Adblue: what is it, who needs it and where can you get it?

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  • For many diesel vehicle drivers, AdBlue is becoming just another liquid their vehicle needs. While your AdBlue tank may not need ‘refuelling’ often, knowing what AdBlue is, why you need it and how to refuel will ensure you stay within Euro 6 guidelines for vehicle emissions.

    What is AdBlue?

    Adblue is a trade name of a type of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), but like the brand ‘Hoover’ who produce vacuum cleaners, the trade name has become synonymous with the product, making it a generic trademark.

    AdBlue is made up of 32.5% urea and 67.5% deionised water. Despite what some people think, this urea is a high-purity, man-made solution, rather than anything natural. Be careful though; while AdBlue is a non-toxic and odourless liquid, it will make a mess if you spill it and can corrode some metals.

    How does it work?

    Many manufacturers have added AdBlue to their diesel vehicle models as a way to meet Euro 6 emissions regulations. These regulations state that all diesel cars and vans registered after September 1, 2015 are only allowed to emit a maximum of 80mg/km of NOx.  However, for HGVs and other larger vehicles, the Euro 6 NOx limits are 0.105g/km for vehicles weighing 1306-1760kg and 0.125g/km for vehicles up to 3,500kg.

    In the infographic below, you can see how AdBlue mixes with your fuel emissions and makes your exhaust fumes harmless, your vehicles greener and your journey more eco-friendly:

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    How often do you need to fill up?

    It’s important not to let your AdBlue run out as your vehicle’s engine performance will dip without it. Plus, if your emissions exceed the limit of NOx, you will be driving illegally. Don’t worry though; the amount of AdBlue you will need to use per tank of fuel is only about 5% of your full diesel tank, so your AdBlue tank won’t need to be filled up as often as your regular fuel tank.

    Your vehicle will show you a warning light a few thousand miles before you need to fill up. When you do fill up your vehicle with AdBlue, you may need to put in quite a few litres before the warning light goes off. You can fill up your AdBlue tank from various fuel sites across the UK. You can either fill up from an AdBlue ‘fuel’ pump, or buy the product in store.

    If you are driving a HGV, your AdBlue tank, just like your fuel tank, will be bigger than other, smaller vehicles. As such, if you use your HGV a lot, it’s not worth buying small bottles from a fuel forecourt. You may still need to stop on your journey to fill up your AdBlue tank, but as you only need a small proportion of AdBlue in comparison to your fuel consumption this will only happen after many, many fuel stops.

    You shouldn’t buy and store AdBlue before you need it as it can degrade. Similarly, if you buy a pack, once you have opened it, you shouldn’t keep it if you have an excess as it’ll react with the air and be less effective – potentially even harmful – to your vehicle.

    The Fuelcard Company and AdBlue

    You can pay for AdBlue using your fuel card. Simply fill up at the pump and pay using your The Fuelcard Company card as normal. Some cards, like the Shell CRT card, offer discounted, or even free, AdBlue in certain forecourts, so it’s worth checking.

    To check whether your card can purchase AdBlue, contact us on 0845 456 1400.