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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.

Comments

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 bit.ly/adblu

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


Graham

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.

Pete

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 14 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 miles....is 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???

BruceK

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.

   7 days ago

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.

JOHN POWELL

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