Diesel Exhaust Fluid: What It Is and What It Does

Diesel engine drivers may have noticed something new on vehicles that came to market after 2010. All newer diesel vehicles now have a system requiring diesel exhaust fluid. This fluid is used for breaking down chemicals in the vehicle’s exhaust so they can be released cleanly into the environment. The diesel exhaust fluid quality determines how well it will break down the harmful chemicals. This new system allows diesel engines to create less pollution that in previous years.

What Is Diesel Exhaust Fluid and What Does It Do?

Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is a clean solution that goes through the exhaust system to make exhaust more environmentally friendly. The NOx emissions from diesel engines are a major pollutant, and the DEF breaks down this chemical, allowing it to be released cleanly. The fluid is added to a diesel vehicle just as any other fluid and it does not come in contact with the fuel in any way.

The Selective Catalytic Reduction Process

When diesel gas is burned, it creates large amounts of NOx emissions. The DEF goes into the exhaust system and creates ammonia, which breaks down the pollutants into their base elements. These elements are then released cleanly into the environment from the exhaust.

Cost of Diesel Exhaust Fluid

The diesel exhaust fluid price per gallon has dropped quite a bit from when it first came out in 2010. Many auto parts stores now sell jugs of the fluid for $5 – $10 per gallon, or even less. A general rule of thumb has been that a diesel engine needs one gallon of DEF for every 500 miles driven.

For companies that have a fleet of diesel vehicles, many retailers offer discounts for buying DEF in bulk. Companies can purchase large barrels of the liquid and store it on site, to be used when needed. This is a good option for organizations that need to maintain many large trucks or buses.

The Need for Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Diesel exhaust fluid is essential for any diesel vehicle made after 2010. Every newer vehicle has the reservoir available for DEF and the vehicle will not function properly without it. In addition, the diesel exhaust fluid quality will determine how well it breaks down the chemicals in the exhaust. Higher quality brands will work better than generics. Both will do the job, but vehicle performance may suffer with a lower quality brand of DEF.Most of all, diesel exhaust fluid is a new way for vehicles to burn fuel cleaner than they did in the past. This fluid ensures that fewer carbon emissions are being expelled into the air without having to give up the power of a diesel engine.

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