on 19 November 2017

My 2015 A6 190 ultra sline is currently at the dealership for the third time in a year following another add blue system fault appearing last week. It's only done 26,000 miles and no short journeys. Audi have been very good (this time) giving me a nice new courtesy car but I'm afraid I have now lost all confidence in modern diesel engines and will be moving to back to petrol or a non add blue diesel imminently (Mazda maybe). In my view, the system is too complex for its own good and is going to be a massive headache for second hand buyers of these vehicles over the next few years.
Thanks to Honest John for warning us about these for the past couple of years. I only wished I'd heeded his advice!

Gary Clapton    on 4 January 2018

My Ford Ranger 3.2 diesel has used over 100 litres of Ad Blue in 11,000 miles, its ridiculous!

   on 10 January 2018

Our 2017 Discovery Sport has just required it's first adblue top up... 10 litres after 4000 this normal consumption?

Denis Bratley    on 31 January 2018

i had a similar situation with my disco sport, I am not convinced it was fully topped up from new. I have had much better mileage after the top up, and as things settle down, am optomistic about it improving further.

D john    on 16 January 2018

Ford Transit in Roller Team Zefiro motorhome filling this 2 litre Euro 6 engine with adblue just as often as I'm filling the tank with diesel reckon only 100 miles to 1 litre adblue this is insane!!

   on 2 February 2018

I had a new A4, one of the first Audi models with Adblue and I don't know what you lot are moaning about. It reduces NOX emissions by c. 90% (over a Euro5 vehicle) and couldn't be simpler to handle.

It costs about £12 to put 20 litres into the 24 litre tank every 20,000miles, buying the Adblue (technically called DEF) from any garage that sells screenwash, logs or smarties. The little blue cap is next to the diesel cap - simple. The washer bottle needs more filling than the Adblue tank.

Nothing has gone wrong in 20 months and 56,000miles from new.

Lots of equipment with large engines has been using this technology for a few years now - Forklifts, Lorries, Plant, Diggers, Dozers, Generators etc. etc. and you don't see them littering the planet broken down.

   on 5 February 2018

Range Rover 17L tank, has a balance of 1000 mile range warning sign after driving 9000 miles in 6 months. So that’s a 10,000 mile range

Seems to work , touch wood :).

IRC    on 13 February 2018

My partner at work had a Mercedes ML. Luckiily on lease. After a service the Adblue warning light stayed on and warning still said engine would not re-start in 400 miles.

Ended up being at the dealers for several days getting fixed. Several hours labour at Merc main dealer rates plus parts. An expensive bill for a 3 yr old car.

For anyone who runs cars older than 3 years it's something else to go wrong.

I'll be sticking to petrol or getting a non adblue diesel.

Bruce Kadwill    on 17 February 2018

We have a Disco Sport 2ltr 180 & a Porsche Macan 3.0Litre Diesel both Euro 6 models with Adblue requirement. I have refilled both vehicles myself with no issues, Both vehicles are just over 2 years old the Macan does up to 10,000 miles on a tank full whereas the Disco Sport does less [it has a smaller capacity tank]. It is ESSENTIAL that you study the manufacturers manual and follow the refill proceedure to the letter in order that the vehicle correctly records the fact you have filled the Adblue tank, otherwise you may get stuck with a No start issue as the vehicle believes its Adblue tank is empty when it is not!.

My only concern is that when we bought our vehicles back in late 2015 Adblue was retailed in 10 litre containers for approximately £11 from most filling station forecourts in East Sussex, at the present time it is currently between £15 & £16 although I have found one online supplier retailing it at £10.44 for 10 litres & another for less for a larger quantity both with free delivery. Adblue is mainly demineralized water mixed with Urea: I doubt whether demineralized water has gone up in price much, has Urea suffered a dramatic cost increase or are we having our leg lifted???


Malcolm Hughes    on 7 March 2018

Both my Mercedes C Class 17 Plate and Audi A4 67 Plate are adblue, Audi just done 15k and light came on and I refilled it. Mercedes did 25k before the light came on, but dealer refilled it foc when in for two new tyres, No problems with either car

   on 25 March 2018

Adblue / fuel light comes on to much for my liking. My transit 2018 350 lwb 170 is only doing 29.8 mpg and using 20 ltrs of adblue per 4000 miles. I drive the van like a vicar. My 2007 and 2010 euro 4 Transits did 36 mpg my 2014 euro 5 did 33 mpg. I am trying a new VW Crafter next week as i am not impressed with the Transit.

   on 19 April 2018

I have got a brand new Mercedes GLE 350d, I have had it month it's been back to the dealer twice, it's been there 14 days so far they have now come to the thought that it is the Adblue sensor.

I would say that if your thinking Mercedes and reliability, I'd give them AMISS
You'd be better off with a pushbike.


Anthony k Briamah    on 18 May 2018

My is serious, can some one help me out, my brother bought me 2017 land rover discovery 2.0,infact it did warn me exuast fluid needed topping but I did not know something like this was there because the vehicle manual book was still with my brother, now I stop the vehicle can not start nor even to tow to garage is serious, the vehicle selector range lever is electronic can't shift to neutral without started, please help.

   on 23 May 2018

My zafira just gone in over emissions 2000 miles on clock. They said it needs ad blue and resetting £.128.00 warning so is this gonna happen every month if I don't add ad blue.

   on 29 May 2018

I have a Skoda superb estate, it requires ad blue when it tells me. I do high mileage 50000 in 15 months. I average 58-60 mpg and last time o filled my ad blue with 12 litres it has lasted nearly 10000 miles. I haven't experienced any issues. It's very obvious when it starts to run low, I get my first alert when I have 1400 mile left in ad blue tank. It is entirely down to knowing your vehicle.

   on 23 June 2018

NOX is produced when the combustion temperature is too high due to either a lean air/fuel mixture and/or is due to "improved" fuel-efficiency [FE] as the result of modern high-pressure fuel-injection systems. FE is dependent on exhaust gas temperature due to FE being “fully-dependent” [the calculation, i.e.] on the exhaust gas temperature.

As such, reducing the NOX requires the reduction of combustion temperature, a conundrum because then, the FE is also reduced. Enter “Ad-Blue”, aka “Yore Best Fruend”. Or as Dem Jarmans would, ‘Ow U Say Eet, “Pizzaro”.

As for those who worship Elfs & Fairies instead of merely believing in Garten Gnomes, it is benevolent to know, if not realising too, that Urea/”Ad-Blau” is, perhaps, cheeper than “pi**”. Yes, matey, Taking the Pi** come to The-Minds. But not when Dem Jarmans, aka Anglo-Saxony-in-progress, has The Wh***, Propaganda, doing their Sellin’ Jest like InkJet Printers’ being cheeper than chips due to InkJet Printers Ink costing more than Gold [as the result of Dem Stinky Yellards flooding “Da Market of The Worshipful of InkJet Printers” with cheep “Inks”/Gelb].

Now, ain’t zat a miracle, “Christians” are worshipful of.

   on 13 August 2018

I have an X6 30d (16)which I have run from new to 23k miles. In that time it has used 15 litres of adblue.
The system has been reliable. Although Adblue has a shelf life and begins to break down after a period of time depending upon storage temperature. So a pre reg car that may already be a year old with Adblue filled at the factory could experience issues triggered by Adblue degradation. This would more than likely come from NOX sensors in the exhaust seeing an increase in the gas as the Adblue becomes less affective. The driver would see error messages such as Adblue Contamination.

One consideration when choosing an Adblue equipped vehicle is that fuel economy is improved by as much as 5%. This is a result of better engine tuning including reduced EGR use because any extra NOX produced is dealt with by the Adblue system.

   on 21 August 2018

I have a 2014 C Class 250D, There is no way of finding out how much adblue is in the tank so I topped up 3 litres from a supermarket to ensure it didn't run out while on holiday in France. I made the mistake of not using Mercedes Benz Adblue and after about 100 miles the EML came on but the car was running fine.
On return to the UK I took it to a Merc Indy to find out both NOX sensors need replacing at a cost of £800.
Apparently Mercs are very sensitive to which type of pig urea and distilled water they use! .....But the road tax is £30..... Don't buy.

L. Kaponas    on 21 September 2018

I think the Audi dealer has switched off my ad blue sensor because I was having so much trouble with it . my Audi Q7 went back to the garage where I purchased it from as an approved used car, as The ad blue sensor came on about two months into ownership. After having the car for a week they said it should be fine , after another 2 months and only doing 500 miles the ad blue sensor alarm went off again. It went back to the dealers where they told me they replaced the whole system ( I can’t check as they are all internal components) after four or five weeks guess what the ad blue sensor went off again , this time I had only done 300 miles , they had the car for a further 2 weeks and assured me that the problem had been fixed , I have been driving 2 years now without the ad blue sensor going off. I completely forgot about it until I noticed that fuel consumption had got really bad I decided to take my car to an independent garage who confirmed that my ad Blue was completely empty . No warning , no alarm ?! I can only assume that the way the Audi garage “Fixed” my problem was to remove the sensor all together ..... what should I do !? Any advice will be gratefully received.

Vic Morris    on 18 December 2018

Regarding the GLE Mercedes and the poor service from Mercedes. I agree service and attitude is poor. I have a 2016 GLE and use a Mercedes INDEPENDANT garage, better service at half the price.
Regards to the addblue, I have covered 24,000 miles, with no addblue problems, just topped up at service intervals.
Vic Morris

Pam Reakes    on 7 January 2019

I am just about to purchase a Peugeot 3008 1.6 blue hdi 2016 diesel suv. The car has done 28000 miles with one previous owner. I have read various reports - good and bad - about various models/makes of car but has anyone any experience of this particular car? I would be very grateful for any information, preferably before Friday as that is when I am due to pick it up.
Pam Reakes

   on 8 February 2019

My son has a Mercedes C220 - Fill up with Ad Blue warning message appeared and he filled with 10litres of the stuff - now the Fill with Ad Blue as well as engine will not start message appear all the time and car just wont start - tried resetting system but no joy - any ideas?

Craig Peat    on 12 February 2019

Most Ad blue systems require the Ad blue tank to be completely filled before the tank volume is reset and vehicle will start. Adblue consumption will be about 3-5%of fuel used with an average adblue tank holding 15 litres 300 -500 litres of fuel.

Iparti    on 2 March 2019

I have a Peugeot 3008 65 plate with the Adblue technology and which was just 3 weeks outside of the warranty. Whilst driving home the Engine management warning light suddenly came on, closely followed by the Urea alarm then the yellow warning, all of which stayed on permanently. The Urea alarm wasn’t mentioned in the Owners Handbook, so I went around to my local Robins and Day Peugeot dealer, and was told that it would more than likely be the Adblue which needed topping up. Topped up with 5 litres ( tank has 10 litre capacity) which I thought strange. Spent £40 to get the alarms removed. After 3 miles all alarms came back on. Took it to Peugeot dealer (Robins and Day) and was told that that the Adblue tank needed replacing at a cost of £1200. Lukely, Peugeot payed for this, and I was left with paying for the labour cost £154 only, which Peugeot declined to pay. It would seem that this Adblue technology isn’t all what it makes out to be, and the ‘poor ‘ customer has to foot the bill!

janice whalley    on 17 March 2019

Thomas Whalley 17th March 2019

I have mercedes C200D 66 reg
I have had this car just over 12mths its been back in mercedes twice for add blue system. 2 weeks ago had same fault saying add blue needs topping up so took it back to mercedes southport and assured me the fault was fixed but love and behold it came back on yesterday .So will have to go through all the inconvenience again of taking time off work to take back and because its weekend will only be able to contact them tomorrow . watch this space not over confident

hannah matthews    on 30 March 2019

i added adblue and warning light is still on will my veichal cut out i have put 10 liters in and have another 10liters??

   on 8 April 2019

We have a Jaguar XE with Adblue tank. Had it 12 months on a 65 plate.. so far we have had 2 or 3 software updates, new fuel injector and repressured(.). Last call out we were told the Adblue had deteriorated and we should get the tank drained and refilled. I’m not convinced this is the answer as I’ve read of owners having it topped up as part of servicing so not sure if this is the answer. Has anyone had trouble like this and replaced the Adblue with a successful outcome?

   on 23 April 2019

Refilled adblue and warning lights are still on, will the car still go into limp mode or refuse to start even though there is adblue in the system?

   on 26 July 2019

I have a Zafira 2.0 cdTi auto tourer which I purchased in Dec 18. from onset it advised to adblue with 1500 miles notice at 500mile I bought adblue but it only took a very small amount. there were constant high emission notices and a,get the vehicle serviced notices. Garage reported codes of high emission and to change glow plugs.
With glow plugs changed there were still high emissions and adblue notices.Finally car stopped at nil miles on adblue and would not start. Vauxhall agents have now said that the adblue pump ! has failed plus a list of other parts.Estimated £2.130.80 to fix. Car never lost power until it stopped.I believe the pump was not working when I bought it ,But my 3 month warranty ran out.

David Sinden    on 21 October 2019

My Jaguar XF went for 57,000 miles with regular AdBlue top-ups every 20,000+ or so until it suddenly came up with the warning message about "Incorrect DEF quality detected". It's always been topped up by my local Jaguar dealer with "official" Jaguar AdBlue (very expensive) for free under my service plan, but now no one can figure out what's wrong. I've had the complete AdBlue system drained, tank cleaned and replaced, new NOX sensor, new injector, refilled with Jaguar AdBlue and still I get the error message. What now? Should I just write the car off? It's only 3 years 8 months old and, of course, out of warranty! Very p***ed off. Won't ever buy a Jaguar again.

   on 17 March 2020

My be Tiguan r line 2017 4 motion adblue system has in a word 'bost'.
Warning light came on along with the adblue symbol. I knew the adblue levels were fine as had no previous warning. Had a look under the bonnet and the pipework had frozen fluid stuck to it which I now know is the adblue injector.
VW garage said it's a whole replacement at the cost of, wait for it, £1700.
Yes that's £1700. I couldn't believe it to which the garage said they haven't seen it before.
Has anyone else had similar as may help on speaking to the vw warranty team for some financial assistance.
Reading blogs the adblue is a mare.
Any replies would be helpful

Jo McC    on 16 September 2020

Hi tiguan ownerv

I'm having similar problems with my Peugeot and need a new tank and injector at a cost of £1800

The garage I took it to have been in touch with peugeot on my behalf and they have offered to pay 25% of the cost as a good will gesture, still a lot of money to pay but at least they offered something. Maybe your garage could do this?

Good luck

Add a comment


Ask Honest John Right column

Value my car